The Wonders of Wandin Valley
13 December 2019 – 2 February 2020
It was very much another time but no so much another place, when in 1981 a soon to be much beloved Australian television show debuted in Australia.
My personal recollection was of it being one of the few TV programs, besides the news and the odd David Attenborough nature documentary that I was allowed to watch. And though set in a ‘rural’ landscape, reflected back a cultural and social understanding of what being ‘Australian’, living in Australia was supposed to ‘look like’!
I soon came to understand that ‘Australia’ was far more complex. But A Country Practice spoke to my childhood innocence, as it did to so many others young and old alike. The quirky characters - out of their depth city slicker tree changers, the lovable rascals, top Aussie blokes, the well-meaning busy body and the ‘new to-towners’.
The Hawkesbury has a particular and significant connection to the show, with most of the outdoor filming taking place at locations in the towns of the Hawkesbury. You can take a walk around town and see the Dr. Elliot’s surgery, Frank and Shirl’s house, the Wandin Valley church and hospital, Muldoon’s Store. Many farms and properties were also used for various location shoots.
The exhibition includes a wonderful array of memorabilia from ACP fans, Hawkesbury locals and persons who worked on the show. Including Logie Awards and scrap books from the show’s creator James Davern and actor Joyce ‘Esme Watson’ Jacobs scrapbooks, original sketches by Shane ‘Dr Terence Elliot’ Porteous, knitting patterns by Jenny Kee and the 1984 Woman's Day lift out 'A Country Practice Cookbook'. If you ever wanted to make yourself Cookie’s signature dish Gemfish Cleopatra, well now is your chance, we have the recipe!
Alongside the memorabilia the exhibition incorporates projections of iconic scenes and location photography sourced from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, including images from ACP’s 100th episode Back to the Past shot at the Australiana Pioneer Village.
The Wonders of Wandin Valley also includes commissioned artwork from Liam Benson, Julia Drouhin & Sanne Kok-Drouhin, Freya Jobbins, Simon Mee and Jason Wing. Reflecting on and celebrating this much-loved icon of Australian TV.
Come take a trip down memory lane and explore the Wonders of Wandin Valley!
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