Historian Liz Caffery, former Nanango Mayor Reg McCallum and sound recording James Rose tried a test Soundtrail recording outside the former Nanango Dairy Co-Op building last week (Photo: Hamish Sewell)

June 10, 2019

In spring, tourists visiting Nanango should be able to take a guided tour around the town’s historic CBD using nothing but their mobile phone.

Using an app which they will download for free to their iPad or smartphone, they’ll be able to wander in and out of sound fields linked to GPS co-ordinates, hearing fascinating stories about the buildings and places they’re passing told by locals.

Later, they will also be able to revisit the Soundtrail on the Internet, where they will be able to see photos and videos of the places they visited which will expand each story even further.

They will also be able to explore a dozen other Soundtrails on the website that have already been created for places such as Nimbin, Tenterfield, Nambour and Moree.

The project to create a Nanango Soundtrail began late last year after freelance radio producer Hamish Sewell was invited to speak to members of the Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails’ committee at the group’s Christmas break-up in Nanango.

Also present were members of Nanango’s local history group, known as the Nanango History Room, which meets in the old schoolhouse in the Ringsfield complex.

They were excited by the concept and applied to Nanango’s Heritage Bank for a community grant to fund a “starter” Soundtrail for Nanango.

Heritage agreed to support the project, which meant Hamish was back in Nanango last week with a sound recordist to gather Soundtrail stories with former Mayor Reg McCallum and well-known local historian Liz Caffery.

In a few weeks, Hamish and his crew will be returning to Nanango for a three-day stay to record more stories with other people, along with gathering historic photos and videos so they can begin the editing process.

Mary Green, from the Nanango History Room, said she was absolutely delighted that Nanango’s Heritage Bank had backed the project.

“This has never been done in our region before,” Mary said.

“It uses everyday technology in a new way to provide a memorable tourism experience for visitors.

“Judging by the reaction we’ve had from everyone who’s heard about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if other South Burnett town Soundtrails were created in a few years, too.”

Mary said the History Room had a three-month timeframe to get the Soundtrail up and running, after which it will be promoted through Nanango’s Visitor Information Centre and Nanango RSL.

“Both these places have free wi-fi, so it will be easy for tourists to download the app and start wandering around town,” Mary said.

The History Room’s “starter pack” will include eight stories, but the Soundtrail can be upgraded to a 12 or 16-story package in the future.

“We’ll be able to get information from Soundtrails that will let us know how many people use the app, how many people visit the website and how long they spend with it,” Mary said.

“This will let us determine the best way to proceed if we want to upgrade this in the future.”

Mary said the History Room was seeking other voices to tell the town’s stories, and they would particularly like some young voices on the Soundtrail.

Anyone who would like to volunteer can phone Mary on (07) 4163-1266.

[UPDATED with correction]


Video: Excerpts from Tenterfield’s Soundtrail explain how the concept works

Soundtrails – like this one from Nimbin in northern NSW – can also be explored on the Internet accompanied by historic photos and videos

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