- Operations Director: Madelynne Cornish
- Artistic Director: Philip Samartzis
- Design + Development: Public Office
- PO Box 456, Mount Beauty, 3699,
- EMAIL / FB / TW / IN
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
- ISBN 0-646-36226-7. Published 1998
01. Flow (2013) 31’11
The Australian Alps produces 80% of Australia’s fresh water supply yet only comprises one percent of its landmass. While the bulk of it is designated as a national park, the Australian Alps are also the site of quite complex industrial and commercial enterprises including alpine resorts and hydroelectric power schemes. Hydroelectricity is posited as a sustainable source of renewable energy. Through massive earthworks and complex technical infrastructure, pressurized water is mobilized to generate the electricity required to power the everyday spaces that we inhabit. Flow focuses on the range of infrastructure used to exploit the gravitational force of falling or flowing water including turbines, pumps, substations, dams and aqueducts, and the manner in which they inhabit the natural environment.
First developed in the 1930s, the Kiewa hydroelectric scheme is the first of its kind, and the second largest overall in mainland Australia. Since its inception it has evolved to comprise four power stations and attendant infrastructure including dams, rail sidings, substations and networks of tunnels and aqueducts for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. The scheme begins at an altitude of 1800 meters at Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs where snowmelt is periodically released into an interlinked series of power stations and dams distributed along the Kiewa Valley starting with McKay Creek and followed by Bogong and Clover, concluding with the West Kiewa power station at the foot of the mountains. The composition traces the containment and circulation of water through the series of linked power stations, before its eventual release into the Kiewa River, a major tributary of the Murray River.
Flow was originally commissioned by Frequency OZ as part of the Transmuted Signal series aired on Kunstradio ORF Austria.
Assistant Sound Recordist: Madelynne Cornish
02. Extraction (2008) 22’26
Philip Samartzis and Michael Vorfeld
Extraction is a collaborative composition with Berlin light artist and musician Michael Vorfeld focusing on the industrial processes required to generate the energy to power a light bulb. The composition encompasses a breadth of field recordings from the brown coal mines and power stations of the Latrobe Valley in the South East Gippsland region of Victoria. The recordings chart carbon fuel production by focusing on the coal dredgers working the open-cut mines and the infrastructure that transports and processes the coal, which drive the turbines that generate power. The composition commences with the powerful sounds of a Krupp dredger gouging coal from the Loy Yang open-cut coal mine. It then charts the movement of coal by transport conveyors to the raw coal bunker and then onto the pulverizing fuel mills that supply the boiler furnace. Other sounds include a turbo generation plant incorporating four steam turbine generator units, boilers, cooling water systems and towers, electrical substations, transformers and high tension power lines. The field recordings are supplemented by improvised performances by Michael using various light bulbs and actuating electric devices (relays, switches, dimmers, flashers and others). The changes in the light intensity, and the rhythms of the flickering and pulsing lights are directly transformed into a microcosmic world of aural activity to extend the composition from purely broadband industrial noise to performed gestures of smaller, more focused sound events.