Video transcript: High Country Comeback

This story and associated images and/or video was produced before physical distancing regulations were introduced in Victoria.

[Vision: Crowds of people visiting the market event of businesses from the high country - Musician singing and play guitar]

Georgina Jerums

We’re in Port Melbourne at a market event for high country businesses impacted by the recent bushfires.

Janelle Marsden - Managing Director, Feathertop Winery

[Vision: People mingling, chatting, visiting different vendors]

Obviously the whole region high country has been affected by the bushfires losing our tourism from January.

So the idea was why don’t we come up to Melbourne so they come back to us in the future?

[Vision: People enjoying wine, scones, chatting and enjoying the whole event - Janelle speaking]

So, you know, we’ve got wine and beer and cider and cheese and meats and horseback riding and mountain biking and a combination like the whole region’s been represented here today so that we can get you to all come back to us, but in the meantime take something home today.

[Vision: Different craft items on display, people chatting and enjoying themselves]

Gil Stark - Owner/Operator, Abide Leathergoods

We actually were quite lucky, we didn’t have to leave our house, but the tourism industry completely collapsed.

Tanya Stark - Owner/Operator, Abide Leathergoods

Within 24 hours.

[Gil speaking - Gil and Tanya Stark at the event, Tanya talking with people]

There was several days where we were all sort of on edge, the whole community was a bit on edge.

There was high winds and high temperatures and no-one quite knew what was going on.

Tanya Stark - Owner/Operator, Abide Leathergoods

Tourists were evacuated due to the smoke quality and threat, and that was pretty much overnight, and that has affected the businesses in our area hugely.

[Vision: Lady trying on necklace and talking with Gil]

A number of businesses had to close.

[Vision: Crowds of people at the event enjoying themselves and chatting with vendors and buying goods - Gil speaking - different vendors showing their goods - Gil speaking]

It just shows how people can really come together in the times that you need a bit of help and a bit of support from people.

And you only need to look around today to see how many people have been and what a buzz there is in the air, so it’s been really good.

Martin Young - Owner/Operator, Gravelmob

[Vision: Man carving meat - vision of mountain bike]

It’s been difficult certainly.

We had some cancellations in January, and to be honest if they hadn’t cancelled I would have rung them up and cancelled on their behalf, because the smoke was unbelievable.

[Vision: Man with child on his shoulders chatting with Martin and shaking his hand - Martin speaking]

We stayed inside for almost three days in a row.

And it’s been a little bit slow to pick up again since, so something like this event is fantastic.

Since the smoke cleared I’ve been for five or six just sensational rides.

The weather’s beautiful, the smoke’s gone,

[Vision: Map of Beechworth area - Martin speaking]

Yeah, I’d say get back up here it’s ready.

We’re all waiting for everyone to come back.

We want you all to come back.

[Vision of people at the event - Georgina speaking]

The high country is open for business, so why not book a trip there today and help the region get back on its feet.

[The Victorian Connection, people, communities & the economy - For more news and stories got to connection.vic.gov.au]

[Victoria State Government - Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne]

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