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Development   /  Lara Lukich

The Minnie Berrington Project

A pioneer. An adventurer. The first female opal miner in South Australia’s outback, yet her story remains untold.

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Impact areas

WOMEN & GIRLS

YOUTH & EDUCATION

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Homeros Gilani

  • PRODUCER Lara Lukich

Synopsis

DURATION: 60 MINUTES

In 1926, London typist Minnie Berrington left her commonplace life for one of adventure, becoming the first female opal miner and postmistress in the harsh and unforgiving deserts of South Australia.
Our documentary explores the struggles of being a single woman in an isolated environment and celebrates the sheer tenacity, self-determination and joy of a woman who became South Australia's first female opal miner and outback postmistress. Her sense of community helped to found the township of Andamooka, and in turn, the outback gave Minnie freedom and the liberation to be the steward of her own life. Minnie is an Australian pioneer, a real-life ‘Indiana Jones’, and yet she is a mystery…her story untold.

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  • $120,000.00

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Our history is important. Australian women's history is important. But in Australia's remote and transient regional and outback communities, we have struggled with recording our history for future generations. Many stories have disappeared or have been forgotten and the female perspective has been one of the greatest casualties.

If we neglect the female pioneers and immigrants that helped shape this country, we continue to present a skewed version of history.

To understand who you are, you need to develop a sense of self; for this reason, it is vitally important to have our female role models represented. Women and girls need to see themselves reflected in history and have the opportunity to learn about female pioneers such as Minnie who had a positive impact on her community.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

This documentary celebrates the inspirational Australian pioneer, Minnie Berrington, and helps to champion the vital role that women played in forging our society.

Our hashtag #belikeminnie symbolizes our hope for young women and girls to not be constrained by gender inequality. Through sharing Minnie's story, we hope to inspire a new generation and empower more women to step forward and help shape the future of Australian history.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

SHORT TERM
Championing our female pioneers by providing a historic role model.
Encourage sign-ups to the film’s social pages and donations.
Community involvement, consultation and participation in reviving local history.

MEDIUM TERM
Ensuring Minnie is recognized for the vital roles she played in outback communities.
Education of local school children regarding female pioneers and their importance in our history.
Create awareness of the rich heritage of our often forgotten opal mining and desert communities.
Greater opportunities for locals to create their own historical and cultural projects.

LONG TERM
Due to the documentary, an increase in tourism which is vital to the survival of outback townships.
Lifelong archival historical record to continue to enrich the history of remote areas of the Australian outback.
A rise in the empowerment of girls and women in our far regional and outback communities through the #belikeminnie campaign.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

The project has been awarded a Country Arts SA Regional Grant of $21010 which is facilitated by the Andamooka Progress and Opal Miners Association (APOMA). As such, we have the support and assistance of APOMA to help us develop key areas of the project. The local primary school has provided a Letter of Support and the school children will film their own "behind the scenes documentary."

ABC North & West have supported the project with an on-air radio interview with the producer, and also published an article about the MBP on their site. This promoted strong interest from regional and outback listeners and readers of ABC North & West.

The local communities of Andamooka, Coober Pedy and Roxby Downs have shared posts and our teaser for the project, and are very engaged with the project.

Our main advisor and researcher is a member of the Philatelic Society of SA and has provided us with connections to other researchers regarding Minnie Berrington's life.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. Promote the film via social media so that others have the opportunity to learn about Minnie's inspiring journey.

2. Inspire girls and women to #belikeminnie and make positive decisions for themselves that lead to self-confidence and empowerment.

3. Spark discussions about our female pioneers in regional and outback schools, and encourage students to research and create projects about their local female role models.

4. Journey to the regional and outback areas to experience the journey of Minnie Berrington for themselves.

5. More support for the reinvigoration of Historical Societies in outback communities, resulting in the discovery and publicizing of other female pioneers.

6. Donate their time, money or expertise to the gender equality campaigns.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

The number of views of the film, shares, and engagement via digital channels and social media.

Comments and feedback online, at screenings and at events.

An upswing of visitors to the remote outback and regional communities featured in the documentary.

Analysing and tracking publicity and media’s conversation regarding Minnie Berrington's story.

A rise in the interest of historical female pioneers and role models.

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