Exhibition showcases Shepparton’s changing face

By John Lewis

Images from Shepparton’s past are being used to herald the city’s future at a fascinating exhibition in its final days at the Mechanics Institute on Wyndham St.

The Changing Face of Shepparton features reproductions of more than 50 photographs of Shepparton from its beginnings as a 19th Century river crossing town through to the modernising era of the 1970s.

The black and white photographs from Geoff Allemand’s Lost Shepparton collection have been printed on grained paper as scrolls to be sold as a fundraiser for the Shepparton Art Museum Foundation.

The exhibition has been curated by Bush Lit founder and retired J Furphy and Sons managing director Andrew Furphy, a keen amateur historian and literary heritage enthusiast.

The exhibition was opened on Friday last week with readings of Henry Lawson poetry, the screening of two Bush Lit Production short films, and an address by Shepparton-born author Anson Cameron.

The reproduced photos include striking examples of the Shepparton district’s past, including an image of the Undera Ladies Gun Club from 1912, Butter Factory workers, Fryers St School, a Ford car parked outside a Wyndham St newsagency in the 1920s, and a 1938 Centenary Parade, including a herd of sheep being driven down Wyndham St.

Mr Head said the prints were for sale and priced from $80 up to $200 which would go towards the SAM Foundation target of $7million for the new building, which is under construction on the southern end of Victoria Park Lake.

Mr Head said the exhibition had particular significance for the new SAM building.

‘‘A lot of our heritage has disappeared, and we are now in a new phase of change which includes the new SAM building, the new court house, our new schools and hospital,’’ he said.

‘‘We believe the new SAM will be an example of the changing face of Shepparton well into the next century,’’ he said.

He said foundation board members had been working hard to attract philanthropic funding, and were now looking towards the local community for support.

He said the foundation was on target to meet its $7million build target, with $6million already collected.

Mr Head said Kane Constructions was on target to complete the new five-storey building by December 2020.

The photographs from Changing Face of Shepparton can be viewed at the Mechanics Institute at 227 Wyndham St, Shepparton from 4pm to 6pm today and tomorrow, and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.