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Rare Mooroopna movie found

by
June 20, 2017

Archivists uncovered an old film all about the Goulburn Valley in the 1960s.

The final copy of a rare film which was made to promote Mooroopna and the Goulburn Valley to the world has been saved.

Archivists at Victoria’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image discovered what was believed to be the last copy of the short film A Place Called Mooroopna.

The 18-minute film is about a Scotsman who immigrates to Melbourne, before he tires of the city lifestyle and relocates to Mooroopna to work at the Ardmona factory.

Cheesy and badly acted, but not without a certain kitschy charm, the odd film showcases the Goulburn Valley in the swinging ’60s as thousands of ‘£10 poms’ were moving Down Under.

ACMI collections and access manager Nick Richardson said the film, which was made in 1968, came close to being lost forever until the centre received a phone call.

‘‘We were contacted by the Scottish guy who appeared in the film because he wanted to get a copy to show at his 70th birthday,’’ Mr Richardson said.

He found a 16mm film in the centre’s extensive archives, which was the last known copy in Australia, and digitised it to make sure it would not be lost.

If the old film was left untouched, he estimated it could have degraded completely in a few years due to the chemical decay which eats the film.

‘‘It’s more commonly called ‘vinegar syndrome’, so as more film deteriorates we are racing against the clock,’’ he said.

The film features a bizarre mix of detailed facts about the Goulburn Valley’s agriculture industry, combined with the optimistic monologue of a young Scotsman on the search for love.

The film was produced for Ardmona Fruit, which eventually merged with SPC.

‘‘It’s daggy but it’s got a type of hipster hilarity value,’’ Mr Richardson said.

He was not sure exactly where the film would have been shown, but he suspected it was aired to newly-arrived migrants to encourage them to work in the agriculture industry.

‘‘It reveals something about Australian multiculturalism and the value of employment in the regions,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a bit of fun and we can laugh at it, but we can also be informed.’’

Although the film and its stars did not win any Oscars, its lead star did find fame in another area.

Richard Thorp became a world-renowned architect and is most well known in Australia as one of the lead architects behind Parliament House in Canberra.

For anyone brave enough to watch the entire film, it’s available for viewing on sheppnews.com.au

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