The Coolroom

Duration: 2021


The Northern Arts Hotel is a wonderful place to gather for workshops, events, and film screenings and is developing a growing reputation for its Coolroom program of regular music, spoken word, and film events.  Read on for more information and/or send us your email to join our mailing list here.

The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel is a place for jazz and other event-based performances in a quiet room atmosphere. It’s also a place for friends and strangers to come together to share a secret film screening.
There’s the LOW BAR, where drinks are at 1990s prices.
There are also random other events which take our fancy.
We hope you’ll join us in the relaxed, convivial atmosphere.

Find our events on the Coolroom Facebook here


Castlemaine Free University launching The Politics of Permaculture and Young People and the Far Right

Saturday 22  January from 2-4pm. FREE EVENT

Castlemaine Free University presents

2–3pm Cam Walker (Friends of the Earth’s Campaigns Coordinator) will launch Terry Leahy’s The Politics of Permaculture (illustrated by Brenna Quinlan) — one of the first books to unpack the political theory and practice of a social and ecological movement that challenges the status quo. ‘Permaculture revealed in all its splendour’ — Noel Blencowe, CERES, Melbourne.

3–4pm Shane Homan, Monash University and co-editor of Popular Music History, will launch Pam Nilan’s
Young People and the Far-Right — a crisp and rich narrative of how ordinary young people are attracted to right-wing extremism, on youth-persuasive tactics online and in social media, incl. gaming. ‘Brilliant book’ — Geoffrey Pleyers, Professor of Sociology, Catholic Uni. of Louvain, Belgium

Lively talks by the launchers, the authors and your opportunity to ask questions, the authors will be signing copies you can purchase at significant discounts.

Terry Leahy joined the permaculture movement at its founding in 1978. He lectured in universities from 1973 and is retired but still researching and writing. His numerous works include Food Security for Rural Africa: Feeding the Farmers First (2018) and The Chikukwa Project doco made with award-winning filmmaker Gillian Leahy. See:

Pam Nilan is affiliated with Deakin University and the University of Newcastle. A youth sociologist, she has published on youth topics in Australia, Indonesia and Fiji. A recent broad-appeal book is Muslim Youth in the Diaspora (2019).

FREE EVENT — books at discount prices and purchase drinks at bar

Watch a Flick with John Flaus

Each Sunday at 2.30pm  next film this Sunday, 23 January
Bookings and Details on Eventbrite:  here

Join the over 150 people who have joined John on the journey of ten ‘intrinsically worthy, idiosyncratically engaging’ films over ten weeks. Five films in five weeks from 16 January 2022.
All shown free. Bookings and Details:  here
Films selected by Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Humphrey Jennings, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, Satyajit Ray, Stanley Donen, Yasujirō Ozu, Jacques Demy. Films to be shown each week will be chosen on the day.

Photo of John by Darron Davies [find out more about Darron’s work here]

The Anticlinal Fold at the Coolroom

Friday 28 January at 7pm

Bookings on Eventbrite here


During the Lock Downs of 2020, next door neighbours Ross Donlon and Jem Challender embarked on a songwriting collaboration. Their conversations, held at a social distance either side of their shared boundary, have resulted in an LP’s worth of Modern Jazz. Early works written by Ross as a teen were published in The Bulletin. He has since published five books of his poetry. A beatnik inspired poem entitled On the Road recounts Ross’ downbeat impressions of the El Rocco, a famous jazz club in Kings Cross, where

We smoked more than we breathed.

This tune set the tone for more than an album worth of songs by Ross and Jem that would follow over the next few months.

The chorus from that high tempo tune goes like this:

Nostalgia for the old times, I checked the goods trains
piling through Ashfield, heading west in the dark

but gave up wondering how Kerouac got on and off them
and what might have happened if I’d ended up in Parkes.

Songwriter and vocalist, Kate Vigo fronts the band, joined by Bendigo based double bassist, Ben Gibbons (former side man for folk band the Waifs). Special guest, and director of the Thompson’s Foundry Band, Dan Bendrups will feature on Trombone. Dom Hede, drummer (Jazz Party) will complete the rhythm section. Jem Challender (winner of the Australian Songwriting Contest) will take charge of the Northern’s lovely grand piano.

Ross has won two international poetry awards and has read his poetry at festivals both in Australia and in Europe.

