Tuesday, 6 August 2019
The Travelling Light tour, planned for over a year, has finally commenced after many weeks of final preparations.
The first stop of our illuminart Odyssey was Port Pirie, located in the upper Spencer Gulf. Not long before sunset, Port Pirie residents began arriving with picnic blankets, chairs and wraps and were shepherded closer to the silos, to get the best sound and views.
The event was opened by Ursula Halpin the Gallery & Cultural Arts Coordinator, Mayor Leon Stephens, and Nukunu elder Doug Turner, before handing over to Cindi Drennan from illuminart to MC the night.
Being the first event our hearts were in our mouths when the projection began, big, bright and colourful, showcasing a specially curated collection of stories that illuminart has produced for this project over the last 5 years. Port Pirie itself has featured very strongly in the selection as we have been mentoring and collaborating with local journalist and researcher, Kellie Higginbottom. since joining the project in 2016, Kellie has been involved in making and presenting over ten stories representing Port Pirie and Spencers Gulf, including “Ketches were a lifeline’; ‘Safety at Sea’; Anzac projections in Pro Memoria; Falie Ketch stories; and most recently an interview with Des “Nosey” Parker and advising on a Smelter Picnic cartoon. Many of the stories Kellie has been involved in were presented at Port Pirie on the first night, and will go on to be projected in other towns.
Port Pirie show also featured stories of Whyalla, Streaky Bay, Elliston, Fleurieu Peninsula, Wattle Ranges and Onkaparinga, through our partnerships with City of Onkaparinga, Streaky Bay Council and Fleurieu Festival, and the presence of our mentees and collaborators in other towns.
It was a great start to the tour and we were thrilled to have audience members come up afterwards and thank us for the event and share appreciation for the stories and artwork projected onto their Silos.
By dusk we had arrived in Minlaton and set up close to the Town Hall, where the local community group presenting the ‘Harry Butler Centenary’ events had invited us to help commemorate their local aviation pioneer. Here the projection stories included ‘Flight of the Red Devil’ created for the City of Victor Harbor, in which dashing daring aviator Harry Butler and his Red Devil aeroplane fly from Adelaide to Victor Harbor on New Year’s Day, 1920. In honour of the Minlaton event, we also projected animation of the Red Devil in flight over historic buildings of Minlaton (from photographs contributed by the Butler family). The projections also featuring local tall tales and perrenial crowd pleasers from Whyalla and the Fleurieu Peninsula, drawn by school children and animated by Michael Rostig, including ‘Kenneth Reed’s Treasure House’ and ‘Fencing Horror’, which both feature planes.
Our Town Hall projections had a small audience of about 60 people, but special mention should be made of one: His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le, Governor of South Australia, who graciouslly attended to watch the story of the Flight of the Red Devil, before joining centenary proceedings inside the hall at 8PM. And by 8:30 we were on our way to our night time stop at peaceful Port Vincent, which is far too lovely to talk about lest too many people discover yet another amazing South Australian secret.
The third stop of our tour is the delightfully named Booleroo Centre, which has an official population of under 500 people, so having about 150 people turn out for our event here was just terrific, and we were thrilled to hear that the chip van sold over 27 kg of chips, and Lions sold over 600 doughnuts, which is a fantastic help for local fund raising.
Our contact in Booleroo Centre, Emma Waters (on behalf of the Booleroo Progress Association) has been trying to find a way to get illuminart to Booleroo for a couple of years now, so they are all really thrilled that the funding from Australia Council for the Arts enabled us to help make the seemingly insurmountable, possible for them. This was no doubt a big inspiration for Emma and the local school’s contribution of photos and artwork which we brought to life as a 9 minute long story, projected onto the Silos. Many local people contributed historic photographs, which combined with the kids artwork, showed just how very proud everyone is of their town and of all the pieces that we wish could be permanently projected in its home town, this lovely piece would be one. People often think that nothing happens in small towns but this story shows just how wrong they are!
Another small segment featuring engines from Booleroo’s world famous Steam and Traction rally was shown, alongside stories of wheat farming, historic ketch trade, and entertaining tales from other communities.
The Booleroo Silo show was an almost perfect night. The projection area in front of the silos was grassy and almost amphitheatre-like, creating a truly enjoyable sitting area for families and there were quite a few children who were happily playing on the grass throughout the night. We were thrilled to hear how the Booleroo community and Viterra had worked together to make their hopes for this event, a reality and say thank you to everyone who played a part in making it a success.
From Booleroo we headed off up the dark night time track to Quorn, staying in the peaceful Quorn Caravan park to be ready for our fourth day of travel and shows.
The next morning, we travelled through the Majestic Flinders Ranges and across Spencers Gulf onward for our fourth show, in Cowell.
Thanks to the invitation and help of the District Council of Franklin Harbour, we were able to have the opportunity to project our Projection Storytelling program onto Cowell’s glorious white Silos, before they are painted in a month or so. In fact we are really thrilled we could give residents a taste of the vibrancy, colour and creativity possible on silos, and hopefully stimulate some new, original and creative ideas to represent their local community and heritage.
We really enjoyed our show in Cowell, meeting in person the first time with local council representative Stacey Franklin who we have been talking with for such a long time, and also running into Steph Taylor that we have known from the Red Lime Shack in Port Adelaide, who surprised us by showing up with a mobile coffee van (and we reminisced about the Night Mural project she supported with hot soup back in August 2013, six years ago). It was a balmy peaceful and long dusk, with good turnout of easily 150 people who had a fantastic view of a three cell wide Silo, perfectly white, in a mild August evening, sizzling sausages and hot chocolate nearby and a sense of happiness and pride, and appreciation to share a special night.
Being the fourth event, completion of our show in Cowell completes 25% of our touring program and coming up ahead we have Elliston, Ceduna, Streaky Bay and Whyalla. We know are heading into bad weather and hope for the best but plan for the worst. After Whyalla we return to Adelaide and there will be a few days rest before our second, third and fourth legs of the tour. Many people have contacted us and asked if we include their town on the tour, and although they don’t realise that this tour has been three years in the making and all our spots are full, at least the conversation begins… in the same way that this tour began with conversations 2-3 years ago, let’s hope that the more people who know what this is about, the easier it will be to find partners and make it possible. If you think your community would like to be part of a large project like this, please get in touch.
Thanks to all our partners, cohosts and supporters:
and the Progress Association of Booleroo, Progress Society of Wilmington, The Falie Ketch, Uniting Church of Aldinga