It is hard to imagine Warrnambool without the FJ’s Silver Ball on the skyline, but just a few years ago its future was in jeopardy.
Full of rust and a public safety concern, the ball was going to be taken down unless someone took responsibility for looking after it.
Back in 2014 when Tonia Wilcox started up the Save the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & Gardens Facebook page, she had no way to knowing what a following and impact the page would have.
It was through this Facebook page that the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & factory was bought and spared from a demolishment by neglect. It was also through this Facebook page that an outpouring of public love for the Silver Ball was expressed, along with stories of the FJ’s factory in its heyday.
Those stories, videos and photos shared on the Facebook page inspired the FJ’s community stories project and the development of a website to host those stories. It also inspired the creation of this 30 min documentary titled ‘Keeping the Ball in the air.’
In a world where social media gets so much bad press, the FJs campaign story is a great example of how social media can work effectively; how it can create social change and how it can connect people and create community.
There are plenty of people owed thanks to the telling of this story. As the filmmaker, I’d like to acknowledge that the film was made with crowd-sourced media. I’d like to thank all the people who made this film possible through contributing their photos, videos, newspaper clippings, artwork images and documentary memorabilia.
I took some time off from my business in 2016 to enjoy a stint back at the ABC in the role of ABC Open Producer (south west Victoria). ABC Open is a project that works with regional Australians to create great videos, photos and written stories to share on the ABC. The stories produced are shared on ABC radio, web and TV. It’s a great opportunity for people in regional areas to have their voices heard. And for me, it gives me great personal satisfaction to share stories from my hometown and region. Here are some of my favourite stories I created during my 3-month secondment.
What is The Foyer? Is it a drug rehabilitation centre? Is it a women’s crisis refuge? Is it a place for ‘really naughty kids’?
These are some of the questions floating around in the community and the reason why the young residents of The Foyer decided to make a film to educate the community. They were sick of people having the wrong idea about them and where they live.
The ‘well-being’ group formed by Foyer residents decided creating a film might be the best way to get their message across. And so, I was invited to work alongside young residents of The Foyer in Warrnambool to create a short documentary about their home. We called the film ‘Inside The Foyer’ because the film invites viewers to take a look inside and see for themselves what The Foyer is. It does this by physically showing viewers the inside of the building and by introducing viewers to some of the residents who live there (they’re not so scary afterall).
I mentored a handful of residents and staff through the process of filming and editing the film. The residents, with support from staff, independently filmed all the overlay footage predominantly on their camera phones.
The film was launched in November 2015 at a public screening at Brophy and Family Youth Services. The young residents believe the film has served its purpose and has had a positive impact in dis-spelling some of misguided beliefs.
What is The Foyer?
The Foyer is run by Brophy and Family Youth Services. It is supported independent living accommodation for young people aged between 16-25 who can live there for up to 2 years. The residents receive support to develop their independent living skills and focus on their education and employment pathways. The young people at the Foyer are responsible for managing their own self-contained units and the project is supported by staff 24/7. The Foyer’s motto is “Live, Learn and Earn” and to be eligible for a tenancy you must be experiencing housing difficulties and be motivated to study or work.