The real Outback still exists and I found it in Winton, a small town located just a few hours north from Longreach in the heart of Outback Queensland.
On planning a recent visit to Winton several friends in Brisbane mention, ‘yeah, I’ve been there, it’s a great town’ and ‘that’s a real Outback town’. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had an affiliation with the Outback, its myths and its legends. So what is it about Winton?
On first view, Winton mirrors many Australian country towns, but there’s no McDonalds or KFC here, just wide open streets, a racetrack and a main street lined with pubs and shops of a bygone era. It’s only when you scratch the surface the real soul of this town reveals itself.
In this area Banjo Paterson first penned Australia’s unofficial anthem, “Waltzing Matilda” and performed his new work at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton’s main street. In 1920 the first Qantas board meeting was held here and unearthed all around Winton are the footprints of a prehistoric past, including a dinosaur stampede and the fossil fields of the Age of Dinosaurs.
Maybe it’s Winton’s wide open landscapes and its place in history that has also inspired film makers to make movies here, including Nick Cave’s “The Proposition” and Ivan Sen’s “Mystery Road”.
Despite a never ending drought and ongoing farm foreclosures, the spirit and fight of the local community is still alive and well with Winton about to stage Australia’s first Outback Film Festival, “The Vision Splendid”.
As Winton Mayor, Butch Lenton explains, “It’ll be a great event to get all the people of the town to the event and hopefully lighten things up for our community and to welcome visitors to something new”.
“Some of the best known examples of Australian cinema tend to be films that have been shot in the outback and that is why we’ve developed a film program of Outback inspired films”, said Festival Curator and University of New South Wales film lecturer, Dr Greg Dolgopolov. “To further capture the spirit of the Outback we’re holding a short film competition called A Town Like Winton”.
The festival is being staged throughout Winton, including the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the North Gregory Hotel during the day, with evening films under the stars in the Royal Open-Air Theatre. Opening night features a special indigenous performance and welcome to country and festival guests, Slim Dusty’s wife Joy and family.
Further supporting the event will be a series of yarns and workshops, including a live recording of Conversations with ABC’s Richard Fidler, film making workshops and the role of indigenous culture in film making with Bush TV, a daily children’s cinema and yarns around the camp fire with master story teller and local indigenous leader, Pearl Eatts.
This 10 day film festival embraces the outback spirit from 27th June to the 6th July, 2014.
Winton, Outback Queensland
Friday 27 June to Sunday 6 July, 2014
Spaces are limited. Book your accommodation and tickets in advance and BYO blanket to enjoy evening films under the stars
Program, travel and tickets visit visionsplendid.com.au and follow the latest announcements at Facebook.com/visionsplendidfilmfest
Mr Butch Lenton, Mayor, Winton Shire Council, M: 0438 361 038
Dr Greg Dolgopolov, Festival Curator, M: 0424 610 123
PROGRAM & IMAGES ATTACHED
Pelican waterhole, Main Street, Winton, Outback Queensland
Royal Open-Air Theatre, Winton, Outback Queensland
Movie scene from “Red Dog”
IMAGES & MEDIA ENQUIRIES
Krista Hauritz, M: 0421 148 098 E: firstname.lastname@example.org