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Ben Hall steals More Gold!

Ben Hall steals More Gold!

An international web-based broadcast that involved short films, made by students from Central West schools, and themed around the activities of the infamous goldrush-era, bushranger Ben Hall and gang, has won the prestigious Museums and Galleries National Award (MAGNA) for Orange Regional Museum.

Devised and delivered by Orange filmmaker Vince Lovecchio and Bathurst children’s book Author Paul Stafford (working as The Project Zone), ‘Bigger than Ben Hall’ was broadcast live from Canowindra via videoconference to nearly one hundred schools in NSW and the USA. 

It featured a re-enactment of the gang’s notorious three-day ‘Siege of Canowindra’, with bushrangers on horseback, closing the main street of Canowindra and shepherding locals and visitors into the Royal Hotel. The short film festival, anchored live by student stars and bushranger Author and Historian Craig Lawler, followed a Welcome to Country by Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Esther Cutmore. 

“The project grew out of a concept program we created called History Here, which helps students identify, research, script and film events from their local history,” said Paul Stafford. “Many participating schools wanted to cover their bushranger activity, so we decided to theme it around the Ben Hall gang’s activities.”

“This project represents a major collaboration with the Department of Education to create a special, one-off broadcast for the last day of school, 2018. They provided the web-platform, equipment, personnel, and tech support, which enabled us to broadcast internationally,” said Stafford.

“Bigger than Ben Hall took widespread community involvement,
massive in-kind support and goodwill - and lots of fake beards.”

“The participating schools were stoked – it involved lots of strong learning outcomes like writing and research, helped students contextualise, own and re-interpret their local history, and embedded STEM elements like green-screening and international web-based content delivery. Bigger than Ben Hall took widespread community involvement, massive in-kind support and goodwill - and lots of fake beards.”

The Project Zone’s next tranche of History Here films are currently in production, and feature stories that celebrate Aboriginal – Wiradjuri history, our famous poets and writers, migrant stories, and the extraordinary woman of our region. These include Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School’s account of the life of Australia’s first Victoria Cross recipient (and two-times Mayor of Orange) Sir Neville Howse, and a re-interpretation of the classic Banjo Paterson poem, A Bush Christening, by Glenroi Public School.

To watch the 2019 MAGNA award-winning broadcast, search for Ben Hall Christmas Special on YouTube.  For more information please visit www.theprojectzone.com.au

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