Deadly Stories – Cairns

Deadly Stories – Cairns started last week with a group of young people learning camera operation, interviewing and editing skills. After some practice interviews on ‘what does it mean to be a hero or a mentor’ and ‘who is your biggest hero/mentor in your community’ the group got stuck into planning and storyboarding their films.


Matilda Sweeney doing a practice interview


As it turns out, each participant has decided to make a film about a family member.  So the films are very personal and offer an opportunity for each film-maker to add their own narration and reflect on why they’re making a film about their Grandfather, Grandmother of Mother.

Isaiah Turia’s (17yrs) Grandfather has had a big influence on his life. His narration opens his film: “My grandfather was a man of strength, courage and bravery and that is why he is my hero.”


Isaiah Turia, Shari Hollingsworth and Matilda Sweeney on set for Isaiah’s film



Shari Hollingsworth (17yrs) introduced her film about her hero, Bill Hollingsworth like this: “My grandfather has been a big part of my life since I was born. Having spent time with him after school, on weekends, and school holidays, I’ve come to know him as a fun-loving, riddle telling, compassionate and caring man who is always spinning a good story. But there’s a side to his own story that I’m not so familiar with….”


Shari Hollingsworth gaining consent on behalf of SLQ to record her Grandfather’s story


The beautiful thing about the Deadly Stories project is that everyone has the opportunity to witness and help out on each film. We’ve also eaten a lot of sandwiches, tea and cake! Good things for warming up to telling a story.


Denzel Kiso and his Grandmother June Martin


When Shari interviewed her Grandfather, Bill Hollingsworth he shared a story about growing up in Miallo, near Mossman QLD. When war broke out in 1940 his family moved to Cairns. Tragically, his father was in a railway accident and died on the way, in Babinda Hospital. We looked up some old photographs of Mossman and Babinda in the SLQ catalogue and then also found a newspaper clipping about the railway accident in Trove. It’s a shame we couldn’t see any of the indigenous photographs online as some may have been relevant. SLQ’s and NLA’s online and digitised collections are coming in handy for this project.


From Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Tuesday 10 August 1943, page 1


Babinda Railway Station ca. 1918. From SLQ collections. Record number 43379

We finished production last week and had our 2nd day of editing today. As the films materialise it’s exciting to see all of the beautiful cutaways and observational footage that the group filmed together as a team. Everyone has taken up the role of Director/Writer, Camera Operator, Sound Recordist, and Production Assistant in rotation. Each Director also edits his/her own film.  We have one more day to go before we tie off all the loose ends and have a final screening at Manunda Library.

Next stop for Deadly Stories will be Mitch Daley and Lisa Farrawell in Wujal Wujal in a couple of weeks.

Post written by Pip Kelly – Deadly Stories Cairns Coordinator.