Andrew Gee MP Parliamentary Speech + the CORRIDOR project amended speech …….

Amended transcript as original we have requested to be amended for public record as attributes and locations needed correction.
the CORRIDOR project -
Big Little Histories of Canowindra notes....30.10.2018

Mr GEE (Calare) (12:45): On the weekend, I had the privilege of attending an extraordinary event —the Big Little Histories Of Canowindra. It was absolutely spectacular. Organised by the CORRIDOR Project through Phoebe Cowdery, Dylan Gower and their team, including lead curator and artist Craig Walsh the Big Little Histories Of Canowindra tells local stories and combines four significant local histories, Devonian, First Nation, Agricultural and Bushranger.

During 2015 to 2018, the communities of the Central West, including farmers, graziers and Indigenous Australians from around Canowindra, shared their stories with the Corridor Project, allowing a team to produce a significant compilation of documented local oral histories. These stories were then told through multi art form experiences at various sites along Gaskill Street and throughout the rail precinct in Canowindra.

One of the many highlights of the event for me was the silos being lit up with animations to give them the appearance of giant aquariums, housing some of Canowindra's earliest residents such as the Grossi and the Mandageria Fairfaxi, which were fish who lived in the area 360 million to 370 million years ago. Canowindra is famous for its fossils. With the fish swimming in the silos above, there were projections down below of local farmers telling their stories of harvests and what life was like for them in Canowindra many decades ago.

The event was a triumph. It breathed new life into Canowindra's railway precinct and is hopefully just the beginning of a new era for that precinct and area. The event was created by the Corridor Project and lead curator of projection design + content Craig Walsh and leaves a legacy of innovative material for Canowindra, Cowra and Grenfell historical societies, the Ages of Fishes Museum, Blind Freddy's Bushranger Tours and the National Film and Sound Archive here in Canberra.

We're lucky to have some extraordinarily talented people living in our region, and the Big Little Histories of Canowindra showcased their talents beautifully. I would like to make mention of them here in the chamber today. They are, of course, Dylan Gower and Phoebe Cowdery, whose vision it was to bring this project to life many years ago.

Lead curators were Craig Walsh - projection design + content, Phoebe Cowdery project curation, and curators Wiradjuri artist Aleisha Londsdale from the Mudgee area; Craig Lawler, Canowindra's very own bushranger expert; and Choreographer Alison Plevey.

Site design was by Dylan Gower, Craig Walsh and David Etty. Production of booklet design Genevieve Blanchett. Welcome and Choreography with the Wagambirra Dance Group was created by Beatrice Murray and Alison Plevey. And music was performed and devised by Millthorpe's Chloe and Jason Roweth, and Canowindra’s Nerida Cuddy, Oli Statham, Cowra’s Maryann Wright, Pascale Stendell, John Bourke and Will Bennett. I also need to mention the contributing artists: Heather Vallance, Kate Barclay, David Isbester, Beatrice Murray, Matt Davies, Genevieve Carroll, Bill Moseley, Mila Gower, Rebecca Dowling, John Daly, Norm Palazzi, Larry Walsh, Claire Liversidge and Lilly Wright.

The people who contributed to the oral histories were Craig Walsh, Phoebe Cowdery, Julia Andrews, John Daly, Anthony Plevey, Kate Barclay, Steve Thomasson, Patrick Nolan, and Shearers Ballet films Caitlin Welch.

The volunteers were Anna Stranger, Charlotte Carroll, Jackie Yeo, Jo Collings, Gerade McGill, Catherine Bennett, Patrick + Sue Rahilly, Carly Brown. There were many people who contributed to the videos, who told their local stories and local histories, which were projected on the screens for everyone to see.

Harold Balcombe, who is a very good friend of mine, was one of them, along with his wife, Dorothy. They were just two of the featured identities. It was beautifully presented. I would also like to mention the councillors who were there on the evening: Deputy Mayor of Cabonne, Councillor Anthony Durkin; Councillor Cheryl Newsom; Weddin Councillor Carly Brown; Cowra Councillor Peter Wright; Cabonne Councillor Jenny Weaver. I should also mention the Parliamentary Secretary for Western New South Wales, Rick Colless.

One of the reasons that people move to country areas is our vibrant art scene, and the CORRIDOR project and the revitalisation of the railway precinct is, hopefully, is going to be the start of a new era for the Canowindra region, in terms of arts projects. It was an extraordinary effort and I don't think the area has seen anything like this before. It is very audacious in what it hopes to achieve, but you have very committed, talented artists who are just going to be building on this. So, to everyone who made the event such a success, I offer my congratulations. It was a triumph.

181009_BLHOC_A5V Booklet_FINAL DRAFT_R (dragged) 1.jpg

A multi art-form event that interweaves four significant local histories, including Devonian, First Nation, Agricultural, and Bushranger. These histories will be linked through a community event whilst activating one of Canowindra’s most significant historical precincts.

Site specific works include multimedia projections, performance and visual art, and Indigenous language soundscapes. The event will be staged as a non linear installation with performance and visual works exhibited at the Canowindra Rail Precinct, including poster designs by Craig Lawler located in Gaskill street.

