|Thank you for having me here to give this presentation on the Neil Davis Exhibition Centre concept.|
I commenced working on the project two years ago before I resigned as Mayor and I don't have a pecuniary interest in it. I am certainly keen to see the project to fruition.
When I started the project I wanted to promote Sorell and looked around at what we had on offer apart from being a service centre.
Over 300,000 visitors to the South East pass through Sorell every year. Sorell needs a draw card to give visitors a reason to stop and stay longer in the town.
Sorell lays claim to an Australian legend in Neil Davis, the combat photographer well known and respected world wide.
Neil spent most of his youth in Sorell, went to the Sorell School and played football for the local team.
I won't go too much into Neil's background as I am sure you would be aware of it. He filmed and reported on wars across Asia and in particular Vietnam.
From all accounts Neil was quite a lad, charismatic and acquiring a reputation for skill and luck.
One could say he was another Errol Flynn.
There is very little dedicated to Neil in Sorell except a gravel car park full of potholes.
I started thinking- what could we do to promote Neil, his life and works to make the locals and the wider community aware of this Australian legend.
Once I started speaking to people it all started falling into place and for this I was most grateful.I met a friend of Tim Boden who wrote "One Crowded Hour" about Neil's life.
I was given Tim's email address and we have been corresponding since then. He has offered me all his audio tapes of interviews with Neil and that got me thinking about a venue to portray the works of our Tasmanian icon.
Hick up!! Sorell is lacking in venues for permanent displays.
Then it came to me- the old carriage shed in Station Lane at the back of the town.
The Bellerive to Sorell railway was very much part of Sorell's history but ceased to operate in 1926.
The old carriage shed remains but in a dilapidated state.
I thought if I could get support to restore the old shed I could kill two birds with one stone. Resurrect the history of the rail and provide a venue to showcase the life of Neil Davis.
I put together a PowerPoint presentation and presented it to Council, community groups and Neil's family and the idea was well received.
Last year I invited some interested parties to be part of a working group. One of the members is an SBS video journalist whom some of you may know. David Brill.
We decided to make a video of the concept to gain world wide support for the project and possible funding.
I approached Michael Polley who was most supportive and in Michael fashion he managed to get me $5000 from the Premier's Discretionary Fund to produce a video.
We engaged a building designer and graphic designer and we now have a video that will soon go on You Tube and beamed around the world.
The project has already gained momentum. The ABC did a 7.30 report program on the concept a while back.
Many of Neil's family have been in touch offering memorabilia.
The Sorell School is also involved.
I am doing a presentation to the works committee of the Heritage Council tomorrow and I have others lined up.
I would like to thank Peter Woolford (former Primrose Sands RSL President) for suggesting Legacy members might wish to hear about the proposed Neil Davis Exhibition Centre.
I am patron of the Primrose Sands RSL.
|Video of proposal http://youtu.be/7N3baiA2ND4|
|Where to from here? Try to access funding. It is all going to take time.|
Screen Australia.$30,000 to make a feature film on Neil