Celebrating the Brooker Highway

AN exhibition celebrating the rich social history of the Brooker Highway will be held at the Moonah Arts Centre until mid-September.

‘Stories of the Brooker Highway’ will feature community stories about life on and around the Brooker Highway – the 17-kilometre stretch of road that unites Hobart’s northern suburbs.

The stories and images featured in the exhibition have been collected from and created by communities across Hobart’s northern suburbs during early 2017.

The exhibition has been developed by The Story Island Project, a non-profit organisation based in Hobart’s northern suburbs that is dedicated to supporting young people to improve their literacy skills through storytelling.

Story Island Project co-founder Kate Gross said the exhibition had received an “amazing response” from the community.

“We have collected so many interesting stories from community members across the northern suburbs at locations such as the Glenorchy Showground Market, GASP!, MONA and Glenorchy LINC,” she said.

“These stories and images capture some of the overlooked, the surprising and the unusual features of a stretch of road that is so familiar to us all.”

The exhibition also includes creative stories and illustrations from young people who attend schools on the Brooker Highway, reimagining the life of the highway in new and exciting ways.

Fellow co-founder Emily Bullock said that as an organisation that worked with young people and their literacy, it was important to have their creative voices at the heart of the exhibition.

“So, with that in mind, we ran a series of creative writing workshops in schools including Austins Ferry Primary School, Montrose Bay High School and Claremont College,” she said.

“During these workshops, young people read some of the stories we collected from the community and developed creative responses to them.

“The workshops allowed students to learn more about their local area and its history, while also developing their confidence in literacy skills through creative writing.

“The students had lots of fun learning about local people such as Edward Brooker, a government minister who was responsible for conceiving the idea of a highway to link the northern suburbs with Hobart.

“We met his elderly daughter, Eileen, early on in the project, who told us all about her father and his plans for the highway.

“We recorded our interview with her and took it into some of the schools, which the students found really interesting.”

The Stories of the Brooker Highway exhibition will run at the Moonah Arts Centre until 16 September.

Caption: The Mercury, Photograph – Brooker Highway and Elwick Showground – aerial view, 1921-1981, Agent Generals’ Office, The Strand, London, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.