What does the Victorian town of Greta have in common with the breathtaking coastal area of Cape Conran? Our ACMI film crew is what!
In October 2012 the ACMI Media Studio crew covered over 1200km to film stories in the shires of East Gippsland and Wangaratta. Visiting the towns of Omeo, Swifts Creek, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Cape Conran, Marlo, Greta, Whitfield, Whitlands Plateau and Eldorado, we worked with local communities to create a series of mini-documentaries celebrating diversity, uniqueness of place and Australian regional identity.
First stop was Greta, where we spent an afternoon with the Greta Craft Group: a bunch of wonderful ladies who get together weekly to share their love of all things craft, to connect with each other and most importantly to have a laugh.
We also hit the road with a group of volunteers who hand-deliver the local Bunyip Newsletter. Along the way they were happy to share with us their extensive knowledge of the town’s local history.
A short drive from Greta – with a Glenrowan detour along the way for pumpkin soup, scones and all things Ned Kelly – is Whitfield, a town once renowned for its abundance of dairy farms. These days, only a handful survive and we were lucky enough to spend an afternoon with one such farmer, Rob Cook, as he and his family went about their daily business of running the farm.
Next up, were the enterprising, community minded, warm-hearted and generous people of the Whitlands Plateau. We met wine makers, software developers and artists all keen to share their stories (and love) for the Plateau.
Omeo and Swifts Creek are neighbouring towns located on the Great Alpine Road, east of Mount Hotham, in the northwest corner of the East Gippsland Shire. The stunning surrounding landscape made it a challenge to keep our eyes on the road!
Jeff Cooper took us on a tour of the Omeo Historic Park which contains five heritage-listed buildings, believed to be the best preserved in Australia. In Swifts Creek we met local bush nurse Sue Carroll and some of her very grateful (and well looked after) clients, and chatted with local artist Deirdre Jack, at the Great Alpine Gallery who spoke about being continually inspired by the natural beauty of the area as well as the volunteer work needed to keep the gallery running.
Heading towards the coast, we visited the towns of Lakes Entrance, Orbost and Marlo. Here we got a glimpse of Indigenous culture, history, community and the challenges facing young Aboriginal people in the area from elder and local pastor Aunty Phyllis Andy.
Our final stop was in the Cape Conran coastal park region where we met the resident park managers and the district park ranger who discussed the importance of protecting this coastal paradise.
A big thanks to all the extraordinary people we met along the way. We can’t wait to bring the premiere screenings of the documentaries back to the Wangaratta region in December and to East Gippsland in February.
-Csilla Csongvay, Producer, ACMI and Kim Montgomery, Media Studio Manager, ACMI