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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
Days in Bogong are filled with being: dreaming, walking, listening and wondering. New ear-perspectives are being highlighted throughout the environs; new knowledge of how to record and structure sound is being learnt.
For me, there is a translation that occurs between Nature and Self, Body and Voice, Land and Sounds. I am looking for ways to record this: to be able to capture the ethereal reality of the dreamscape and physicalize it into “reality”.
The birds are gloriously vocal here. They chirp and tweet and herald the dusk and the dawn. They inspire me to make sounds far across the gullies. To use vowel sounds and open the vocal channel and sing with them: To be in harmony with them.
A few weeks back, I was awoken one morning by the repetition of ‘Solomon….Solomon….Solomon….’ The reverie holding the word for me to further day dream on. I investigated the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. Solomon the Wise was a great Magician: he knew the language of the birds. “He understood the language of the Should and the inner voice of Intuition” Mark Starvish. In every indigenous culture they speak of their relationship to birds: Ravens were known to guide the North American Indians to food. The language of the birds is a divine and mythical language. For me, it is a strong reminder to look deeper internally for signs and signals and follow the voice of intuition throughout the day.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep? John Keats. Ode on a Nightingale
The morning misty clouds on Sunday morning sparked onto a delightfully hot and humid day. The clouds were in perfect formation (see Photo 2). An inspiration of the whispiness of the wind carrying its visually formed breath, and the fleeting nature of Nature. Again a beautiful reminder of the beauty of Nature, and how quickly the mountains can change.