My Place on our street

For a little while now, a clump of big white vans has been turning up a block or so along our street. Marquees have been pitched in our nearest pocket-handkerchief park. Bevies of young women in long skirts, lace-up boots and bonnets have been ushered across the road by what should probably be described as school-marms. Yes, someone has been shooting a period film in Annandale. My curiosity wasn’t particularly piqued. We may not be New York City, but over the years our suburb has contributed its bit to the big and little screens, and we may have become a little blasé.

Then on Wednesday this week a letter appeared in my mailbox from little leaf pictures indicating that the action was about to move closer to our house, and that there would be ‘stop/go traffic control’ between 8 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon today. But here’s the interesting bit:

We are producing a children’s television series to be screened on the ABC, called ‘My Place’, based on a book by Nadia Wheatley. [Each of thirteen episodes] tells the story of the changing physical and cultural environment of a Sydney suburb from 1888 to 2008, seen through the eyes of thirteen children (a decade apart) whose common element is the terrace they all live in.

I love that book. I bought it because I’d known Nadia when we were both a lot younger, and read it with Penny in a state of high excitement over a hot drink in a Glebe cafe: how much history, of class and colonisation in particular, was worked into its pages! I wept into my hot chocolate at the last page. It’s wonderful that it’s being made into a television series, though they seem to have decided to leave out the first 100 years, which will surely risk pushing it right out of shape. And I’m not sure that broad, leafy Annandale Street can really stand in for the narrow lanes of Newtown (or was it Redfern?) of the book.

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So I was out there today bloggerazzing.

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Sadly, on my morning walk-past all the action was inside the house. The black shrouded thing on the porch is a monitor and the people in the foreground seem to be keeping track with a vast array of tech gear.

The afternoon was marginally more interesting: filming was over for the day. One or two children were hanging about in pyjamas and dressing gowns, but such are the times that I wasn’t game to take their photos. The ABC’s press release mentions a dozen fabulous actors, but none of the ones I would recognise were in evidence. I did spot one elegant 50s housewife ducking into the costume van and she graciously posed for me:

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They’re filming all next week, but I can’t promise any more images. A man in a three mile jacket told me the series will be screening on the ABC in January next year.

6 responses to “My Place on our street

  1. Now that’s exciting. I hope that the class and colonisation stuff isn’t whitewashed.

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  2. I have unsuccessfully googled ‘three mile jacket’ – will you please enlighten me?

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  3. M-H: I’m clinging to hope on that one. Missing out teh first 100 years doesn’t augur well, though that might be a misprint in the letter!
    Jane: Maybe I made up the actual phrase. It might be a five mile jacket, for example. It’s a term for those bright orange garments that workers on roads and especially railways wear so they’ll be visible from a distance.

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  4. Great thanks. Learned something new today!

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  5. My son is one of the kids chosen to be in one episode of My Place. They need different kids for each episode. He hasn’t filmed it yet but he can’t wait and is very excited about it. They’re not missing the first 100 years at all, they are just filming from the present day (2008?) and going backwards 10 years every episode like the book. The first series is 13 episodes so will go back to about 1888 and when they film a second series they will then go back further to 1788.

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  6. Thanks for that, Kylie. I’m reassured. Another piece of reassurance came in an email from a lurker: “I’ve heard them talking about the series on the radio. Nadia [Wheatley], I gather, has been working away madly on it.” I’m thrilled that Nadia is actively involved, rather than simply the provider of the source material.

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