5 August 2021

Portraits on Main exhibition a window to Goulburn's heart and soul

| Katrina Condie
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Photographer Tina Milson with some of the images that will feature in the Portraits on Main exhibition including Steve Ridley and Bill Breeze.

Photographer Tina Milson with some of the images that will feature in the Portraits on Main exhibition including Steve Ridley and Bill Breeze. Photo: Tina Milson

Goulburn’s Portraits on Main project will showcase ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things in their community.

Photographer and storyteller Tina Milson has the honour of documenting the photos and stories of some of the region’s quiet achievers – those who have been working hard behind the scenes for many years, but who do not seek recognition for their good deeds.

From replanting wetlands and restoring vintage steam engines, to delivering library books to neighbours, Goulburn’s volunteers are the heart of soul of the community.

More than halfway through her 200 local subjects, Tina says the project has been a humbling experience.

“To hear their stories is a privilege,” she said.

“I’m a complete stranger to most of the people and they trust me to step into their personal space and welcome me into their lives.”

Tina said the Goulburn Mulwaree Region boasts a diverse community and she aims to showcase residents from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities, all more than 50 years of age, who give back in some way, large or small.

“There are so many people doing amazing things – but it’s not always front-page news,” she said.

“It’s the simple things – and the loyalty, that make a big difference in our community.”

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She said most of the people she interviews claim they don’t do much and often dob in others for their contributions.

As a result, the project has grown exponentially and the portraits will now feature in about 150 shop windows in Goulburn’s Auburn Street.

The exhibition will be officially opened at noon on 13 November in Belmore Park.

Tina said it is hoped the display will be a treat for locals as well as a unique tourist attraction for the town.

“We’re trying to incorporate what Goulburn has to offer as well, and I think it’s important to show that we’re very much still a country town with a strong heartbeat, as well as a city,” she added.

Organisations such as the Rocky Hill War Memorial, Waterworks Museum and the Roundhouse Rail Heritage Centre, as well as the Goulburn Wetlands, will feature, showing gratitude to both individuals and groups who give back to the community in some way.

“We do care and appreciate what our citizens’ contributions mean to us and together we can all make a difference,” Tina said.

“The main thing is to showcase the pride we have in Goulburn and how every little act of kindness makes our community great.”

The Goulburn Chamber of Commerce and council has supported the project recognising the need to find ways to attract both locals and visitors to the region that has been struggling economically during the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We hope people will walk, observe, sense their souls, read their stories and step inside the small boutique shops as well as the large shops, revitalising the shopping precincts,” Tina said.

Chamber of Commerce president Darrell Weekes is thrilled to see the exhibition gaining momentum.

“It will be wonderful to see the stories of notable locals who we may not have heard of, and to inform our younger generations about how they have contributed to our community and created a legacy,” he said.

“We can see the benefit it will bring to the people of Goulburn and it will be an interesting reason for people to come and explore our town.”

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Is the Steve Ridley in the photo the same chap who used to have the gun shop. If so I bought my first shotgun from him 60 odd years ago. I still have that gun.

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