First week of Bingara Soundtrail

June from the local Museum with a cache of old war letters they've just discovered

June from the local museum holds up a cache of 1916 war letters between a local boy and his mother that has literally just been discovered

In searing heatwave conditions I drove down to Bingara last weekend. An interesting road and after working on Soundtrails here last year, it’s a bit of a coming home to be in this part of the world: the cyprus pine covered hills, the electric dry air, the wide roads of town.
For three days I’ve now been in Bingara and the weather has thankfully cooled down. We’ve begun compiling material for the Bingara soundtrail. Jan and Tony Miller are putting me up  (thank you) and I even have my own little recording spot in the upstairs part of the illustrious Roxy Theatre.
This is the first of three trips and I am working with Carmen Southwell and Georgia Standerwick from the Bingara Shire Council. With Carmen I’m working on a suite of stories that connect up with the memorial grove of orange trees in the centre of town. As with many of these regional towns, Bingara saw a high percentage of its young men head off to both wars and the orange trees, which were planted in the fifties as a tribute to the fallen soldiers, are now as close as it gets to hallowed status here. First they were Valencia – no good for eating I’m told – and now they’re Washington Navels. Each year there’s an orange festival where a bugle call announces picking time and the kids are unleashed. Alan Mitchell, told us this morning how as a teenager he once kicked the oranges down the street and threw them on the roofs – so poorly were the oranges regarded. Then as a school teacher things turned around and he started to see the symbolic importance of the orange trees and he found himself teaching the kids to guard over the fruit lest anyone steal them. Hence the orange police today. That’s right all you visitors to town. The orange police. Don’t even think about it!

Meanwhile Georgia and I, who have now two sound trials under our belt, are scoping out a range of other stories and sounds for town and where they might fit into a GPS map: the movie picture wars, the vision of the Greeks who built the Roxy theatre, the story behind the cumbersome rocks along the river. On and on. Am attending meetings with heritage group, the local theatre troop, the ex mayor and kids at school. Fun, challenging and much to get my head around.

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