Sound walk tour of Myall Creek Memorial

June 12, 2014

Visitors to the Myall Creek Memorial will be able to use an app-based platform to tell the story of the massacre which took place on Myall Creek Station 176 years ago.

The Gwydir Region Soundtrails has been developed by the Gwydir Shire Council, and was demonstrated at the entrance to the Myall Creek Memorial walk.

At this stage trials are nearing completion in Warialda and Myall Creek with a view to produce a Soundtrail for Bingara and other towns in the shire.

Visitors and locals will be able to download a sound walk from a menu, and, once on location, experience the site/town’s stories through their smart phone or tablet while walking around the area. They will also be able to see other sound walks in the region and be invited to plan their travels accordingly. The New England Sound Walks is a way of showcasing individual towns while also promoting the wider region, and all in a way that appeals to an increasingly tech-savvy cultural tourist market.

Georgia Standerwick shows Ty Neilson and Jacob Callister of Inverell the Myall Creek Memorial app. [Photo:  Georgia Standerwick shows Ty Neilson and Jacob Callister of Inverell the Myall Creek Memorial app. Ty said the app was “pretty good, eh.”]

Visitors to Myall Creek for the annual June long weekend memorial were provided with a preview of the Myall Creek Stories, which along with the Warialda Soundtrails will be officially launched in August.

The Myall Creek Soundtrails provides an evocative and thought-provoking insight into this landmark event that changed Australian history forever. With interviews from ancestors of the perpetrators and the victims, soundscapes and rare recordings of indigenous dialect, the Soundtrails is a powerful way to learn about the Myall Creek massacre.

How it will work
The Sound Walk app will work on iPhones, Android devices and tablets. Once users have downloaded the app, they can walk around the area at leisure, tracking their whereabouts in relation to a bed of audio stories that they can see on a virtual map.

Stories will automatically fade in or fade out depending upon the movement of the user in relation to the (GPS) location of the stories. Conversely, users can choose to listen to stories off location (and thus learn about towns before they visit) either through their mobile device or on their computer via a Sound Walks website. The Sound Walks website will mirror the sound walk content.

Visitors participating in the sound walks can choose any one specific walk or many walks, from a central list once the app is downloaded at any Wi-Fi point. Once downloaded onto a mobile device, the sound walk/stories can be heard in the remotest of locations, that is, without internet coverage. GPS coverage is required for the sound walk to be experienced on location.

Each sound walk will provide an immersive experience of a town or site, its heritage, stories and people. It will be engagingly produced and simple to use. The sound stories can marry contemporary and historic elements as a best fit for the individual site. Stories will be produced by world-class sound producers and can range in styles from longer radio documentary format to shorter, evocative sound pieces.

Its appeal
The New England Region Sound Walks is, we believe, a first in Australia. It has potential to contribute to economic development and region building, while positively reflecting local communities and contributing to their sense of local identity and connection to place.

For visitors, Council staff believe the walks will appeal to the growing, tech-savvy grey nomad sector, to younger generations who wish to experience ‘place’ through their smartphones, and to visitors wanting to immerse themselves more deeply in an area.

By attracting visitors and encouraging them to explore, the Walks should bode well for shops and businesses in participating towns.

According to Hackney Hear sound walks provide “… a strong tool for the imagination – as you walk the area your eyes are wide open, but the sounds and stories are taking you to different eras, and your mind to different places”.