Connecting community through storytelling

“What are we but our stories” once said American novelist James Patterson.

Inspired by the unique and interesting stories of community members that emerged during our Front Porch Portraits Project earlier this year, the Shire of Dardanup has launched a region-leading project to celebrate its quiet champions while fostering connection and local pride.

The Connect Dardanup project is an eight-part podcast series called ‘My Place, My People’.

From Friday, August 7 a 30-minute episode will be released each week and feature the personal stories of a community member.

Residents will be able to access the podcasts via the Shire of Dardanup website or Facebook page and will hear from:

  • A young man who has represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in hockey
  • A mum who found rescuing local wildlife nurtured her soul
  • The teen musician who featured in an iconic national music competition
  • The go-getter breathing new life into a 100-year-old women’s organisation from her small home town
  • Plus an Indigenous businessman and artist, hard-working nurse, an event organiser instrumental in converting a small local festival into one of the biggest events on the South West calendar and a local accommodation owner with high hopes for tourism in the Ferguson Valley

The podcast is presented by Henty farmer and retired lecturer Richard Stacey who is an active contributor to the community in a variety of roles.

Front Porch Portraits was one of many strategies launched under the Shire of Dardanup’s ‘I Heart Dardanup’ campaign – a community care initiative to provide support during a period of social isolation due to Covid-19 containment measures.

Under the porch project, a team of professional photographers captured an enormous series of stunning family portraits for families from across the shire.

The project was a trend in the US and Canada started by photographers who went out into their local communities and began capturing family portraits as a way of recording this unusual time in our history.

Participating families were gifted with a copy of their family portrait and Shire staff have been exploring opportunities for sharing both the images and stories gathered during the project in a creative way.

Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett said as a media tool, podcasts were free for residents and easily accessible.

“Podcasts are such a valuable tool for people to connect, explore and learn,” Cr Bennett said.

“And we are very proud to be the first Council in the South West to be utilising this medium for the benefit of our community.

“We’re excited to see how the project is received but I can already imagine that we will be exploring ways to expand Connect Dardanup in the future as a way of keeping residents in the loop on grassroots happenings in their local community.”

The podcast series has been made possible thanks to Bunbury Community Radio which has kindly supplied recording equipment for the interviews.

Podcast Schedule

Ep 1 – Friday 7th August 2020- Guest: Jill Cross (Bull and Barrel Festival organiser)
Ep 2 – Friday 14th August 2020- Guest: Kim Grant (Roo Rescue Owner)
Ep 3 – Friday 21st August 2020- Guest: Jake Harvie (Commonwealth Games Kookaburra Hockey Player)
Ep 4 –Friday 28th August 2020- Guest: Dylon Newport (Local musician)
Ep 5 – Friday 4th September 2020- Guest: Troy Bennell (Indigenous Businessman and artist)
Ep 6 – Friday 11th September 2020- Guest: Kahlia Murray (CWA member)
Ep 7 – Friday 18th September 2020- Guest: Cheryl Rourke (Kingstree Lodge Owner)
Ep 8- Friday 25th September 20202- Guest: Lara (Nurse)

Stay tuned to the Shire of Dardanup website and Facebook page for weekly release of episodes.