In­ge­nu­ity show­cased

Shepparton News - Country News - - MAN’S BEST FRIEND -

A 1962 EJ Holden sta­tion wagon with its roof re­moved and used as a makeshift trailer, and a Ford Fair­lane painted in tra­di­tional Warlpiri de­signs and traded for pearl shells, are two of the star at­trac­tions of an ex­hi­bi­tion based on the pop­u­lar Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion se­ries Bush Me­chan­ics.

Bush Me­chan­ics: The Ex­hi­bi­tion, which opened on De­cem­ber 6 at Can­berra’s Na­tional Mu­seum, is a showcase of the in­ge­nu­ity of out­back me­chan­ics, whose clever re­source­ful­ness can turn branches, spinifex and sand into tools and spare parts to get cars back on the road.

De­vel­oped by the Na­tional Mo­tor Mu­seum in South Aus­tralia, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Warlpiri com­mu­nity and PAW Me­dia, who pro­duced the se­ries, the ex­hi­bi­tion is a light-hearted ex­plo­ration of the im­por­tance of the car to life in the out­back.

The 1962 EJ Holden, from the first episode, per­fectly en­cap­su­lates the spirit of the show. Its roof fa­mously caved in while trans­port­ing band equip­ment but this set­back was re­solved by hack­ing the roof off and at­tach­ing it to the back of the car as a makeshift trailer.

The Na­tional Mu­seum ac­quired it in 2003 from Francis Jupurrurla Kelly, the owner of the car and the co-di­rec­tor of the tele­vi­sion se­ries.

‘‘The tele­vi­sion se­ries cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of many Aus­tralians at the time with its hu­mor­ous ex­plo­ration of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal Aus­tralia and mo­tor­ing,’’ ex­hi­bi­tion cu­ra­tor Michelan­gelo Bolog­nese said.

‘‘The tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion on bush me­chan­ics is the lat­est chap­ter in a story that started over 20 years ago in the lit­tle com­mu­nity of Yuen­dumu.

‘‘It has been a priv­i­lege for the Na­tional Mo­tor Mu­seum to show this cap­ti­vat­ing as­pect of life in cen­tral Aus­tralia to au­di­ences around the coun­try, and it’s won­der­ful to now see it in as im­por­tant a venue as the Na­tional Mu­seum of Aus­tralia,’’ Mr Bolog­nese said.

The quirky four-part se­ries fol­lowed five young Warlpiri men as they trav­elled through re­mote out­back Aus­tralia in ve­hi­cles in var­i­ous states of road­wor­thi­ness, en­coun­ter­ing a va­ri­ety of me­chan­i­cal prob­lems.

Stuck in the mid­dle of the desert with no tools or spare parts, each break­down re­quired in­ven­tive bush re­source­ful­ness to fix.

The show first went to air in the early 2000s on ABC TV and reached more than three mil­lion view­ers.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is rich in orig­i­nal footage from the se­ries and in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences.

Vis­i­tors can also ad­mire clay fig­urines from the Bush Me­chan­ics clay­ma­tion.

The free ex­hi­bi­tion is open un­til Fe­bru­ary 24. Me­chan­ics.

Off road . . . Film­ing the 1962 EJ Holden for the first episode of Bush Pic­ture: Na­tional Film and Sound Archive

Pretty rough . . . Me­chan­ics.Pic­ture: 1962 EJ Holden from the first episode of Bush

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