Lights, camera, action in Laidley
LAIDLEY Pioneer Village and Museum transformed into a Sydney street from the 1830s for the filming of a movie about one of frontier Australia's most infamous acts of violence.
The team behind the indie feature film Myall Creek, produced by the BIG Movie Company, arrived in Laidley on Monday and started the first of five days of filming on Wednesday before moving on to shoot in other locations around Queensland.
It will be based on the massacre that occurred near Myall Creek Station in northern New South Wales in 1838, where close to 30 unarmed Aboriginals were killed in cold blood by a group of 11 stockmen.
Director and producer Brad Diebert spotted the pioneer village online and knew instantly it was what he had been looking for.
Volunteers at the village and locals will feature on the big screen with many being used as extras throughout the week.
"I found a perfect thing down here,” Mr Diebert said.
"The village couldn't have been (more helpful), everybody was just so helpful... I want to say a big thank-you to Laidley and the volunteers at the village because it couldn't have happened without them.”
Mr Diebert said, 180 years on from the massacre, it was important to recognise these bloodstained parts of Australia's past.
"I think it's a part of our history that gets ignored a lot,” Mr Diebert said.
"I don't think enough of these stories are being told, they sort of get washed away in our history.”
Although the callous killings were not out of place for the time, it is the aftermath of the massacre that cements its place in the history books.
After two trials, seven of the perpetrators were found guilty of murder and hanged, which was only the second time in Australian history white men were punished for the murder of Aboriginal people.
Despite large public support for the killers, perseverance from authorities and police brought the majority of them to justice for their crimes.
New South Wales Governor George Gipps demanded an investigation into the crime, which was carried out by Police Magistrate Edward Denny Day, and ordered a second trial after the accused were acquitted following the first.
"It's also good to say that, even back then in the day, there were people trying to make a difference,” he said.
Once the film is complete, there are plans for the premiere of the movie to be screened in Laidley.
Lorraine Seiler, who has volunteered at the village for 12 months, and husband Maurie took part in the filming as extras and donned the dress of the time.
She said it was exciting to be able to showcase the area to a whole new audience.
"We need all the publicity we can get, it really is a great museum,” Mrs Seiler said.