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John Carberry and Victoria Rathburne

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Storytelling in the heart of Albany

Julie Holland Light Horse His legs feel weak as he tries to stand,

He feels the touch of a human hand,

He is nervous but need not fear,

For his soldier pal is standing near.

These few lines are part of a poem, The Light Horse At Sea, written recently by local community member and photographer Julie Holland in response to working with the local Light Horse re-enactment group. Her original text was adapted into verse by Ian Lilburne and Selina Hill, and it is to be integrated into illuminart’s projections over the four days during Anzac Albany.

The imagery to accompany the poem will include photographs of the local Light Horse re-enactment group with their horses, as well as archival footage of horses on the troop ships from the National Film and Sound Archive collection, animated into a moving image sequence by Andy Petrusevics, a talented Adelaide-based animator. Anzac Albany is his first project with illuminart.

Andy says, “Looking back at these grainy images we feel something of the emotional landscape of trust between the beautiful, powerful animal and their soldier “mates”. Sadly after this service none of the horses came back to Australia. With moving image we can symbolically share some of this story.”

Local video artist John Carberry has been collaborating with local actors to develop a body of work to be projected around Albany in a series of mobile projections. The material is evocative of old films of the turn of the century, with touches of art nouveau that was part of the style of the era. One of the signature images features local community member, Victoria Rathbone, to farewell the troops.

AFUG LogoBob Symons, Julie Holland, Ric Boyd, Anita Hotker, Warren Lilford and Jeff Morley are a group of photographers from the Albany Film Users Group have been working together to produce a series of images for the project. As Bob explains, “We have been involved with members of the Light Horse Society, as well as a group of ladies and young people who will be dressed in period costumes representing the wives and mothers farewelling the troops at the parade.

“Members of our camera club went along to the preliminary Illuminart meetings with the intention of maybe contributing a few images that may be suitable for the projection show.

Behind the scenes_J Holland _051“What began as a few shots has resulted in many exciting photographic opportunities for our club and provided us with a great deal of satisfaction by being able to make a small contribution to this historic and very important commemorative occasion.

“We’ve all been amazed at the way the community has come together in support of this event and we’re sure the spirit of co-operation and sharing of resources that has resulted, will benefit local art groups and individuals well into the future.

“Our members are really looking forward to seeing the final results in what promises to be a spectacular and breathtaking visual performance.”

Another tale to be included amongst the trail of projections is A Father Never Known, which comes from an interview of Patricia Davies, a woman born in Albany in 1916, which was recorded in 1998 when she was 82 years of age. She tells of the pine trees planted by her newlywed parents on ‘Honeymoon Island’, of which all that was left in 1998 was the remains of one old tree. Her father died in the war when she was just a baby. “I wish I could have met him, he sounded like a lovely man.”

Treasure Family - Newspaper CuttingsThe Treasure family story will be told through the recollections of Emma Treasure and will include excerpts of letters written to her by her sons. Leo Treasure is the maternal grandfather of Vicki Savage, who has put the story together, with Ian Lilburne editing.

Vicki says, “I started researching the family war history for the commemoration. The courage, endurance and resilience of my grandfather Leo and his three brothers, Levi, Henry and Sydney has been an inspiration to me. The fact that the four brothers returned from the war safe, though not untouched by their battlefield experiences, is quite a remarkable story. I have contacted family that I have never even met and got information and photos from them. With many of the family attending the celebration, it will be an emotional experience. The Treasure families honour their ANZACs with this tribute.”

In Leo’s own words:

“I have been here now 15 weeks… I have to go before a medical board to see what they will do with me. I should like to go back to the front and share my luck with my brothers … but my fighting days are done. I knew Henry had been wounded but did not know how bad until I heard from you. I hope and trust they will get through safely, as it is awful fighting there…

Two platoons went out. I was with them. Only five of us came back. It was a dreadful charge. I will never forget Corporal Curlewis, from Brookton. He had just said to me, “Come, ‘Sport’ now we will make a name for W.A.” then he got shot down. I miss him greatly.”

The story was recorded this week with local voice artist Marianne Chester, who has much experience in voice acting and radio. Vicki Savage has provided family photos which will be sequenced together by Henry Simmons, an animator based in regional NSW. Other local voice actors have played roles, recorded by local radio announcer Terry Siva.

Southern Cross Austereo’s – 783 RadioWest Albany – has been a fantastic project partner, providing technical and creative support to the recording of local voices, and assisting with sound design for the hour long soundscape for Princess Royal Harbour Lights. This soundtrack will be simulcast live by RadioWest Albany to accompany the show on Friday the 31st October, enabling people from all around Albany to tune in and share the story.

Jon Doust and Terry Siva at Radio West