West Wyalong Movies’ slogan ‘Bringing local history to life’ captures the essence of Principal and producer Ross Harmer’s passion to capture and share local history from Australian country towns.
What started out as an interest for Ross - a West Wyalong farmer and history buff, has become a significant part of his everyday life. A dedicated supporter of local communities, Ross has personally funded West Wyalong Movies and produced the documentaries as a way of “using our heritage to preserve our heritage.”
I think it’s important to embrace our heritage and preserve the great living history archive by sharing these uniquely Australian stories of how we conquered our environment in rural areas.
West Wyalong Movies’ first two productions West Wyalong Movies released in 2008, and West Wyalong Movies 2 released in 2010, recount stories from West Wyalong and South West NSW and the district’s sometimes wild past - in beef, then gold, then wheat and sheep. More than 4500 copies have been sold, with the majority of proceeds (in excess of $70,000) being channelled into improvements to the West Wyalong Showground. The release of Tractors, Trains, Headers & Hay in September 2012 marks the milestone of three West Wyalong Movies productions in four years. Tractors, Trains, Headers & Hay isa brief account of the evolution of machinery in the Australian wheat belt. It is educational, entertaining and the first of its kind.
According to Ross, “It is a milestone in rural history to capture how Australia at one stage was the world leader in agricultural machinery technology, and to show in video and pictures the evolution of that machinery to modern day.
Through the sale of DVDs West Wyalong Movies has also proudly supported the Griffith Show Society, Ungarie Show Society, West Wyalong Historical Society, The West Wyalong Family History Group, Temora Education Fund and Central Hope Cutters Red Dirt Run.
Whilst the focus of the DVDs has primarily been on South West NSW, the stories being shared could have come from anywhere across the wheat belt. The DVDs have sold near and far because people everywhere can relate to them, including city folk with country relatives.
Recently adding the 4th DVD to the collection in April 2013, "When the News was Local, The Wyalong Reels". These stories were shot by Ken Gibson from West Wyalong’s Bland Studios. He was a professional cameraman who captured the history of this part of the world for many years. This DVD captures precious footage of every major happening in the Wyalong district between the years of 1975 to 1979, including significant developments, prominent locals as well as school and theatrical performances.
With many projects underway Ross hopes the third in the West Wyalong Movie series (title to be confirmed) will be released in November 2013. This production will be the most sophisticated of the series with new stories, more special effects and presenters including former Miss World Caroline Pemberton. Also in 2013 the “When the News was Local” series will grow showcasing local news stories and events from areas such as Young and Temora.