Ironic, isn’t it? Looking at the way events unfolded, it’s more than likely that the We like our little town the way it is, thank you very much crowd played a substantial role in preventing that particular project from coming to fruition, and, at the same time created a situation where their nice little town will never be the same again....
So there are a whole number of factors that happened to coincide to bring the movie to town.
As the old saying goes, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
Although it was a disaster at the time, without the closure of the meatworks, we wouldn’t have seen local business community get its act together and go out looking for projects that would kick things along.
In the wake of the closure, the search for people who were willing to commit money to projects in the town meant that we had outside capital coming in at a time when property prices were down, so one guy with a bit of vision was able to buy up several major sites around town.
Of course, in hindsight, he probably got them at bargain basement prices, but at least the guy was willing to spend the money.
If the prices had been a little higher, he mightn’t have been able to buy so much, and he wouldn’t have ended up with the same number of possible projects.
That’s significant because if he’d concentrated his capital to put all his eggs in one basket the basket would more than likely have been located very close to the Front Beach.
As it turned out, he ended up with a number of areas he could develop, didn’t have to tackle them in any specific order and could afford to put a fence around the hole in the ground and wait.
If the site had been sold to anyone else, we would more than likely have seen some sort of development there by now, and, regardless of what anyone might suggest to the contrary, the whole Bowenwood thing wouldn’t have happened.
So, while the standard version of events gives a lot of credit where credit is due, let’s not forget that the story behind the filming of Australia ties up a lot of threads that weave their way through Bowen’s history.
And hopefully, once the cameras have stopped rolling, the tents have been dismantled, and the movie site has been cleared, we’ll be looking to a more positive future, not returning to the mindset that has held the town back in the past.