Rare Mooroopna movie found

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Bar­clay White

The fi­nal copy of a rare film which was made to pro­mote Mooroopna and the Goul­burn Val­ley to the world has been saved.

Archivists at Vic­to­ria’s Aus­tralian Cen­tre for the Mov­ing Im­age dis­cov­ered what was be­lieved to be the last copy of the short film A Place Called Mooroopna.

The 18-minute film is about a Scots­man who im­mi­grates to Mel­bourne, be­fore he tires of the city life­style and re­lo­cates to Mooroopna to work at the Ard­mona fac­tory.

Cheesy and badly acted, but not with­out a cer­tain kitschy charm, the odd film show­cases the Goul­burn Val­ley in the swing­ing ’60s as thou­sands of ‘£10 poms’ were mov­ing Down Un­der.

ACMI col­lec­tions and ac­cess man­ager Nick Richard­son said the film, which was made in 1968, came close to be­ing lost for­ever un­til the cen­tre re­ceived a phone call.

‘‘We were con­tacted by the Scot­tish guy who ap­peared in the film be­cause he wanted to get a copy to show at his 70th birth­day,’’ Mr Richard­son said.

He found a 16 mm film in the cen­tre’s ex­ten­sive ar­chives, which was the last known copy in Aus­tralia, and digi­tised it to make sure it would not be lost.

If the old film was left un­touched, he es­ti­mated it could have de­graded com­pletely in a few years due to the chem­i­cal de­cay which eats the film.

‘‘It’s more com­monly called ‘vine­gar syn­drome’, so as more film de­te­ri­o­rates we are rac­ing against the clock,’’ he said.

The film fea­tures a bizarre mix of de­tailed facts about the Goul­burn Val­ley’s agri­cul­ture in­dus­try, com­bined with the op­ti­mistic mono­logue of a young Scots­man on the search for love.

The film was pro­duced for Ard­mona Fruit, which even­tu­ally merged with SPC.

‘‘It’s daggy but it’s got a type of hip­ster hi­lar­ity value,’’ Mr Richard­son said.

He was not sure ex­actly where the film would have been shown, but he sus­pected it was aired to newly-ar­rived mi­grants to en­cour­age them to work in the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.

‘‘It re­veals some­thing about Aus­tralian mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and the value of em­ploy­ment in the re­gions,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a bit of fun and we can laugh at it, but we can also be in­formed.’’

Although the film and its stars did not win any Os­cars, its lead star did find fame in an­other area.

Richard Thorp be­came a world-renowned ar­chi­tect and is most well known in Aus­tralia as one of the lead ar­chi­tects be­hind Par­lia­ment House in Can­berra. ● For any­one brave enough to watch the en­tire film, it’s avail­able for view­ing on shep­p­news.com.au

Look­ing back: Archivists un­cov­ered an old film all about the Goul­burn Val­ley in the 1960s.

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