David Withers recounts the ACMI Public Programs posse’s recent trip to Beechworth, Rutherglen and Yackandandah. The on location crew: Kim Montgomery, David Withers, Dean Lawry, David Meagher, Roberto Salvatore and Evan Munro-Smith.
The month of August saw the ACMI In the Regions team venture into the rolling valleys and wine country of the Indigo Shire, located about 3 hours north-east of Melbourne. Our crew set out to capture 9 stories about passionate locals, community spirit and what life is like in the country towns of Beechworth, Rutherglen and Yackandandah.
Indigo Shire provided us with a wealth of unique stories, from Rutherglen’s connection to the Arts, to Beechworth’s secret underground tunnel systems, as well as an insight into Yackandandah’s vibrant music and craft communities. Each town had its share of lively characters and we were lucky enough to spend time with over 80 people from the region and document their stories.
If you happened to read the April ‘ACMI In the Regions’ blog entry, you’d be aware of Dean Lawry’s obsession with cows, unfortunately for this smitten ewe, Mr Lawry’s passion for livestock doesn’t extend to sheep.
Our 3 days in Rutherglen provided us with a great opportunity to find out what the locals were most proud of when it came to their own town. With a region that is famous for its food, wine and gold mining history, we were pleasantly surprised that the icon that inspired the most passion and debate was a disused water tower, affectionately known as ‘The Bottle’. That’s a lot of cab sav!
One of the most admirable things about rural communities is their ability to band together in times of adversity and the YCDco (Yackandandah Community Development Company) is no exception. It was through this organisation that Yack locals pooled their resources together to ensure the survival of the local small petrol station when it was threatened with closure in 2002.
Special mention must be made of our wonderful, but not so lucky crew member, Roberto Salvatore, who managed to get short-changed by an ATM, get lost in a cave and split his pants in front of the Yackandandah Violin Group during the trip away. Better luck next time Ziggy!
The locals had warned us that bad weather was right around the corner, and boy were they right! The day after we departed Beechworth for Melbourne, the region copped the worst flooding in 15 years. Damn straight [Pun intended? -Ed], we were lucky not to get stranded by the floodwaters!
We hope our newfound friends of Indigo Shire are all okay and look forward to sharing their stories with the rest of the world.
Hungry for more? Read about our screening trip to the Moyne shire here, and filming trip to Mount Alexander here. Stories are available to watch in the Australian Mediatheque at ACMI, with a selection also available on the website here.