Winton Wetlands welcomes the interest being shown by movie, television and other media production houses in its distinctive and highly atmospheric location.
Winton Wetlands offers appeal to producers for the ‘gothic’ quality evident across parts of the reserve affected by the original creation of the artificial Lake Mokoan in the 1960s and later decommissioned, between 2004-2010. When first created, around 200,000 trees died – many of them fully grown River Red Gums. With the draining of the lake and a return to natural wetland conditions, these ghostly relics (known as stags) include many Aboriginal scar trees that still stand today, having re-emerged from the lake as dead stags but with their scarring and their stories still evident.
The Winton Wetlands Committee of Management sees media production on-site as a way to help make more people aware of the reserve and its colourful yet at times tragic history, as well as its current important status as Australia’s largest wetland restoration project.
The Committee allows production activities to occur on-site only under strict environmental conditions, including the removal of movie sets at the end of each production and no lasting impacts being made upon the site.
There are also strict conditions around traffic management, safety, due respect to the customs and practices of local Yorta Yorta people, and other aspects.
“Subject to the activities happening in a carefully controlled and sensitive manner, we’re excited to see Winton Wetlands used as a production site,” Winton Wetlands CEO Ms Sue Lebish says.
“This links into one of the important objectives of the wetlands project which is to educate and inform.
“Our hope is that as people become curious about the location of a movie or program they have enjoyed, some will want to learn more about Winton Wetlands – and discover its importance as an ecological restoration project and a site of cultural and historical significance.
“Anything that opens the door to people wanting to learn more can only be a good thing.
“As well as the educational and environmental dimensions, Winton Wetlands is obliged to pay its own way to the greatest extent possible too. When carefully managed, movies and other media productions on-site can earn much-needed revenue to help us pay for the ongoing operations of the reserve, including research and breeding programs.
“There are also important benefits to the local economy, with production crews needing accommodation, local jobs being created and regional businesses enjoying spin-off benefits.”
Recent productions made in part at Winton Wetlands include a feature film, The True History of the Kelly Gang, and an ABC television series, Books That Made Us, which aired in 2021. A major international science fiction production is under way on-site at the time of writing (February 2022).
Winton Wetlands is located between the towns of Benalla and Wangaratta in north-east Victoria, Australia, close to the township of Glenrowan where the infamous bushranger (outlaw) Ned Kelly made his last stand. This adds another layer to the many layers of history, mythology and drama associated with the site and nearby areas.
Posted 8 February 2022