September 2, 2015


Growing from humble beginnings at the Tropicana Café in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, where twenty-three years ago, an eager crowd of 200 showed up to watch a short film screening organised by Tropfest founder, John Polson, Tropfest is now the world’s largest short film festival. Attracting a live audience of around 150,000 in Australia, the Festival has grown internationally, hosting standalone competitions in New Zealand, South East Asia, New York and the Middle East in recent years.

This year’s Festival is expected to be Tropfest’s biggest yet and filmmakers from across the globe are being encouraged to enter. Scores of filmmakers compete annually for the chance to be one of the 16 finalists whose short films will premiere live to a national audience, as well as broadcast on SBS 2 to an even bigger home audience.

Tropfest Australia is now calling for entries for the 2015 competition. Film buffs will have an opportunity to unlock the door to stardom by having their stories screened to a massive live audience across Australia on Sunday, 6 December 2015.

Along with enormous attention from the local and international film community, the winner of Tropfest will also receive a $10,000 cash prize, plus trip to Los Angeles for a week of meetings with film industry executives, as well as a Nikon D810 and $2,000 worth of lenses and accessories.

Filmmakers are encouraged to submit films shot on their DSLR for their chance to take home the Nikon DSLR Film Category prize. Finalists who make an entry on DSLR are automatically entered into both the DSRL category and main competition, giving them the chance to take home two prizes.

All you have to do is grab a camera and start shooting. Tropfest is open to anyone eager to tell their story through film, whether you’re a beginner or a professional.

Films must be no longer than seven minutes and in Tropfest tradition, must contain the Tropfest Signature Item – “CARD”.

John Polson, Tropfest Founder and Director said Tropfest is a phenomenal launching pad for filmmakers. “It’s been twenty-three years since Tropfest began. Today the event is a ground-breaking opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their skills in front of the largest live audience a short film, or any film for that matter, can get.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres, said the NSW Government is proud to be supporting Tropfest Australia 2015 through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. “Tropfest represents an important event for the Australian film industry and we are thrilled this exciting festival will be returning to Sydney’s beautiful Centennial Park to host one of Australia’s most iconic cultural events. With 2015 entries now open, I encourage filmmakers across the nation to enter for the opportunity to have their film showcased at the world’s largest short film festival,” he said.

Entries close on Thursday, 8 October 2015.

Sandra Tiltman




December 2, 2014


Outdoor movies under the stars have become an annual event during our long hot summers. This year will be no different, with Moonlight Cinema again taking up residence in Sydney from 11 December to 29 March, on the grass in Centennial Park at the Belvedere Amphitheatre.

Melbourne screenings run from 4 December to 29 March at the Central Lawn in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

IMG_0128To launch the preview of the summer programme, a pop-up picnic was held in the middle of Sydney’s Martin Place. Green grass, complete with deck chairs and umbrellas was an unusual sight in the heart of the city’s financial district and seemed to grab the attention of intrigued passers by. A shining silver food truck served up a selection of items from the new LA Style street food menu that will be available for movie goers.

What could be better than watching all the hottest new release films outside in the fresh night air, as well as seeing them before they hit cinemas. Moonlight’s December and January programme has over 20 different advance screenings.

Fans of Bill Murray will be able to catch him in “St Vincent” more than a week before the cinemas. Other titles showing at Moonlight before the rest of Australia include Disney’s latest “Big Hero 6” about a boy and his plus-size, inflatable robot, “Birdman”, the superhero film with an art-house edge starring Michael Keaton and Emma Stone plus the latest Liam Neeson action movie “Taken 3” as well as “Unbroken”, the WWII drama filmed in Sydney and directed by Angelina Jolie.

IMG_0130Aussie cinema will be celebrated on Australia Day Eve, with the screening of “The Water Diviner”, telling the moving story of an Australian man, played by Russell Crowe, who travels to Turkey after the battle at Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons. “The Water Diviner” will also be shown as an advance screening on 19 December.

Some cult favourites playing this season include “Dirty Dancing”, “Top Gun”, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

Special sing-a-long nights have been programmed for those who want to belt out all the classic tunes, along with the stars up on the screen, including the 50s high school classic “Grease”.

The popular Doggie Nights, for canine loving cinephiles who can’t bear to be parted from their furry friends, have increased and will take place every Thursday night in January and every second Thursday during February and March.

As always, Moonlight Cinema’s Gold Grass offers the ultimate outdoor cinema experience, with waiter service and reserved bean beds in a premium viewing location.

Movie fans can bring their own picnic or try some of the street fare on sale from the new LA style food truck onsite.

