Dorrigo Film

I spent last Friday afternoon in Dorrigo. I love Dorrigo, it’s about an hour away from my home and it’s a small plateau town in the Bellingen Shire. It has some incredible bush walks and beautiful National Parks, and it is a cold place to play soccer. My boys have both played up there as part of their annual circuit.

On Friday, I also saw that Dorrigo is home to a rich and vibrant Aboriginal community. Dorrigo, as with my home, is in Gumbaynggirr Country.

The Dorrigo community held NAIDOC Day celebrations last Friday, and I went up there to meet up with people, and to make a film for the ABC Coffs Coast website.


National Parks Discovery Ranger, Mark Flanders


You can see the film at the website, along with photos and audio of the event.

It was a fantastic day.

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I had a fantastic afternoon on Friday, I spent a few hours at Dorrigo High School for their NAIDOC Week celebrations.

Jay Greentree

Jay Greentree with her Dreambox

I was up there with the Port Macquarie ABC Open Producer, Wiriya Sati. We met some incredible people. I filmed and interviewed a fair few of them and now I’m editing together a film for the ABC Coffs Coast website and some sound to play on the show tomorrow. I will link the film up here so you can see it.

I have wondered about the impacts of a “Day” on a community before. Is it just tokenistic or does it really impact on people? I came away feeling that the NAIDOC Day celebrations in Dorrigo, did have an impact on community perceptions and relationships.

I suppose standing alone, a “Day” might have little impact but together with a group of people who a ready and willing to learn and change and work together, its impact can be huge.

I remember the Bridge Walk for Reconciliation on May 28, 2000. I was nine months pregnant and we sat at the edge of the bridge, watching 300,000 people share the same vision and being offered a way to express it. It’s about timing and capturing a mood. And that is what happened in Dorrigo in Friday.

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The One That Got Away

This is a film I made last year. It’s the story of a friend of ours, Max Mander. He’s eight and he loves to fish.

I filmed this on a Sony HD and edited it on Final Cut.

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Flooded In

My partner, Simon Portus, and I made this short film together in 2007. We made it as part of a Radio National documentary I made about people who get flooded in regularly near us, in Thora.

These same people have recently been flooded in for over a week.

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I started the 12words project in 2009. It’s been fun and thousands of people have connected to write and rate stories. Now I’ve decided to grow the project to 12second films.  Everyone loves the idea, but they get a bit overwhelmed by the idea of making a film in 12 seconds.

So I’ve made an example – simple and short.

This is a 12second film I made with my 8-year-old son, Tully. We filmed it on a Canon 60D and edited it on iMovie. It took us an hour.


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My Films

I’ve upgraded my wordpress to put some of my films up here but for some reason it’s being temperamental. Love technological glitches. So, as a little taster, here’s my youtube with one of my favourite films. ‘The One That Got Away’ is a 3 minute film I made about a year ago. I filmed it on a Sony HD and edited it on Final Cut.

It’s the story of a little boy who is passionate about fishing.

I will be putting some more films up over the next few days.

The One That Got Away

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Storm brewing

Storm brewing

You may have heard about the recent floods on the Mid North Coast of NSW. It was a big week for farmers and for people who live on flood plains, at the peak of the floods, 14,000 people were isolated, unable to cross low-lying bridges or roads covered in water.

The floods hit on my third week working in at ABC Coffs Coast. A fast learning curve, I was suddenly part of a team maintaining our small website 24

Golf anyone?

hours a day, ensuring our road and weather information was up to date. I was constantly listening to coverage, editing and uploading all interviews that would be relevant to people checking our website.

I did manage to get out of the studio for a short time though, and I grabbed a few shots of the floods around me.

The Urunga Golf Course…
Closed Roads

Closed Roads

Flooded fields
Flooded fields
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Today I’m at home with two sick children but on Sunday, we were enjoying paradise.


Our Beach



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The Road

I can hear the breath speeding in my ears as I approach his house. Shallow, quick breath. And the sound of a distant car. A bird. A dog. And the car is closer, turning into the road. Behind me. I walk into the lantana, imagining my body thudding against his solid car bonnet. I can hear it. Feel it in my legs, my back arching. My head flipping. I turn to see his face.

But it’s not him.

I haven’t walked down this road for three years. Since he started visiting. Usually around 10pm he’d come, sporadically. Parking at the top of our driveway, doing burn outs. He’d have music blaring, windows down. He’d yell obscenities at us.

We’d offended him. We’d done the wrong thing for sure. But this was intense. We live fifteen minutes out of town, and an hour’s drive from the 24 hour police station. We called them a few times and they’d turn up four or five hours after he’d gone. Shining torches into our windows to ask us questions.

I’ve always been a little jumpy when I’m alone with the kids at night but it’s been worse since he started coming. I’m not certain what he looks like but I have a mental image. It’s like Friday the 13th when you don’t see Jason’s face. It’s worse because we place our worst fears there.

He moved about a year ago. I haven’t walked his road, past his house, until today. And while I was nervous, it was good to do. I can see he’s really gone. I’ll still be jumpy when Simon’s away and I know that out here I’m very alone, there’s no triple 0 back up here.

There are many reasons to criticise police, and more widely justice system, for sure. That’s another blog. But it is good to know that if you need support in an immediate, violent, moment; you can call on them. When you’re the victim they can support you in a moment of need. In rural areas we don’t have that.

The fear we felt was a small moment in our lives. We had a fear of violence, a fear of the unknown. Think of women or children facing domestic violence out here. Real, regular, violence. There is absolutely nowhere for them to turn at night. They can’t call the police. And an AVO means nothing when you don’t have anyone to back you up. Terrifying.

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Gay Rights

I was just watching ‘Are You Being Served‘ the English tv show from the ’70’s.

So good. But it made me realise how few steps we’ve taken in terms of Gay Rights in the last 40 years.

One of the most loved characters on this program, Mr Wilberforce Claybourne Humphries, is clearly gay. He’s a fantastic character with a twinkle in his eye and plenty of innuendos about his sexuality. And the audience adored him.

Yet here we are, four decades later and Australian debate is raging about gay marriage and according to Mia Freedman’s blog there is an uproar in the United States in reaction to a screen kiss between two boys on the tv show, Glee.

Perhaps it’s fair to expect to move two steps forward and one back when it comes to social issues but this is ridiculous.

Some men are attracted to men, some women are attracted to women. Some men are attracted to men and women, some women are attracted to women and men. Some men are attracted to women, some women are attracted to men.

Deal with it.

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