This month we're working on a lockdown version of a short Indigenous history video series with Sydney-based NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge.
I've known of video production companies not keen on shouting from the rooftop when working with politicians. But the campaign David is running is aimed at preventing open-cut coal mining – of which there is plenty – in the NSW Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, from encroaching on sites of grave significance to local Aboriginal people, the Wonnarua clans. As a member of One Per Cent For The Planet with a clear environmentalist bent, Wedge-Tail is happy to be on board.
Broadly speaking, the series speaks to the 'frontier war' violence in the Hunter Valley in the comparatively early days of the colony of New South Wales. British troops, supported by the newly-formed NSW mounted police (still going strong in 2021) wrought horrific violence on the Indigenous peoples of the land; often in a spiralling tit for tat, which also saw many attacks on white settlers. This was war, however unevenly the odds were stacked.
COVID-SAFE SYDNEY VIDEO PRODUCTION
Despite travel restrictions we've been able to produce the first video in a series of four in a Covid-safe way. We're were lucky enough to get a batch of video and drone footage provided which came from some of the archaeological work happening at the site. Sadly, we were unable to travel to the region to film or produce drone footage given the restrictions in Sydney at the moment – nor could we carry out interviews. It's not the highest quality footage we're working with – but sometimes patchy video which tells the story is better than quality video which does not, drone or otherwise. [Editorial] Content is King!
Matched with suitable archive and historical photography from places like the State Library of NSW and the ever-trusty zoom interview, we've been able to produce these videos entirely from the Wedge-Tail office. We've had David's researcher Aish record her audio from her own home while speaking, and send it back to the edit suite to achieve slightly higher-quality than a Zoom recording would have achieved.
This is the first of four videos, we hope it shines a light on a too-often under discussed aspect of our shared Australian history.
And if it floats your boat, please have a look at Wedge-Tail feature documentary The Lake of Scars – we'll be sharing some very exciting news there soon.
Above: A shot of the Ravensworth Homestead in the Hunter Valley