Ross and the band will perform two sets of jazz and poetry, from 7pm–10pm at the Northern Arts Hotel. Friday the 28th of January. $15 entry. (Half price concession).
Kate Vigo – Vocals
Ross Donlon – Poetry
Jem Challender – Piano
Ben Gibbons – Double Bass
Dom Hede – Drums
Dan Bendrups – Trombone

CFU present Mount Alexander: Connecting Country Friends of the Box–Ironbark Forests and Landcare

Monday 7 February at 7pm

Castlemaine Free University present Friends of the Box–Ironbark Forests (Mt Alexander Region) is a community organisation advocating sound ecological and Indigenous management practices to conserve vegetation and associated wildlife on private and public land. See their prolific publications —
Likewise Connecting Country is a community organisation educating, monitoring and actively restoring landscapes and habitat for local plants and animals across Mt Alexander, including through Landcare. Over 200 landholders and community groups have been restoring more than 10,000 hectares in the past 15 years —
Newstead resident and ecologist ASHA BANNON is a FoBIF committee member, was a Landcare Facilitator and is a volunteer with Connecting Country. Guildford resident HADLEY COLE recently joined Connecting Country as Landcare Facilitator for the Mt Alexander region having worked in various environmental management and conservation roles with government and non-government organisations. Inaugural member of Golden Point Landcare, MARIE JONES has spent years on the Natural Resource Management Committee of the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and on both Connecting Country’s Management Committee and the FoBIF Committee since their inception.
Free Event Purchase drinks from the bar.

TARAB Classical Arabic Music with a Twist live at the Coolroom


Book tickets on Eventbrite: here

The band brings together multi-faith Arabic and non-Arabic musicians live, on stage, in Castlemaine for the very first time.

Tarab is an Arabic word that roughly means the amusement and joy you get from good often classical Arab, music. Dr AJ Racy in his book about music in the Arab world says, ‘In Arab culture, the merger between music and emotional transformation is epitomized by the concept of tarab, which may not have an exact equivalent in Western languages.’

In 2019, Yousef Alreemawi (a multi-talented person with a disability) founded the band and named it after this beautiful concept. Tarab are passionate and talented musicians, and indeed the band owes its success to being Melbourne’s first and only band that is totally dedicated to instrumental classical Arab music.

While the band started at the hands of multi-faiths Arabic speaking musicians (of Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian origins), we are proud that two non-Arab musicians have joined us: Sarah McDonald, a Castlemaine-based Australian (Flute), and Vahideh Eissaei, Iranian (Qanun). This is a testimony of the beauty of tarab and its ability to gather around it people from different faiths and cultures.

We hope that we will bring not just the joy of new, good music, but also knowledge about the Arab world; the home of tarab, especially in times where polarization and misconception over Islam and Arab issues abound.


Every Sunday night from 7.30pm

Calling all film buffs.
Secret (surprise) films will screen every Sunday night from 7.30pm,
Presented by a revolving plethora of local identities, you never know what gem will be screened.
Free admission. All welcome. No booking necessary.
No BYO – bar available at low prices.


Sarah McDonald returns with her fully sick band with an irreverent jazz romp, reflecting on these crazy, pandemic times

Saturday 14 January 2022, 7pm

Sarah McDonald returns to the Coolroom at her favourite local spot, The Northern Arts Hotel to wax lyrical in an irreverent romp about the crazy times we’ve been living through with the Covid 19 pandemic with a fully sick band featuring:
Adam Rudegeair on piano
[Lake Minnetonka, The Bowie Project, Black Wax]
Tom Flenady on double bass
[The Furbelows, Skiffle Party, Viper’s Dream Swing Team]
And James Macauley on trombone
[Wangaratta National Jazz Award recipient, The Lagerphones, Aaron Choulai Quintet, Andrea Keller’s Transients]
Come on down. Should be a hoot!
“..deceptively laid back and self-assured, with an undercurrent of emotions waiting to sweep you by. When she sings “Rusted brandy in a diamond glass”, it’s the rust she focuses on, not the diamond. Tom Waits would approve…”
Nikos Fotakis, australianjazz.Net
Sarah McDonald evokes a cool smoky jazz club atmosphere with expressive mellifluous phrasing contrasting with rhythmic dexterity. She is a singer who has been as influenced by horn players and drummers as she has by great vocalists. Having delved deeply into music, she draws from the greats of the history of jazz, blues and soul and selects choice standards, along with original, contemporary and more esoteric repertoire that she infuses with a soulful authenticity.

