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.