Sharyn Brand

Entry #1

23.09.2016

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Bogong Village, I drive through the small towns of Tawonga South and Mt. Beauty then head into the twist and turns up the mountain towards Falls Creek. At every sharp turn I change down gears, the world seems to slow down. Then just before I become frustrated with this continual changing of gears I turn off the main road and head down into The Village. A few days in Bogong and the amazing High Country can seem like a few weeks. It is comfortable here, relaxed, as I explore my new world and my new sound equipment. I took a slow walk through what once was another small village just like Bogong. Clover Arboretum used to be Lower Bogong Village. Hand built small stone walls terrace the mountainside. I walk up stairs to where a front door may have been, an avenue of moss covered flowering cherries and chestnut trees. Living ghost from a time well passed. The sound is mellow, I can hear the river calling up as it rushes into Lake Guy in the valley below and an occasional car rushes by on the way to catch the last of the snow up at Falls Creek. Underneath is a silent sound of something that once was as the little stone walls and terraces are reclaimed by the native bushland.

I have been lucky enough to stay here at the BCSC before this 2 week residency. I joined a Masterclass run by Philip earlier in the year. We took a sound walk around the lake and had the opportunity to experiment with some recordings. One of the most amazing things about Bogong Village is, in fact, its reason for being; Junction Dam. You can walk through the actual dam wall. The sound reflections it produces are spectacular! Not long after settling in to my room I head down to the lake, it is really full. The water is almost up to the top of the weird little island just offshore below the car park and gardens. I reorientate myself with the lake and walk through the dam wall taking the circuit track around and back to the carpark. The next morning I am doing a little testing and calibrating of my new equipment. I bought a Nagra LB 2 channel recorder and a stereo kit of DPA 4060’s. I am outside BCSC in the old school playground and I notice the river below as it starts to widen into Lake Guy. I am suddenly quite startled to see that the water level has dropped dramatically. Of course the lake is part of the Kiewa Valley Hydro Electric scheme and overnight Junction Dam had emptied three quarters of its water down stream into the Clover Power turbines! I pack up my equipment and head down to the lake to see the weird little island now a weird grassy hill on the mudflat bank. I clamber up to the top and record the light drizzle of rain with two home made contact mics. Next I’m off to the dam wall, I wonder as I walk there, if the reflective sounds inside will be any different. As I come down the stairs there is a musical sound of water dripping onto the metal walkway and handrails that take you into the dam. Here I set up my DPA 4060’s in AB stereo, about 40cm apart on the yellow handrail. The sounds are percussive pings and pongs hitting the metal, there is a frog down lower in the creek and there is water gently running somewhere sending a soft echo from the dam wall. About 3mins into the recording, I hear a drop of water make a direct hit on the little condenser mic. It sounds like a Berocca dropped into a glass of water, it slowly fizzes out.

Nobody lives in Bogong Village, people live in the small towns just down the mountain. Tawonga, Tawonga South and Mt. Beauty (which is not actually a mountain). Everybody knows about Bogong, the people I have met so far have stories about its hey-day. It had wonderful gardens, warms scones and the best sponge cakes you had tasted. I am interested in people, in their stories, I want to find out more about what they love about this area. They talk of difference and change and I am keen to investigate what that means. I have a local contact I met at the pub, he worked at Bogong for 8years. He knows and old cattleman who has lived all over the High Plains. We’ve organise a day for an afternoon cuppa and yarn. I plan a little hike up the mountain to some Hut ruins, I am excited to find the sounds and surprises Bogong has in store.