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ConFest is an alternative bush campout festival held in the south-eastern states of Australia, normally twice a year at New Year and Easter. The name 'ConFest' is a concatenation of the words Conference and Festival. The first ConFest was held in 1976 on a property at Cotter River near Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. It was initiated and organised by the then Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Dr. Jim Cairns, his private secretary Junie Morosi and David Ditchburn. It was intended to bring together the various subcultures of the alternative movement, and was billed as "An Exploration of Alternatives".
The event has been run almost continuously, normally at least annually, later twice yearly, by the same cooperative society, The Down To Earth Co-op (DTE), based in Victoria.
In the early days, the organising committee rented space from various property owners, normally on or near the Murray River. However, due to dramatically increased insurance costs, it became increasingly difficult to locate suitable locations, until in the early years of the 21st century a property became available for purchase.
After an extraordinary general meeting of DTE the decision was made to purchase the property, located near Gulpa Creek, 15 km south of Deniliquin, New South Wales.
Confest is held at a location approximately 12 km south of the New South Wales town of Moulamein and 100km north of Deniliquin. This region has cool, often wet, winters, and extremely hot and dry summers. Temperatures on the property have been known to regularly exceed 45°C in the shade. This combination produces an extreme fire risk, and as a result the Summer Confest has not been held for several years while fire mitigation work is carried out on the property. The Easter Confest has continued, and in 2016 an additional Confest was organised for Spring. Whether or not this Spring Confest will continue, either in addition to or in place of the Summer Christmas/New Year Confest is, at the time of writing, not decided.
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