Back Roads, Series 5, Ep 5 – Kulin, WA
Monday 15 July 8.00pm
Quirky horse-shaped sculptures, made out of 44 gallon drums, make up the ‘Tin Horse Highway’ which greets you as you drive into Kulin, 280 kilometres from Perth. This is one of the many unusual sights you will see around Kulin, which has a population of less than 400 people. The other is an 18-metre high giant waterslide. Not bad for this small country town which was in danger of disappearing in the 1990s.
“There was no cavalry coming over the hill to save Kulin when these little towns were starting to die,” according to Kulin Shire President, Barry West.
A targeted effort by the local community to save their town, combined with an extraordinary gift from a couple of long-time residents, has helped transform the community.
When they died, Phil and Kath Freebairn left more than a million dollars to their beloved town to be dedicated to sport. As well as the giant slide, the generous bequest helped build the Freebairn Recreation Centre, which has facilities that rival those in the city.
It’s also enabled people like Tanya Dupagne, the founder of Camp Kulin, to move to the
area and start a camp for a wide range of children from refugees to kids preparing for life at boardng school. Her work is so successful she was voted Australian Rural Woman of the Year – and Tanya reckons she couldn’t have done it anywhere else.
“I think the big thing about Kulin has been the community spirit that’s here and the way everyone’s willing to chip in and lend a hand,” says Tanya. “If we need food for morning and afternoon teas, or bus drivers or anything like that everyone’s always willing to pitch in and I think that’s been really important for the program. I don’t think it would have actually worked if we’d done it in the city.”
The community hasn’t rested on its laurels. They continue to raise money for local projects. The biggest fundraising - and social - day of the year is the Kulin Bush Races.
In the 24 years the races have been going they’ve raised around one million dollars, which is ploughed back into community projects.
Kulin – a testament to generosity of spirit.
Back Roads, Series 5, Ep 6 – Fish Creek, Vic
Monday 22 July at 8:00pm
A whimsical town straight from a storybook!
This creative little town, near the southernmost tip of Australia’s mainland, really does look like it’s been taken straight off the pages of a story book.
It’s home to children’s book authors and illustrators, world-renowned botanical artists, musicians and sculptors.
Cherished Australian children’s author Alison Lester grew up here on a farm by the sea. The landscapes, characters and animals of her childhood have made their way into her work. Lester tells Back Roads host Heather Ewart, the setting was the inspiration for one of her most famous books ‘Magic Beach’.
Her friend, author and illustrator Roland Harvey has recently moved his gallery into the main street.
Fish Creek is a place where big life changes can be made.
Local woman Amelia Bright used to make prosthetic limbs for humans. Now she’s raising heritage-breed pigs and living off-grid.
Like many story books, Fish Creek does have a dark chapter. Heather Ewart finds out about the mystery of the ‘Lady of the Swamp’ who vanished in the 1950’s. Never to be seen again.
You’ll also meet whimsical couple Fiona Mottram and Ross West who ride Penny Farthing bicycles and tend to a menagerie of donkeys, mules and one-eyed dogs.
There’s one event that unites this eclectic community – the Tea Cosy Festival! Whatever is in the water in this creative town, we want some.
Back Roads, Series 5, Ep 7 – Flinders Ranges, SA
Monday 29 July at 8:00pm
THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT
While Heather Ewart’s off in another part of the country, her colleague, former ABC foreign correspondent and recently announced new co-host of ABC News Breakfast, Lisa Millar presents this episode.
As she heads towards the Flinders Ranges, Lisa looks forward to capturing the spirit of adventure which characterised her Prussian ancestors who migrated to South Australia in the mid-1800s.
She encounters Phil Mellors, an enthusiast who recaptures for Lisa, the romance of the steam age. She discovers an historic town with a rich film history and meets Susan Pearl, a modern-day pioneer who shines a light on a dark corner of history.
In the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, archaeologist and traditional owner, Mick McKenzie, guides Lisa to The Beginning, the cradle of Adnymathanha creation and a singular, geographical phenomenon.
Further north, in the majestic surrounds of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, Doug Sprigg and Vicki Wilson launch Lisa into galaxies far, far away and initiate her love affair with the spectacularly coloured yellow-footed rock wallaby.
Towards the end of her journey, Lisa ponders the meaning of life on Nilpena Station, where owner Ross Fargher and two leading palaeontologists are uncovering a prehistoric seabed, 550 million years old.
From Quorn to Parachilna, via Wilpena Pound, Blinman, Arkaroola and Nilpena, some of the most inspiring outback stories unfold in the midst of the grandeur that is the Flinders Ranges.
Back Roads S5 - Episode 8: RIVERINA, NSW
Monday 5 August at 8:00pm
Famously one of the flattest places on earth, the Hay Plains have been considered dull, dusty and even “hell”! That doesn’t sound like a place where Heather Ewart could find the tallest pub bar in the Southern Hemisphere.