There’s something for every film fanatic at this season’s Moonlight Cinema. Gates open an hour and a half before the film starts.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond


September 5, 2014


The second Australian Garden Show Sydney, the leading floral, gardening and lifestyle show in South East Asia, is now on display in Centennial Park until Sunday, 7 September.

On Thursday evening, Her Excellency Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW, Patron of the Australian Garden Show Sydney, presented the prestigious award of ‘Best in Show’ to Sydney garden designer, Myles Baldwin, for his stunning garden Open Woodland, at the show’s Harvest restaurant where awards were presented to designers from the UK and around Australia.

Dame Marie Bashir presents Myles Baldwin "Best in Showe" Award

Dame Marie Bashir presents Myles Baldwin “Best in Show” Award

Better Homes and Gardens and Radio 2GB’s Garden Clinic presenter, Graham Ross VMM chaired the panel of judges comprising of House Rules’ Joe Snell; Director of Horticulture at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Jimmy Turner; Hampton Court 2014 Best in Show winner, Jim Fogarty; RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 Best in Show winner, Wes Fleming, and gardening experts Linda Ross, Stuart Pittendrigh, Tim Creer, Catherine Stewart and Jeanette Penklis.

“Once again the judges have found it very difficult to pick the winners in all the categories of the Australian Garden Show Sydney. Thirty exciting landscapes of great design and inspirational plant selections are spread across the grounds of Brazilian Fields in Centennial Park” said Graham Ross.

The public will have a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award over the course of the event by picking up an entry form at any garden. The award will be announced on Sunday afternoon.

IMG_5875Event Director, Anthony Bastic said “The designers have been working tirelessly at Centennial Park over the past few weeks to construct 30 spectacular creations that are on show to the public for only four days. It’s important to me that the Australian Garden Show Sydney offers value for money and I hope families will get out and make the most of the springtime weather to receive some great gardening tips and ideas and view the spectacular gardens on display.”

I enjoyed the show so much, that I went back again the next day with a friend. We both enjoyed listening to the many informative talks held throughout the day. I even purchased some new garden shears.

For event information:

Photo: Her Excellency Professor The Honorable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW, Patron of the Australian Garden Show Sydney presenting award to Myles Baldwin.


Sandra Tiltman    

Photos: John Pond



March 17, 2014


One of the highlights at this year’s Taste of Sydney was the Celebrity Cruises Lawn Club, which replicated Celebrity’s unique Lawn Club, the only real lawn at sea, found on board Celebrity’s fleet of five Solstice Class cruise ships.

In Centennial Park, visitors to the Lawn Club had the opportunity to relax in style and imagine life on board as they soaked up some of the atmosphere they will experience when cruising Celebrity

IMG_4796During the afternoon, I called into the Lawn Club to try one of Chef John Suley’s two exclusive martinis, which were inspired by Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Century. I tried the Celebrity Century, made with pear vodka, sage, lime, rose syrup & brut champagne with whipped egg white on top. I could not resist this pink martini as it matched my outfit.

Celebrity Cruises’ Associate Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations, Chef John Suley, flew in from Florida especially for Taste of Sydney, where he hosted exclusive Food & Beverage Matching Masterclasses inspired by Celebrity Cruises.  The masterclasses gave visitors the chance to enjoy an indulgent tasting plate paired with matching beverages.

Chef Suley joined Celebrity Cruises in 2011 and is widely regarded as one of the USA’s top up and coming chefs. Known for his edgy, innovative and IMG_4802unique cooking style, he provides passion, vision and inspiration to the more than 3,000 food and beverage professionals that he leads.

Chef Suley said “Celebrity Cruises’ partnership with Taste of Sydney highlights our continuing dedication to achieving the highest levels of consistency, quality and innovation in our onboard culinary experience.

The Celebrity Cruises culinary team proves that dining at sea can be as enjoyable, tasteful and memorable as the best dining experiences on land.”   Sandra Tiltman        Photos: John Pond



March 15, 2014


Centennial Park becomes a foodies paradise from 13 to 16 March 2014 when Taste of Sydney returns to the Park’s stunning surrounds for four sumptuous days of alfresco dining.

IMG_4694This year promises to be the biggest yet, with a restaurant line-up that includes some of Sydney’s best, including Popolo, Bodega, Biota Dining, 4Fourteen, Chur Burger, Efendy, Jonah’s, Muse Dining, Hartsyard, Porteño and many more.

Watch chefs live at the Taste Kitchen, experience a hands-on class in the Lurpak Cookery School or explore the best wine bars Sydney has on offer in the Gourmet Traveller Wine Pop-up Bar.

Over 100 artisan producers will provide a bounty of the best food and beverages, ensuring that you can sip, sample and shop while enjoying live entertainment and soaking up the festival atmosphere.

