As part of History HereBushranger series, “Bigger Than Ben Hall” focuses on re-telling the exploits of Ben Hall’s gang, one of Australia’s most infamous bushranging outfits.
‘Bigger Than Ben Hall’ represents a potent collaboration between The Project Zone, the Department of Education’s videoconference hub DART Connections, Mitchell Library, Orange City Museum, Australian Historical Society, Startime Sydney, and various community organisations, and regional primary schools.
This project involves schools from around Central Western NSW, and recently including Canowindra PS, Perthville PS, Eglinton PS, and St Joseph's Eugowra. These incredibly talented young students research, write scripts, and perform in films about the infamous local bushranger gang led by Frank Gardiner and Ben Hall. The project involves filming at various locations around the Central West, including a number of sites at the rocky range of Eugowra where the actual gold heist took place.
The live broadcast from Canowindra on 19 December, 2018 featured a live re-enactment of the gang’s raid on that town, a one man bush band, green-screening pop-ups and a retelling of the gang’s story by eminent bushranger expert and author Craig Lawler. The event showcased the outputs of students and schools across the Central West, and highlighted the Department of Education’s commitment to introducing new strategies and pedagogies for teaching and embedding literacy, history, STEM skills and teamwork. It leveraged DET’s pre-existing videoconference platform in all state schools and extending overseas to share quality cultural content.
The positive community involvement and obvious resultant goodwill speaks of the success of History Here galvanising community networks, participation and attendance. Projects like Bigger than Ben Hall help build community capacity by creating strong relationships between schools, historical societies, First Nations communities, local interest groups, and public institutions, and allowing students and teachers in rural and remote NSW schools to learn new pedagogies and skills to replicate both in and outside the classroom.