DJANGO LINGO with uplifting music for interesting times

Friday 17 December at 7.30m

Nic Lyon on Bass, Terry Murray on Guitar, Howard Malkin on Guitar will transport you with Gypsy Jazz played to another level altogether.

GOOD VIBRATIONS with Cate and Frendz

Saturday 11 December 7pm

Cate Mercer returns to the Coolroom with Howard Malkin on lead guitar and Nic Lyon on bass.

Cate will be playing for us again in her 1st gig back since covid, and will be joined by well-known and respected musicians Howard Malkin on lead guitar and Nic Lyon on bass. The repertoire Cate has created will take you on a musical journey through the 70s and 80s as she shares her love for songs that have stood the test of time.

Blue Tango present the History of Pop in Twenty Songs

Friday 10 December at 7:30pm

Lynne and Dave aka Blue Tango return to the Coolroom with a new show. The history of popular music in twenty wonderful songs.

Greensleeves was top of the pops for 400 years. Starting from there we trace the ‘fascinating rhythm’ of popular music illustrating major milestones with our unique arrangements of time-honoured songs. Folk, blues, ragtime, country, jazz, latin, rock…this concert has variety!

Creatively Embodying the Balance

Monday 6 December | 7pm | Presented by Castlemaine Free University

WHAT? — Entitlement and trauma are sabotaging the planet. This talk looks at the import of the body and arts in healing trauma. Many new psycho-sensory trauma therapies have developed through dance and theatre arts. So, what is the role of creativity in healing? And what impact could this have on our future? Karen Corbett sings and performs excerpts from her plays to enhance our understanding of the role of embodiment and creativity in healing.
WHO? — Karen Corbett is a highly awarded writer, performer and theatre director, winning the German Medal of Ulm for one-woman show Orphanage of the Animals — in this image performing a dog, ‘World’s fucked, you’re an idiot if you reckon it’s not’ and the Murray Sutherland Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Theatre for one-woman show To The Outside World, co-authoring the play on Sylvia Plath’s life, The Girl Who Wanted to Be God, nominated for two Premiere’s Awards. On a brief break as a trauma therapist, she is performing in unHOWsed, a theatre project she co-devised on older women’s homelessness.
Castlemaine Free University
Castlemaine Free University (CFU) is a forum for discussing contemporary issues of special interest for those living in Mount Alexander Shire and Central Victoria more generally.  CFU are supported by Northern Arts Hotel, our regular venue located at 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine.

THE CANDIDATE a story of electoral politics

Presented by CDoc and the Coolroom

Saturday 27 November | 2pm

An up-close and personal story of electoral politics …where truth is stranger than fiction.

THE CANDIDATE is a feature-length observational documentary that follows Greens candidate Alex Bhathal over the final three weeks of her campaign to win a seat in the Australian federal parliament in 2018. In this, her sixth attempt in fifteen years, and with a 1% margin between her and victory, she and her team have good reason to believe that history is finally on their side. But this is no ordinary campaign…

Following the screening of the film be prepared for a no-holds-barred dialogue as we welcome the director, Helen Gaynor & editor Ian White for a discussion about the director and editor relationship on an observational feature documentary.

Watch a Flick with John Flaus | Sunday 21 November

Now nearly 100 years since its first release an important film but for its content, but also its influence on so many films since. Also fascinating that an extra 60 minutes has been added back into the film in 2010 so it is quite different from the version you may have seen in the past.

Awake from your Slumber
Maggie Jackson NY Jazz Quartet

Saturday 20 November | 7.30pm

Maggie Jackson returns to the Coolroom with Awake from your Slumber.
A wonderful night of Gershwin, Brubeck, Celtic, and more…
RENE RAULIN | Duble Bass, Guitar
PETER GILBERT | Percussion
LEE BENNEWITH | Muted Trumpet
MAGGIE JACKSON | Piano, Vibes, Vocals

Windows of Longing: The Heffernan Project

Friday 19 November | 7.30pm

Central Victoria Wildlife Hospital Benefit Concert
Saturday 13 November | 7.30pm

Saturday 3 July | 2pm

A new book by local resident and national treasure, John Flaus, is the latest offering by indie publisher Birdfish Books. Its title, Verba Sequentur, is a Latin phrase meaning “Know your stuff and the words will follow”. And Flaus surely does, now in his ninth decade of life with a rich and varied career in film and on stage under his belt. This is his second book of verse, revealing an impressive mastery of form and a real depth of observation of his wide world of experience.

