HotHouse intern Andrew Walker reflects on generational change in attitudes to growth in the region in the lead up to our next show At The Hip.
One of Australian politics biggest dreamers had a grand vision of establishing National Growth Centres in the 1970s. That dreamer was Gough Whitlam and part of his dream saw Albury-Wodonga as an inland city with a population of 300,000
by the year 2000. Over successive governments (both state and federal) the planned expansion, run by the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation, was wound up in 2014.
With the corporation wound up, lobbying for funding now resides with the local councils to grow the region. Older generations grew up in a time when the attitude was to accept the fate life had given them, while the view is that the younger generations are more aspirational than their predecessors. Has the dream of a growing and united Albury-Wodonga completely failed? Or is it still alive in the post Whitlam generation as it finds a way to adapt to the changing times?
Dr Bruce Pennay, one of fifty people interviewed for At the Hip suggests that even though Whitlam’s dream may be no more, through adapting to the new circumstances a different dream is within reach.
As a younger person who has left Albury-Wodonga and returned I don’t see it as an unachievable dream. The politicians had their own timelines but the region is growing and adapting to these changes and will only get bigger as time goes on.
It is this idea of achieving the regional dream that frames At The Hip. The production opens up with the dream of a unified city and recounts not only the development and growth of our region but also the hopes and dreams of local people in their own words.
Pictured above: The political power behind the growth centre L-R Bob Askin (NSW), Gough Whitlam (Commonwealth) and Dick Hamer (Victoria) meet under the Pollard Arch on the Lincoln Causeway on January 25, 1973. Photo credit: Border Mail
At The Hip will play at HotHouse Theatre from November 3 – 19. Find more information and purchase tickets here.