This unique collaboration of Sydney’s finest eateries, chefs and producers makes Taste of Sydney a must attend event.

Sandra Tiltman        Photo: John Pond


August 17, 2013
Sandra Tiltman in front of Theatre Of The Horse

Sandra Tiltman in front of Theatre Of The Horse

Royal Randwick’s superb new six level grandstand is set to become not only one of Sydney’s prime racing venues but also a popular entertainment location, catering for major race days as well as hosting large corporate and social events.

Australian Turf Club Chairman John Cornish and CEO Darren Pearce recently unveiled Levels 2 and 3 of the new grandstand.

John Cornish said the construction of the grandstand had been completed on time and the club had made sure its final fit out was of the highest standards.

Darren Pearce added “There has not been a major sporting facility of this scale built since the 2000 Olympics and this is what Sydney racing fans and the wider community have been looking forward to for many years.  This grandstand and the upcoming Spring Carnival are the start of a great period for Sydney racing and the Australian Turf Club”.

The grandstand’s full glass frontage on each level will provide unparalleled views of the racecourse and surrounding parklands.

Randwick wide_Fotor_20130817

From the new grandstand, the view of the horses racing past the winning post will be enhanced by the largest LED screen in the Southern Hemisphere (11m high by 40m long) located trackside, plus the two 18m long super screens located on the ground level betting auditorium.  There is free WiFi throughout the building and surrounding areas.

The two levels of corporate boxes are already sold out, three years in advance, while the prestigious Chairman’s Club Lounge on Level 1 is nearly fully sold for the next 12 months.

A state of the art 1000 seat capacity ballroom, with sweeping views across the racecourse and the city skyline from the facility’s large open terraces, is located on Level 2 and should prove to be very popular with event organisers.

The impressive Theatre of the Horse with a 4,500 capacity amphitheatre around the central parade ring sits amidst the manicured gardens alongside the new grandstand.

Sandra Tiltman         Photos:  John Pond


August 15, 2013


The inaugural Australian Garden Show Sydney, spanning over seven acres, will be in Centennial Park from Thursday 5 September to Sunday 8 September.  With its world class garden displays, vibrant floral pavilion, bars, fine cuisine and stunning visual installations which will come alive at night, this is definitely not to be missed.

The event is an experience unlike any other garden show.   “There is absolutely nothing like this available in Australia.  It’s not just all about gardens, anyone with an interest in design, architecture, sustainability, organic food and cooking will take something valuable away from this event” said Event Director, Anthony Bastic.

A sweeping tree lined avenue will connect 16 stunning display gardens, including the centrepiece garden September Sky created by recent Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner Tom Harfleet and partner Andrew Fisher Tomlin.

Gardens will also be created by event curator Myles Baldwin, Brendan Moar from The LifeStyle Channel’s Dry Spell Gardening and Charlie Albone from The LifeStyle Channel’s Selling Houses Australia.

To commemorate Gallipoli’s centenary in 2015, award winning landscape designer Jim Fogarty will design The Last to Leave, a Gallipoli inspired garden.

Wander through lavish tomato archways and learn how to utilise even the smallest spaces with a pop-up edible garden.

fp2q39rJ4nwVxAWdky9OgPQ-KlTQA1MCxBfXEICjhncVisitors will discover a new gardening experience at Indira Naidoo’s 1000 square metre Kitchen Garden by building their own strawberry wall or watering plants with pedal powered sprinklers.

By night, the gardens will take on a whole new form as light installations illuminate the displays and majestic lighting floods the grounds with beautiful effects.

Celebrity chef Kylie Kwong and entomologist Skye Blackburn will create a selection of recipes featuring locally bred edible insects, including crickets and dehydrated earthworms, in their talk as part of the Seeds of Wisdom Lecture Series.  If insects aren’t your idea of fine dining, catch talks from international vertical garden guru Patrick Blanc, Aussie garden legends Angus Stewart and Graham Ross plus Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans.

Offering much more than just flowers, attendees can enjoy a drink at one of the many cafes and bars, grab a bite to eat at the Harvest Restaurant, browse through the Florilegium bookshop and get books signed by their favourite horticultural personalities.

There will be over 100 exhibitors ranging from nursery and garden associations to a large variety of gardening produce and information stalls.  There will also be a fun interactive kids section operated by Twigz to keep the little ones entertained.

Gardeners can access expert advice at the Ross Garden Clinic operating on site from 10.30am – 4pm daily.

The Australian Garden Show Sydney is exclusive to New South Wales and will attract garden enthusiasts and horticulturists from around the world.

For more show information including public transport visit:

Sandra Tiltman