Tracing Lancefield’s songlines

L - R: Musician Harry Nanos, screenwriter and director Paul Carter and film editor Jon Nanos all helped bring Lancefield Dreaming to life. (Supplied)

Oliver Lees

A documentary exploring the unique character of Lancefield will be featured on national television this Sunday.

Developed by a team of four with a diverse skill set in the film industry, ‘Lancefield Dreaming’ dives into the town’s past to identify what has allowed it to maintain its character over the years.

Having moved to Lancefield more than 30 years ago for his work as a general practitioner, Paul Carter said the idea for the documentary was born from his own desire to unlock why he felt so strongly about the township.

“I’ve lived and worked in London and Melbourne, but when I came to Lancefield, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” Mr Carter said.

“I started thinking that this kind of village community is such a good way for human beings to live, and that we need to preserve it.

As a writer of three books of his own, Mr Carter drew on his experience as a writer to develop the screenplay.

Shooting the 28-minute project over the past few years, Mr Carter and his team set about interviewing community members and raiding the history books.

Mr Carter said the documentary’s title refers to the Aboriginal concept of songlines, which through his research, he discovered to be a central component underpinning Lancefield’s special quality.

It refers to the creation of channels of communication where knowledge from a certain location is passed down from generation to generation.

“Before the project I hadn’t appreciated the significance of the local first people’s population,” he said.

“I hadn’t realised that it was actually quite well-populated before white people first came, and that it was quite a civilised group of people.

“Critical to looking after the friendliness and kindness is helping make the children aware of the specialness of their surroundings so that they can also join in the process of preservation.”

Lancefield Dreaming will be featured on SBS at 5pm on Sunday, December 12.