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Chasing the shoals - yindilgal balkanya!

The adventures and hilarious true stories of the fishermen of Moreton Bay

The rich stories of the last remaining Aboriginal fishing crew on North Stradbroke Island and the misadventures of the
fishermen of Wynnum Creek are brought to life by the show's actors in a highly creative, multimedia show that features
short films, animations, didge fusion music and magnificent images of the beaches of North Stradbroke Island.




Wynnum Creek, 1907

Fishing was the glue that held communities of Moreton Bay together. It provided more than a livelihood. It was a way of life; a way of life that has largely disappeared. The show captures the rise and fall of the local fishing industry and the impact of its loss.

The show features the son of a Stradbroke Aboriginal fisherman called Patrick and his friend Jim, an aging non-Aboriginal commercial fisherman. Jim and his wife, May, are leaving their home on the banks of Wynnum Creek, where Jim's family has lived for three generations.

Patrick, Jim and May look back fondly on their colourful lives based in a once thriving fishing community underpinned by strong, courageous and resilient fishermen, full of cheer and banter. But the three know those golden days are gone and that just a handful of largely aging fishermen remain in the industry.

Just one Aboriginal fishing crew remains on North Stradbroke Island. The Island has a long, rich and proud history based around fishing. Images of the magnificent beaches of Stradbroke, provide a backdrop for the personal stories of the fishers and their deep connection with their ancestors, the land and the sea.

This show is a visually and culturally vibrant look at change, loss, resilience, courage and the humour that sustained the fishermen of Moreton Bay in the face of insurmountable challenges.

Background information

The show is produced by John Parke of 5Word Productions. Since 2007 John has been collecting the stories and making films about the fishers of Moreton Bay. John is the author of Against the Tide - Queensland's Moreton Bay fishing industry since 1824.

The show's director and dramaturg is distinguished artist Beth Child. The show is also supported by other distinguished artists, including Zane Trow, Creative Arts Manager of the Redlands Performing Arts Centre and Larry Zetlin, an award-winning producer and documentary maker.




Major sponsors







Other sponsors















This project is supported by:

· The Arts Queensland and the Regional Arts Development Fund - a Queensland Government and Redland City Council partnership to support Local Arts and Culture.

· The Regional Arts Fund - an Australian Government Initiative that supports sustainable cultural development in regional, remote and very remote Australia. The program is delivered in partnership with Artslink Queensland.

People involved

John Parke is a resident of Manly. He is an author and film maker. He is the Proprietor of 5Word Productions, a self-publishing business. He wrote and published the book titled Against the Tide - Queensland's Moreton Bay fishing industry since 1824. He has been involved with a range of community based projects, particularly with Indigenous small island communities in Australia and the Pacific.

Beth Child Director and Dramaturg. Beth began as a professional actor, appearing onstage with all the major Australian state companies; in assorted TV, in films (Evil Angels, My Brilliant Career, and The Everlasting Secret Family amongst many), and extensive cabaret and musical theatre, both as devisor/ performer and director. Teaching stints at Ballarat University, drama coach on Neighbours, and text trainee/Assistant Director to Tina Packer at Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts led to Beth acting teaching and directing at the University of South Carolina Upstate in 2005. She began directing professionally in 1992 with credits ranging from cabaret to Shakespeare to short films. In 2007 she directed Macbeth the Contemporary Rock Opera at St Martins, and again in 2009 at QPAC in Brisbane. She directed an internationally nominated short film in 2009, and produced two more in 2013. Currently she is teaching and directing at University of Queensland and has been invited back to South Carolina in 2016.

Dr Jan Aldenhoven is a biologist and wildlife filmmaker living on North Stradbroke Island. Jan and her partner Glen Carruthers have their own wildlife filmmaking business. They have contributed to many acclaimed nature documentaries including several David Attenborough series such as The Trials of Life, The Private Life of Plants, The Life of Birds and Life of Mammals. The partnership also filmed for other BBC projects: Realm of the Russian Bear, Alien Empire, Battle of the Sexes, Incredible Suckers, Australasia and for Oxford Scientific Films on Forbidden Fruit. They have also worked on programs screened on National Geographic, Discovery and the ABC. They are best known for their own landmark film, Kangaroos – Faces in the Mob, which has won over 20 awards including an Emmy and a Logie. Faces in the Mob has been translated into numerous languages and screened in over 70 countries. Jan has served on a number of committees associated with the North Stradbroke Island in areas such as ecology, water and fire. Jan has worked with the North Stradbroke island's indigenous community on numerous projects associated with the environment and education.

Margery and Michael Ford co-wrote for La Boite Milo’s Wake (published by Currency Press. Winner 2001 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, the 2000 Matilda Award, the Perform/4MBS Award and AWGIE nomination). Michael toured Queensland and nationally playing the role of Milo. International productions of Milo’s Wake include Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, London, the Edinburgh Festival and a translated production in Tokyo. Other co-writing credits for La Boite include Still Standing, Way Out West and James and Johnno. Playing the role of James, Michael toured Queensland and toured nationally in 2006 and 2007. A founding member of KITE Theatre, Michael was involved in over forty productions including the joint Kite/Queensland Performing Arts Trust. In 2003 Michael received a Centenary Award for services to Australian Literature and Society. Michael and Margery wrote the production Drama at the Gasfield which won La Boite Theatre and the Queensland Gas Company the 2007 Queensland ABaF award (Australia Business Arts Foundation). In 2009 Michael and Margery were artists in residence at the Australian Catholic University. During this time they wrote and staged Skating On Sandgate Road as part of the Q150 celebrations. In 2009 Margery and Michael wrote Cribbie. It played a sell-out season at Metro Arts in Brisbane.

Dani Hingston is a Manly based music composer. She has 14 years' experience working as a professional singer and qualified piano teacher.

Zane Trow is a manager of arts centres, festivals and arts programs, and a composer/performer and live artist; a post-disciplinary arts worker with over 30 years experience in bridging contemporary sound art, community art and live art practice. Zane is the Creative Arts Centres Manager at Redland City Council and has also, for the last 10 years, served as Chair of Media Arts Asia Pacific (MAAP), a Brisbane based not-for-profit organisation that develops critical exhibition and research initiatives to engage the region’s major practitioners and producers. MAAP is a platform for contemporary art development, presentation and critique and operates internationally as a team of agents, researchers, artists and curators. It is still the only Australian art organisation with an Asia Pacific focus specially dedicated to Internet, interactive, digital and screen-based art practices integrating new media technology. MAAP supports a community of visual artists with Media Bank equipment loans. Since 1998, MAAP has produced 7 international media art festivals across Brisbane, Beijing and Singapore. Formally Professional Development Coordinator for Access Arts Inc., Associate Professor of QUT Performance Studies, Artistic Director of the South Bank Corporation, Chairman of Youth Arts Qld, Artistic Advisor at Metro Arts Centre & CEO/Artistic Director of the Brisbane Powerhouse Centre for the Live Arts. CEO/Artistic Director of The Performance Space, CEO/Artistic Director of the Next Wave Festival, Chairman of the Contemporary Music Events Company & CEO/Centre Director of the Footscray Community Arts Centre.