Dunstan bares Australian soul
FROM Duntroon military college drop-out to counter-culture revolutionary, Nimbin’s Graeme Dunstan has seen and led more social change than most.
Key parts of Mr Dunstan’s story are included in a new four-part documentary, The Making of Modern Australia, to be aired on ABC television from July 22.
Associate producer Jay Court described the series as a people’s history of Australia since World War II, drawing on the ‘memories of ordinary Australians to reveal profound social and cultural shifts in Australian life’.
“The participants’ stories are interwoven, but Graeme’s comes up in part four, The Australian Soul, and shows how being raised in a religious family and being taken to the Billy Graham crusade (in 1959) closed the door on organised religion for him and inspired his role in the Aquarius Festival,” Ms Court said.
Narrated by actor and writer William McInnes, the series explores day-to-day social themes, including childhood, love and relationships, home and faith.
Launched across multiple media platforms, Ms Court said history teachers who had seen the preview were excited about the program, and an online portal had been created for schools in conjunction with the national curriculum body, Education Services Australia, where students could share their own stories.
Speaking from Rockhampton where he has been working on NAIDOC celebrations, the man responsible for the organisation of the now famous Aquarius Festival at Nimbin in 1972, and a key player in the anti-war movement in the 1960s, was appreciative that the issues were being revisited for younger generations.
“After we stopped the (Vietnam) war we had to figure out how to go forward with the peace movement – which led to the Aquarius Festival,” Mr Dunstan said.
The self-described cultural worker and his cohorts’ exploits also led to the development of the events planning industry and the widely employed concepts of community cultural development.