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February 28, 2024

Knitting Nannas hit the big smoke

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Members of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) add to a knitted scarf in Sydney on Monday. Founder of KNAG, Clare Twomey, has made a commitment to keep knitting the scarf, currently over 35 metres long, until coal seam gas companies leave the northern rivers. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Members of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) add to a knitted scarf in Sydney on Monday. Founder of KNAG, Clare Twomey, has made a commitment to keep knitting the scarf, currently more than 35 metres long, until coal seam gas companies leave the northern rivers. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

Chris Dobney

Members of the northern rivers-based Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) let Sydneysiders know this week of the widespread campaign against coal seam gas (CSG) mining in the region.

The group travelled to the state capital this week as guests of Flickerfest short film festival, where the premiere of a short movie made about them screened at Bondi Pavilion on Sunday.

The documentary was well received, according to its maker Rani Brown, so much so that she is considering a longer-form film about the Nannas.

‘The premiere was great. We had six Nannas in attendance, and they were yellow and visible and charmed people. We had a big crowd and a lot of positive feedback,’ she told Echonetdaily from her home in the Blue Mountains.

‘For me personally, just being in the room with films from all around the world that are looking at a lot of important environmental issues was a privilege and I’m very grateful to have been a part of it.’

Rani said it had been a big journey getting the film to this stage.

‘It’s been a self-funded project. And in a physical sense I’m based in the Blue Mountains, so it required a lot of travelling.

‘I started off interviewing Aidan Ricketts, who I’d known in the past, and through him I met the Knitting Nannas and it just became clear to me that their story was one that could tell itself. Their characters, their personalities and what they were doing is a strong and powerful story.’

Rani said the audience reacted well to the presence of the Nannas at the screening.

‘Some of them already knew some Nannas, some were a bit titillated by them, some were just genuinely curious and interested about who they were and what they were doing.

‘The Nannas were engaging with people a lot, talking a lot and networking madly – at the after-party in particular. They gave out DVDs to celebrities including Bryan Brown.’

The success has enthused her to work with the Nannas again.

‘Yesterday we filmed a wrap around the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, which shows the Nannas as a posse. And it shows Anne Thompson, who is the eldest – I think 73 or 74 now – saying “don’t mess with my posse”.

‘A longer piece is definitely in the works. We’ve had interest from a couple of sources and the Nannas are keen.’

Knitting Nannas will screen at The Byron Bay All Shorts Film Festival, at the A&I Hall in Bangalow, this Saturday January 25.


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  1. I was fortunate to be in Sydney last weekend to attend the nanna’s ‘World Premiere’ It’s a great short film/doco and shows what a positive impact the Nanna’s are having on the campaign. They are also providing inspiration to other campaigns around the world. Check it out their facebook page for more info on what they’re up to.

    Jeff Johnson


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