Through the stories of its older and younger residents, At the Hip documents the journey the towns of Albury and Wodonga have taken toward Gough Whitlam’s grand vision to be the cross-border regional city that now exists and the tremendous change inherent in this.
While the original plan laid out in the 1970s did not come to fruition, it can still be viewed as a success with Albury-Wodonga continuing to grow despite the wind down of the Albury Wodonga Development Corporation. The transformation and growth can be seen in the change in geography and townscapes: the establishment of two university campuses – Charles Sturt originally in the centre of Albury and now located in Thurgoona, and La Trobe in West Wodonga. The rail line has been moved from the centre of Wodonga and the area transformed as a hub for dining and entertainment at Junction Place. Growth in the transport, tourism, arts, health and retail sectors has also attracted people to experience life in a regional area with many facilities rivalling those in the larger cities. Older members interviewed talk of how they accepted their fate; the newer generations of their aspirations and higher expectations.
Resident from 1943 and chair of the Albury Wodonga Development Corporation from 1997 for 17 years, Bill Hanrahan reflects on the cosmopolitan nature of Albury-Wodonga and says although he’s pleased the 300,000 population target wasn’t reached, the lifestyle in the twin cities has everything needed, and in many ways Whitlam’s dream has borne fruit.
At The Hip will play at HotHouse Theatre from November 3 – 19. Find more information and purchase tickets here.