In August of this year, four students from the University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication were selected to join a team of photography students from Griffith University Queensland College of Art in a cross-institutional project to document the people and places of Queensland towns.

Emma MacKenzie and Julia Whitwell travelled to Moranbah while Jesse Thompson and Aimee Hourigan travelled to Dalby. The students were accompanied by mentors who included UQ SJC tutors Liss Fenwick and Brodie Standen and award-winning visual-journalists Russell Shakespeare, and Adam Ferguson.
The project was supported with grant funding from Arts Queensland. The task for the students was to capture the everyday lives of people in regional towns reflecting the changing face of rural Queensland, from the local Rodeo, to the fly-in fly-out mine workers, and the kitchen of a 103-year-old lifelong resident.
The in-field project was an opportunity for the students to put theory learnt at UQ into practice and challenge their creativity and commitment, allowing a hands-on experience in collecting and producing visual-journalism stories. Rather than a traditional news story, students were expected to capture a visually appealing and thought-provoking narrative to a high-professional standard. The project required comprehensive pre-production, production and post-production work.
A feature article about the project will appear in the Q Weekend magazine (insert supplement to The Courier Mail). Additionally, an exhibition will be held from November 12 to December 1 at Brisbane Powerhouse. The work will then be included in the permanent collection of the State Library of Queensland enabling future generations to have a glimpse into the past.


Rodeo Queen

Emma MacKenzie & Julia Whitwell

Meet Janelle, a contestant in this year’s Rodeo Queen contest in Moranbah. From town-to-town, contestants compete, to determine the winner for the region each year. The competition is judged on presentation, personality, and horsemanship skills – a rodeo queen must have it all. From hoof-picks and hairspray, to saddle-bling and boots, watch as we follow Janelle preparing her horses and herself to compete for the title of Moranbah Rodeo Queen, 2013.


Yonda: Impacts of Coal Seam Gas Mining on Farmers West of Chinchilla

Jesse Thompson

Twenty years ago, farmers living either side of Goombi Fairymeadow Road, west of Chinchilla, lived on land prosperous enough to fatten their herds of sheep and cattle. Today, the same dry, hot landscapes are wrought with coal seam gas wells. This mini-documentary tracks changes in the lives of two Goombi Fairymeadow farmers as they cope with the advent of coal seam gas mining. Ian is sick of the legal and financial hubbub in negotiations with gas mining conglomerates, and Gail worries for the future of her and her neighbours.



Jesse Thompson

Lyndalee grew up in Dalby at a time when the Anglican Church was institutionalised and her own homosexuality seemed verboten. The town’s inherent homophobia drove her to Rockhampton, Townsville and remote areas in the Northern Territory. When she returned to Dalby decades later, Lyndalee was met with a different town altogether. This is the story of her experiences with the once-homophobic town and its transformation over the past several decades.


Independent Ivy: The Story of Dalby’s Oldest Resident

Aimee Hourigan

Raisin toast and a cup of hot tea are the perfect breakfast for someone who’s 103.

Born on the 10th May 1910, Ivy Chant has lived in Dalby for 80 years. She’s watched the town grow from a little country community into a bustling hive of activity. As she says, “they’re doing things here that they didn’t do before.” This short film aspires to illustrate that change, documenting the subsequent changes to Ivy’s daily routine. In doing so, it offers a unique perspective on Dalby, one that will hopefully leave viewers feeling appreciative and inspired by the rarity of life.