People of Beechworth to feature in new Burke Museum exhibition

Published on 30 March 2022

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A new exhibition showcasing the resilience and diversity of the Beechworth community will launch at Beechworth’s Burke Museum over the Easter long weekend.

The exhibition, People of Beechworth, opens on Saturday 16 April and features 10 photographic portraits of current Beechworth residents, comparing and contrasting their stories with historical collections and personalities of the town.

Among those featured in the 10 large scale portraits, captured by Beechworth photographer, Erin Davis-Hartwig, are locals Dr David Lawrence, Tracy McVea and Corey-James Jackson whose stories link to the arts, emergency services and education.

Through the exploration of these themes, as well as food and culture, volunteering, sport, Chinese history and the fight for gender equality in both a historic and modern context, the exhibition shows that history is not something confined to the past, instead, it is made every day.

The exhibition will also include a portrait gallery of the broader community through images recently captured at a series of community open days. These portraits will be projected onto a wall alongside the current “pioneer board” which features the town’s 19th century founders, and aim to showcase the diversity of Beechworth’s 4,000 residents.

The Burke Museum and Cultural Heritage Manager, Cameron Auty says that the exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to put the spotlight on the town’s modern residents and to tell the stories of people that the community recognises as their neighbours, friends, family and business owners.

“Through this exhibition, we’re showing that history doesn’t stop in the 19th century and that it continues to be made by our community every day.” Mr Auty said.

“By demonstrating the links between the people of today and 50 or 100 years ago, visitors to the exhibition have the opportunity to connect with people they perhaps didn’t think they could relate to – either via a modern or historic story.”

“Everyone has a story to tell and as our communities recover from the impacts of the last few years, including the bushfires and the pandemic, we’re grateful for this opportunity to share these stories of resilience and inspiration.”

The exhibition received funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program and has also been funded by a donation from the family of Ern Hawking, and Indigo Shire Council.

Mr Auty says the exhibition will be modular so as time goes on more portraits will be added, which will continue to illustrate the connection between the past and present and the ever-evolving community of Beechworth.

Indigo Shire Mayor Bernard Gaffney says that the exhibition is a great opportunity for the community to see themselves cemented in history upon the walls of the much-loved museum.

“Heritage is a key part of what makes Beechworth so special, so to have a community focussed exhibition that showcases the enduring connection between our past and present is a real drawcard for locals and visitors alike.”


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