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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: black saturday (3)

Big weekend for the bells

by Susan Bamford-Caleo
Publish date
20 February 2014
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Susan manages the Federation Handbells lending program.

8 and 9 February will be remembered as a grand weekend for the Federation Handbells with their participation in two very important events in Melbourne.
The Federation Handbells and Museum Victoria have an exciting partnership with the Melbourne Recital Centre this year. The first part of this project took place last week with two composition workshops leading to a performance that opened the Melbourne Recital Centre’s 5th Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 8 February. The performance was called Birthday Bells.

Federation Handbells procession The Federation Handbells, after a procession down St Kilda Road to launch the festivities at the Melbourne Recital Centre, lead the way to the Elizabeth Murdoch Hall.
Source: Melbourne Recital Centre

The workshops were led by composer Steve Falk and me, with participation from percussionists Eugene Ughetti and Leah Scholes. Those enrolled in the workshops had responded to a general call-out and included people ranging widely in age and background. Over the days that we spent together, playing and creating with the Federation Handbells, a genuine sense of group identity was created, so much so that the participants have asked if we can form a Federation Handbells Players group and suggested that we call it Clang!

The excitement and enthusiasm of the participants and the connection that developed with each other and with the bells was a perfect example of the Federation Handbells fulfilling their commission. Wonderful! 

We very much appreciated the generous assistance and support of Kirsten and the Melbourne Recital Centre staff and can’t wait to get back there for the second part of our joint project, the Federation Handbells Residency (April to September, 2014). 

The other very significant event at which the Federation Handbells appeared that weekend was the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Fifth Anniversary Remembrance Event on Sunday 9 February. The handbells were played in a performance of Risen From The Flame by The Blacksmith’s Tree Youth Choir, a choir consisting of children from fire-affected communities. The children sang and played their composition led by Bridget Muir, a youth worker from Nillumbik Council. The piece was originally written by Bridget and the children for the launch of the Blacksmith’s Tree in Whittlesea in November, 2013.  You can view the performance in this YouTube video:


The Federation Handbells have contributed strongly to community involvement in a number of commemorations for the 2009 bushfires over the last five years and it highlights their importance as significant ceremonial instruments for Victorians.
We are looking forward to more big weekends with the Federation Handbells as they continue their important role in Victoria and beyond.

The Earth Wins at IMAX

by Jerry Grayson
Publish date
25 July 2013
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Writer/Director Jerry Grayson is a helicopter pilot-turned-filmmaker. He spent eight years flying for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, a role that culminated in him being awarded the Air Force Cross by Her Majesty the Queen for outstanding gallantry in Search and Rescue. He talks about flying back over the scorched land he filmed for THE EARTH WINS, a unique Australian-made documentary which opens at IMAX Melbourne Museum on 29 August. 

A core premise of our film THE EARTH WINS is that if you view any given subject from a different perspective (in this case from the air) then there is the potential to form entirely new opinions.

Flying over the forests between Kinglake and Marysville was a sobering experience in the week following Black Saturday. However high we flew, the lifeless brown woodlands still stretched to the horizon. There was still a form of beauty to be found in the way that the hillsides resembled the rough hide of an elephant head, and we still refer to this shot as the "hairy hill".

Burnt landscape 'The hairy hill' - a view from the air of the forest between Marysville and Kinglake in the week after the Black Saturday fires.
Source: Helifilms

But if there was ever a scene that justified the phrase "a dreadful and terrifying beauty", this was it.

Four years later, almost to the day, I couldn't resist the opportunity to fly over the same hills once more and to record the way that the landscape had changed in the interim. As we crested the ridge at Kinglake I was horrified to see that the only change had been a change in colour. Vast forests of dead brown trunks were now vast forests of dead grey trunks. The hamlet of Kinglake West was almost unrecognizable to me in the way that new roads had been carved and new buildings erected. I gave up trying to find the remains of the house from which the chimney had been so lovingly preserved and transported to Melbourne Museum.

But for tens of kilometres beyond the human footprint the forests were as dead as they had been when we were shooting for our film in February 2009. Only an odd stand of trees here and there gave any clue as to what had once been.

Hills with dead trees The forests between Kinglake and Marysville four years after Black Saturday.
Source: Helifilms

But then a wonderful thing happened as we simply altered our perspective from the oblique to the vertical. Almost hidden at the base of the towering grey trunks was a carpet of new green life; huge and luxuriant ferns providing shade and water catchment for the young trees that would soon overtake their deceased parents.

Tree ferns under burnt trees Tree ferns springing back to life after bushfire.
Source: Helifilms

The experience gave me pause to consider the very essence of what THE EARTH WINS was always designed to convey, that just a tiny variation in one’s perspective or viewpoint can result in an overwhelmingly different conclusion.

If our film succeeds in illustrating how different some things can seem when viewed from a different angle then I will be very happy. See the film, share your thoughts with me at Did it move you, your partner, your mate, your parents or your offspring to view anything from a slightly altered perspective? Go on, make my day!

The Thank You Gift

by Catherine McLennan
Publish date
21 December 2010
Comments (4)

This guest post is by Catherine McLennan. As part of her Master of Public History, Catherine completed a student internship with Museum Victoria, working with Senior Curator Liza Dale-Hallett on a special object that was acquired for the Victorian Bushfires Collection. This collection recently won the 2010 Arts Portfolio Leadership Award in the Community Leadership category.

This year I was given the opportunity to work on the Victorian Bushfires Collection. In my role as student intern, I was assigned to research a tree-shaped sculpture, interview its makers and create some stories for publication on Museum Victoria’s Collections Online. When I first laid eyes on this beautiful piece of art, I had no idea who made it, why they made it, or what it represented. It was time for some research…

Thank You Gift The Thank You Gift
Source: Museum Victoria

After a few phone calls, I learnt that the sculpture was created in the Kinglake Ranges by local woodworker Glenn Barlow and local blacksmith Ray Brasser, using wood and metal that had been salvaged from their properties following the 2009 Victorian bushfires. Glenn and Ray presented this sculpture to the ex-Premier of Victoria John Brumby at a concert that was held at Federation Square, Melbourne, on 10 April 2010 – the Thank You Melbourne and Victoria concert. The purpose of this concert was to thank the people of Victoria for their generosity in the wake of Black Saturday and the sculpture was made as a physical token of this ‘thank you’ message.

In September I travelled to Kinglake to meet and interview Ray, Glenn and three other people that were involved in organising the Thank You Melbourne and Victoria concert. It was an honour to meet these people. All of them had been through some terrible experiences during and after the fires, but despite this, they were so welcoming and had a great sense of humour. Organising the Thank You concert was, for them, a way of channelling their grief and getting local musicians, artists and poets involved in the recovery process whilst simultaneously saying ‘thank you’.

Researching the Thank You Gift was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I would like to thank those who were so generous in sharing their stories with me (they know who they are), and to Museum Victoria for hosting my student internship.


2010 Arts Portfolio Leadership Awards

Thank You Gift on Collections Online

Making of the Thank You Gift

Thank You Melbourne and Victoria concert

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