- Operations Director: Madelynne Cornish
- Artistic Director: Philip Samartzis
- Design + Development: Public Office
- PO Box 456, Mount Beauty, 3699,
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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
- ISBN 0-646-36226-7. Published 1998
Electricity: Watts the story
In conjunction with Bogong Electric, the Kiewa Valley Historical Society’s Exhibition “Electricity: Watts the Story” is being held at the Mt Beauty Visitor Information Centre 9am – 5 pm daily. It focuses on the Kiewa Hydro Electric Scheme displaying items used by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria during construction days and a collection of photos.
Electricity: Watts the Story
A new Hydro Electricity scheme was first suggested to the Victorian Government in 1911. The Bogong High Plains with its surrounding areas was suggested as a suitable place, due to its rainfall and its winter snow melt. Thus the Kiewa Hydro scheme created a new electricity supply for Victoria.
The townships of Mt Beauty and Bogong Village were established in the early 1930’s and 1940’s by the State Electricity Commission (S.E.C) for the workers and their families during the construction of the Kiewa Hydro Electric scheme. Three original Hydro Power Stations, Clover, West Kiewa, and Mackay Creek Stations, along with the new AGL Bogong Power Station, supply enough energy to give electricity to 122,000 homes, which is 3% of the Victorian grid.
This exhibition has three individual displays which show the technical side of the early days of the Kiewa Scheme. They highlight electricity measuring equipment, insulators, and rock samples taken from the hydro sites. A striking photo gallery, by Marion Sharman, adds to this technical story. Another display tells some social history of the workers from Bogong village, along with photos taken during the construction. All these artefacts combine to tell the story of how electricity was generated by the Kiewa Scheme.
The exhibition also includes the following works by Michael Vorfeld.
LEUCHTSTOFF (Luminescent Substance)
(16mm, 2003, Germany, b & w, 13 min)
Actress: Fine Kwiatkowski
Photography: Michael Vorfeld, Editing: Sala Deinema
Music: Michael Vorfeld
Sound: Michael Walz
Made in a black box, LEUCHTSTOFF shows different sources of light in relation to a human body. Opposite to most films, where the luminous sources are not visible, here the viewer can see the illuminants. Becoming dominant objects in the movie all these different lights create a visual world of continuously changing appearances of the actress. What we see are the light sources themselves and what the light does with the visual perception of the actress’ body moving with and around the lights.
As a reference to the images the music for the film is made out of electricity-noises but also uses various percussion sounds. Like the images also the sound follows the idea of short sequences whilst still sustaining an autonomic layer acting independently from the visuals.
Incandescent lamp photo-graphics
Michael Vorfeld is a visual artist and musician based in Berlin who creates installations and performances with light and sound and also works with photography and film. He plays percussion and self-designed string instruments and realises electro-acoustic sound pieces. He is active in the field of experimental music, improvised music and sound art and is often involved in site-specific art projects.
Michael’s participation in Bogong ELECTRIC is supported by the Institute of Foreign Affairs – Berlin. Artworks courtesy of the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture, and Dave Brown.