Tully's Big Dreamers reveal Australian strengths in ABC giant gumboot

November 24, 2008
Tully's Big Dreamers reveal Australian strengths in ABC giant gumboot

On Thursday at 9.30pm the Australian Broadcasting Commission will bring a new reality to insightful TV on ABC1 with a kick-off from a Big Gumboot.

Camille Hardman spent nine months in her mother's home town Tully, Queensland and used her camera to catch the essence of extra-ordinary Australians.

Her family connections allowed her local acceptance in a tight community. That favor of family-rite fills Big Dreamers with real Tully patriots who fight for their sugar town's survival with a Big Golden Gumboot Dream.

These are rural people, often escapees from something, laconic, enduring, funny, prickly, partisan and capable of amazing feats.

They so accept urban Camille Hardman they seem to assume that her camera is not there. As Camille says perhaps they never expected Big Dreamers would reveal them in all their strengths and weakness as Tully's quirky ambassadors.

Tully had sugar, but Brazil flooded the world market and that left Tully's other claim to fame 7.98metres of rain in 1950.

So Ron Hunt and his Rotary Club built the World's Biggest Gumboot to landmark Tully with a tourist icon. Big Everything and there is a lot of it about throughout Australia, is amateur-built, Camille says.

Cost dictates and Big Dreamers are essential for something like Tully's mighty gumboot.

Artist Bryan Newell finds himself commissioned by Ron to build the boot and humour sets in as Tully rains on his parade. Not just the heavens come to try Ron and Bryan there is the matter of the frog.

It is big too and a result of the efforts of Rotarian Roger Chandler who is big on green tree frogs.

Bryan Newell considers putting  the boot in
Bryan Newell considers putting the boot in

Roger's frog is to climb the boot and it sets Ron and Bryan to climb the wall as the frog puts its foot in the boot so to speak.

Debate of frog shape and climbing postures turn the extremely over deadline boot building saga into a rock and hard place situation for Bryan Newell. Camille's camera gets under the skin of a unique older Australian culture.

The result is comic, historic and so North Queensland. She captures attitudes which express Australia. A relieved Ron Hunt, success near, gives it straight to her lense - barbecue sausages and cold beers are his need, but don't put that camera in my face later; I will be talking in Braille.

Editor's Note: Here are some Information Articles from the GoSee Library which will help with touring in Queensland.

Bryan Newell prepares for gumboot weather
Bryan Newell prepares for gumboot weather