City to explore film connection
Mayor wants Ned Kelly shot here
POTENTIAL locations within the Rural City of Wangaratta for a soon-to-be-made Ned Kelly film will be discussed in coming weeks, according to mayor Ken Clarke.
Reports swirling around the entertainment industry this week have Australian director Justin Kurzel at the helm of a film adaptation of Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang, with Oscar winner Russell Crowe believed to have been cast as bushranger Harry Power.
The movie is expected to begin filming in Victoria early next year, though there has been no confirmation of where it will be filmed.
Cr Clarke said he planned to speak to council’s chief executive officer, Brendan McGrath, about the possibility of the rural city suggesting locations central to the Kelly story for the film.
“Everything to do with Ned Kelly is in the North East or southern New South Wales, so if it’s authentic, it should involve Wanga- ratta and district,” Cr Clarke said.
“You’ve got Glenrowan, the court case in Beechworth, Ned was buried at Greta – what more do you want?
“I think Beechworth would be ideal, and there are some parts of Wangaratta that would lend themselves to filming.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’d be very supportive of anything coming here, and we’ll be making the push to look at driving something to happen here.”
Nine movies and four TV shows based on the Kelly story, beginning with a 1906 silent film, have been made over the years, including a 2003 film starring the late Heath Ledger.
Glenrowan businessman and Kelly historian Gary Dean said while he had some reservations about Carey’s fictional treatment of the story being adapted for film, any renewed interest always drew more visitors to the district.
“It’s always good, as long as people understand that this is not the true story, just fiction,” Mr Dean said.
“Business-wise, it did help when the Heath Ledger movie came out (in 2003); over the following months, there are always more people visiting as a consequence of films like that.
“And it might help our aspirations to get some money into the town; the renewed interest might help that cause.”
But Mr Dean said he would prefer to see a history-based movie rather than something based on fiction.
“I actually started writing a screenplay about Dan Kelly’s escape story, which has been put away in a drawer somewhere for now,” he said.
Chris Gerrett from Kate’s Cottage in Glenrowan said it may be difficult to find locations in the district suitable for bringing the Kelly era to life.
“When they did the film with Heath Ledger, they used the You Yangs and Clunes, where half the street was Beechworth and the other half was Jerilderie,” she said.
“They would probably have the same problem now with finding something here that looks authentic.
“You’ve got to have something that still looks like virgin country, and there is not much virgin country around.
“Either way, whatever they do, it will be beneficial to the region.
“Every time Ned is mentioned, the whole area benefits.
“After we were on the Today Show, people came from Melbourne for day trips, and then stayed to explore the area.
“I think it’s going to be a positive, and I’d love it if it was as close to the truth as possible, but you’re not going to get that with the Peter Carey book.”
THE BIG STAGE: Spiderbait singer/drummer Cram (front left), together and band guitarist Whitt (left) took to the stage with 50 local amateur musicians, including young Jamie Dunkerly (right), to peform on Sunday night in what was one of the highlights of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. To read more about the Wangaratta ‘Horns of Death” see page 14.