‘Verba Sequentur’ was launched by Dr. Tom McWilliam at the Northern Arts in Castlemaine on Saturday 3rd July.

Friday 9 April | 7pm

60 seats only
SONGS of Transformation
The endless blue sky of Southern Italy is marked by the swift and darting flight of the swallows returning from Africa.
Thus does the songbird Kavisha return to her roots and in her journey has rediscovered old gems from the 1400 to the 1900’s.
She is also a poetic songwriter .Her contemporary songs together with these ancient songs of love, humour, laments, protest songs and death paint a strong portrait of the gutsy people who worked the land and show the rich tradition of authentic Italian Folk. Kavisha is artfully joined by veteran world musicians Nicolas Lyon on violin and double bass and Jack Norton on Bazouki and guitarra battente ,
The Aria award winning songbird Kavisha Mazzella will take you on an unforgettable transformational musical journey celebrating Life love and beauty.

Sunday 11 April | 2pm

Tickets $20.00 / $15.00 concession

A delightful afternoon of meaningful music and song from Rose and Carl.

Rose Turtle Ertler is a musician, composer and community arts facilitator. She plays a range of instruments including ukulele, banjo, piano, electric guitar and is inspired by everything from string quartets to nude distorted noise artists. She has performed extensively over the last 30 years, often touring solo, other times in numerous collaborations.Rose is a member of the Black Orchid Stringband a group of people from the Australian West Papuan community who use music to share stories of their culture and struggle for independence.

After 31 years of gallivanting on the mainland, Rose relocated back to Tasmania a couple of years ago. Her most recent project is an all women/girls onslaught of 22 electric guitar/bass players called ‘Mapatazi’ who play only their own original material. The band’s world premiere gigs were in March 2021 as part of Ten Days on the Island. Rose is currently planning a series of solo piano/vocal gigs in Tassie and on the mainland.

Carl Pannuzzo, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, autodidact, songwriter and educator, 30+ years in demand nationally and internationally, performing/recording with many artists and projects as varied as Bob Sedergreen, Opera Australia, Shane Howard, Mia Dyson, Stephen Magnusson, Punctum Live Arts, Sydney Children’s Festival, Kavisha Mazzella, Cirque du Soleil, Tripod and Music Outback.

As a creator, interpreter and improviser, Carl is recognized as a sensitive, dynamic and fearless singer, a quickfire musical mind and affable and engaging stage presence. Carl enjoys being a messenger for the articulate truth of music and delivers it with a balance of respect and abandon.

Carl writes songs on the sharps of arrows. And when he sings them, they are delivered directly into the heart of people… (Naomi Edwards)

Art exhibition  JENNIFER BARNETT –
Happy Snaps: Moments captured in a painting
20-21, 26-28 March, and 2-4 April 2021

Before selfies we had happy snaps. Moments frozen in time.
Happy Snaps is a group of oil portraits inspired by vintage 20th century photographs. All complete strangers, and all completely happy.

Live music with DJANGO FRETTS
Saturday 13 March | 3.00pm

The Django Fretts are Castlemaine’s very own gypsy jazz quartet. Formed in 2015, the Fretts have an extensive repertoire of tunes taken from theDjango Reinhardt songbook as well as a few American jazz favourites.They have played extensively around the goldfields region, honing their up-tempo sound at markets, gigs,and festivals. A set from the Django Fretts will evoke the mood of 30s Paris with authentic gypsy jazz melodies and acoustic improvisations.

International Women’s Day Concert
7pm | Monday March 10

Mining Cole
Saturday 6 March | 2.45pm

Saturday 27 February 2021 | 8.00pm

Maggie’s desire in this performance is to showcase beautiful melodies from different rooms of music, Jazz, Classical, Celtic and weave them into a story that gathers the threads of improvisation, creating an intimate moment with the audience, a bliss of connection. It is what Maggie most loves about performance, that oneness, that sacred moment together. All tickets $15.