On Saturday 4 February 2023, Werribee’s Wyndham Cultural Centre will host the launch of the State Research Farm project with a film screening and a book collection of personal memoirs, Out on the Farm.
Past residents, workers and families connected to the State Research Farm (SRF) in Werribee shared many stories and photos as part of the research project to capture the never before told social history of the community once living and working on the SRF, through interviews and recorded oral histories, memoirs, images and film.
Our work celebrates the Farm’s 110th birthday in September 2022. Little of this social history has been recorded, making it vital to capture before the stories held in the memories of past residents, workers and their families are lost forever.
We established the State Research Farm Project Facebook and State Research Farm Instagram pages at the project’s inception and shared posts about the SRF weekly. These helped find past residents and workers and their families for oral history interviews, memoirs and images.
Our work assists in preserving and celebrating the SRF’s scientific and industrial heritage by establishing a repository of resources for future research, education and use. It provides a foundation for further projects to be undertaken in research and interpretation, such as in community and public art, creative writing, performance, digital and static interpretations, augmented reality and other projects, and on industrial heritage interpretation more broadly in Australia and internationally.
It offers the chance for a wide audience to learn about the history of the SRF and the community once living and working on site, particularly how it thrived as a small community away from Werribee’s main population. These types of communities are non-renewable and are capable of providing immeasurable insights into how they thrived alongside the industries they served. They can teach us much about the social and economic development of the past, and the challenges and evolution these communities underwent. This not only assists in the conservation of the SRF’s heritage, it also provides a legacy of learnings into the belonging and social cohesion that exists within such communities, learnings that are vital for future sustainable urban development.
The research project has been undertaken by a strong project team. The research project was developed by Dr Monika Schott and is managed in collaboration with Arts Assist, with the support of a small, dedicated team, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and Wyndham City Council. Plans also exist to collaborate on further works, including with Deakin University.
Our project provides a springboard that raises the profile of the SRF and the preservation of the heritage listed “H” buildings located on the site on Sneydes Road, Werribee. There is enormous potential for the development of this centrally located site as a creative, community, historical and tourism space.
Next stage works include archival development of materials collected, and further interpretation, documentation and writing of the SRF’s social history.
Out on the Farm short film
Join us online for the live premier screening of the new short film and launch of the book collection of personal memoirs, Out on the Farm. The live stream will take place on Facebook live on Saturday 4 February 2023 from 2pm (AEST).
To view the event live, click here.
Out on the Farm collection of memoirs
Out on the Farm is a collection of memoirs giving a glimpse into the history, personalities and science of the SRF. Over 30 past residents, workers and families connected to the SRF wrote the collection of memoirs and shared photographs from their private collections.
Out on the Farm
Edited by Dr Monika Schott
First published in Australia 2023
Download a copy of the Out on the Farm order form here.
Read the full media release here.
This project is proudly supported by Arts Assist and Wyndham City.