During 2015 - 2018 Canowindra, Cowra and Grenfell communities have generously shared their stories, leading to the creative team producing a significant compilation of documented, local oral histories, reflecting a rich variety of viewpoints. Community participation is central to both the making and experiencing of this production.

This event will create a legacy of innovative material developed for public interest for the Canowindra, Cowra, Grenfell Historical Societies and Museums, Age of Fishes Museum, Blind Freddies Bushranger tours and National Sound Archives Canberra.

Dylan Gower Director of the CORRIDOR project said the “Office of Environment and Heritage - Heritage Near Me, and Create NSW grants will provide a dynamic example of how regional railway infrastructure can be repurposed as part of a Master-plan currently developed for the precinct. This event will bring new audiences and creative excellence to the Central West.”


Over thirty oral histories involving farmers, agricultural experts and retired shearers in the Central West NSW,  were produced by the CORRIDOR project as part of the development the SILOS project and Shearers Ballet between 2015-2017.  These interviews will become a legacy of oral history to be shared with the Canowindra, Cowra and Grenfell historical museum societies and National Sound Archives ACT. The production team included Craig Walsh, Alison Plevey, Patrick Nolan, Phoebe Cowdery, Julia Andrews, Kate Barclay, Scott Saunders, John Daley, Anthony Plevey and all the generous interviewees. Refer to site map to view excerpts of interviews as projections.

Craig Walsh's multi-site projections will be presented at the Canowindra railway precinct, with oral stories, and historical imagery. A choreographed agricultural based dance 3 PLY led by Alison Plevey, with collaboration by artist Phoebe Cowdery, and musician Will Bennett will accompany the projections.


Community historian Craig Lawler from Blind Freddies Bushranger tours has spent the past twelve years immersed in the history of local bushrangers. Excursions taken over many years to historical sites associated with the likes of Frank Gardiner, Sir Frederick Pottinger, Johnny Gilbert and Ben Hall have furnished Craig with an unparalleled knowledge in this field, and a depth of understanding of the complex and flawed characters of both the bushrangers and their counterparts in the police force. For Big Little Histories of Canowindra Craig will display an engaging series of projected monologues (recorded by Craig Walsh and Steve Thomasson) to illuminate the tales of these local legends.

First nation

"Wiradjuri country is the largest traditional language group in New South Wales. Wiradjuri people remain connected to their heritage and spirituality through language, song, dance, art and cultural ceremonies and strong family connections.  Traditional customs to welcome visitors onto Country have been a part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years. Permission was required before the entering to ensure the visitors had safe passage and protection on their journey.” Beatrice Murray - Wiradjuri Choreographer and leader of the Wagambirri Dancers. 

Wiradjuri artist Aleisha Lonsdale’s sound installation “Evolving” reflects on the past, present and future presence of First Nations people and with this work she celebrates strength, presence and continued connection to culture and country.

devonian fossil

Canowindra is home to 360 million year old fish fossils, exhibited at the Age of Fishes Museum.  Sir David Attenborough visited Canowindra in 2013 and declared the fossils world class specimens. These fossils are predominately two kinds of unusual armoured fishes, which belong to a long extinct group of placoderms. They include the Sarcopterygians: Canowindra Grossi, Mandageria, Cabonnichthys, Gooloogongia and Soederberghia, a lungfish.

For Big Little Histories of Canowindra, artist Craig Walsh will build on his existing relationship with Age of Fishes Museum to produce a second animation involving the Mandageria Fairfaxi- the NSW State fossil fish, and the Grossi. These ethereal animated fishes will make their appearance in an unlikely location within the Rail Precinct.


Lead Curators: Craig Walsh + Phoebe Cowdery

Curators: Aleshia Lonsdale + Craig Lawler + Alison Plevey

Choreography: Alison Plevey + Beatrice Murray

Music: Live at site: Chloe & Jason Roweth + Nerida Cuddy + Shearers Ballet pre-recorded as part of films: Mary-ann Wright, Pascale Stendell, John Bourke, Will Bennett, Oli Statham.

Site Design/logistics: Dylan Gower + Genevieve Blanchett

Local contributing visual & performance artists + designers include Heather Vallance, Kate Barclay, David Isbester, Phoebe Cowdery, Aleshia Lonsdale, Beatrice Murray + welcome dance program, Rebecca Dowling, Genevieve Carroll, Dylan Gower, Bill Moseley, John Daly, Norm Palazzi, Larry Walsh, Matt Davies, Claire Liversidge, Mila Gower,  Lilly Wright.

Oral Histories: Julia Andrews, Kate Barclay, Phoebe Cowdery, John Daly, Alison Plevey,  Patrick Nolan, Craig Walsh

Thanks to our Partners and Supporters: Office of Environment and Heritage - Heritage Near Me, Create NSW, Arts Out West, Cabonne Council, Canowindra Historical Society and Museum, Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, Cowra, Grenfell communities. stories, heritage sites, creative collaboration, experimental arts and community events.


Proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Create NSW and Heritage Near Me.

the bushrangers jubilee
various size thrown clay flaggons with text
’there was high jinks in Canowindra’