The Bogong Centre for Sound Culture is a remote-regional cultural initiative situated in the foothills of Victoria’s Alpine National Park. Established by Philip Samartzis and Madelynne Cornish the Centre supports projects focusing on the processes and impacts of sustainable energy production; effects of climate change in wilderness areas; ethnographic studies of remote communities; the chronicling of vanishing industrial procedures; and systems of representation used to render natural and built environments.
Additionally, the BCSC facilitates a broad cultural program comprising, festivals, exhibitions, publications, master classes and artists’ talks focusing on site-specific art practices. These programs establish a connection with place, its inhabitants, geographic space and memory. They engage a wide range of audiences, bringing together local, interstate and international artists across multiple disciplines and fields to realise ambitious works.
The BCSC is situated at the newly restored old school at Bogong Alpine Village located 350 kilometres from Melbourne in North East Victoria.
About Bogong Village
Bogong Alpine Village is 325 kilometres North-East of Melbourne situated at an altitude of 800 meters in the Alpine National Park between Mount Beauty and Falls Creek. The village was established in the late 1930s to service the first hydroelectric scheme in mainland Australia. More recently it has become a popular site for alpine sports, recreation and ecotourism. Click here for directions.
A Short History
Work on the Kiewa Scheme commenced in 1938 with the construction of a road from Tawonga to the High Plains. Previously the only access was by foot or horseback along tracks that had been forged by cattlemen of a bygone era. Bogong Village was established once the road from Junction Camp was trafficable (March 1939); this paved the way for the construction of permanent buildings. Prior to that life was tough; large canvas tents and flies were used for sleeping quarters and smaller tents were set up to house the kitchens. By 1940 Bogong Township had grown considerably with a general store, staff offices, recreational mess, police station, and a variety of accommodation such as single men’s quarters and residences for married staff and families.
Bogong State School
In 1941 the Primary School at Bogong Village enrolled its first intake of students comprising nine pupils. Initially the school consisted of a large classroom, storeroom and boys and girls toilets. Extensions were carried out in 1944, which expanded the capabilities of the school. A library, storeroom, pupil’s lunchroom and shelter shed were added and rock gardens were established. By 1947 the number of students had grown to 46 all of whom were children of local SEC workers. Over the years class sizes fluctuated and the building remained unchanged. In 1980 it ceased to operate as a school and sat idle, eventually falling into disrepair. In 2004 it was sold along with many other buildings in the village.
Madelynne Cornish and Philip Samartzis bought the Old School and set about restoring it to its former glory. The rotting weatherboards and floorboards, smashed windows and flaking paint are now a distant memory. The newly refurbished building occupies it’s original footprint and bares a strong resemblance to it’s former self. Although the internals have been modernized remnants of it’s past history remain. The Old School once played a significant role in the fabric of village life. It inspired the community and helped shape the minds of those who studied there. It is our intention as custodians that the School once again functions as a place of inspiration.
Reference: Kiewa Kids School Days at Bogong & Mount Beauty by Graham Gardner
I am now in my final month of my residency. It's been great having an extended period of time to focus on my art practice. I spend a good portion of the day working on my projects. When it's raining I record one of Serlachius Museums' plant rooms. When the conditions are dry I go out on location and film one of the five forests I have chosen to focus on. The weather has shifted somewhat, on Friday and this morning the museum’s grounds were blanketed with a thick fog. I would like to film the forested blanketed by fog with the drone, but I’m a little weary about doing this. My drone is white and I’m concerned that I may not spot it once it’s in flight 25 meters off the ground. When I return to Australia there are a few key items that I will be purchasing, additional batteries and battery charger [car] + a high visibility [drone] skin. Because I’m flying in forests and at an altitude of 25meter to ensure I clear the trees there are times when the drone is out off sight for minutes, which can be a little unsettling. My flying skills have improved immensely, however I’m still a little jerky when it comes to landing. Today I came to realise that drone records in blocks of 5min 27sec and then it starts a new sequence, which seems a little odd.
One of the most interesting things I saw last week was the road receiving a new coat of asphalt. I set up my recorder and documented the procession of machines as they passed. It took 24minutes for the mechanical ensemble to pass and as it did so it hissed and groaned.
In regard to recording the museums’ plant rooms I have to say the sounds in the Gösta Museum's old building are far more interesting then in the museum's new pavilion. The new building is so quiet, and the machines are so well insulated they don’t sing as beautifully as those in the old building. My favourite plant room is Gösta Museum [old building] roof plant room 1.