Reflections on the (Wimmera) River: I Met Horsham

Woman is standing in bureau doorway:

“What are you doing? I said at the chemist- there’s a Bureau of Worthiness down there- what’s that? And they didn’t know either.”

we ask her the question…

“Not a damn thing. I’ve just signed my mother into care. So nothing. Yeah. I’m having a miserable day. Well, you made me laugh on the way past, anyway.”

Making our way through the fog to talk to the people of Horsham


Fragmentary thoughts in numbers: (An homage to a man who likes to score the events in his day out of ten)

1. What amazing crisp and cold mornings. Fogs and cold toes. Greys and David Lynchian white from a lookout. (9/10)

2. No bullshit. People were direct and to the point. No flowery, warm fuzzies or hippy vibes here. A quality that was quite becoming once you got used to it. (7/10)

3. The White Hart Hotel. I miss it already. The front bar with people deconstructing the news stories as they watch the tv together. Debating the issues. As Jimmy said ‘this is a real front bar.’ Yep. (8/10)

4. Parmas and pies. A lot of them. As our resident food reviewer can attest to- large variance in the bakeries within walking distance. (ranging from 5-8/10)

5. We got adopted. And we loved it. The ‘sham felt like a little home away from home for a minute there…(9/10)

6. Lastly, a little excerpt from the show for those of you who couldn’t make it…

I have this picture in my head when Jimmy tells me about talking with Tim. I see them in the shed- sharing ideas, stories and opening up about what their experiences have been growing up on a farm. I think about their relationships with their fathers, their grandfathers and I think about what it means to inherit. I realise the ways in which they are communicating- putting themselves at risk- no matter how small- making themselves vulnerable in front of a new acquaintance- is something that their fathers and grandfathers may never have done. As Tim had mentioned, men and emotions were not an easy thing- especially on the farm- especially with other men. I wonder how things have changed so quickly- how in just one generation these men have come to talk- to connect, to engage and be open with each other. These thoughts, this change and this human connection makes me feel warm inside. Yes,- it sounds obvious. Or like a throw away comment, but I really feel warm inside. I feel warmed by this taking place- by imagining the two of them, really enjoying each others company, really sharing themselves and the stories of their childhoods.

Funnily enough, when I asked Mark if the connectedness he felt had a sensation – he also said it felt like a warmth inside.

Maybe this warmth is especially noticeable with these cold mornings and nights in Horsham.


We are on a mini hiatus here at the bureau…

But please don’t hesitate to contact us with any news or visit our Facebook page.

Until next time…




Secret Flier Drop

The ABW put fliers on 347 cars at the Westfield Shopping Centre car park last week. On the fliers was the question, ‘What makes your day worth it?’ Nothing else, just that. We decided to do it after seeing a poster in Barcelona that had a whole series of questions & quotations on it. At the bottom of the poster was a tear off section, so you could take a question or a quote with you. I took the quote, Question Everything. Barcelona is still in the grip of post GFC crisis time, and this clearly was someone’s response to that. It wasn’t selling anything, it wasn’t advertising anything. We wanted to do something that wasn’t selling anything in a place where so many things are being sold. We wanted an antidote to the shopping mania that can sometimes overtake one in such a place. We wanted to ask more people than time could allow the question, and here was the way to do it. It was one of the most fun things I have ever done, even though there was not much to it. Thanks for your help Josie. Bureau member Emma BeechFlier on Bike

I MET MARION – Saturday, May 24 @ 3pm

The Bureau has been busy these last 2 months with preparations for I MET HORSHAM in June, and for I MET MARION, to be performed at the end May.

“I’m meeting Marion”, I tell my sister.  “What, the shopping centre?” she replies.

Bureau member Emma has been trekking to Marion via the train line on board trains so new that it feels like I am in a movie from the future. 

Whilst moving between the colourful Hindu Temple, walking with Sean – a young man with his iPad, hell bent on studying with people because studying alone is not working for him- and entering the Marion Library where Emma meets a volunteer who wonders if her husband has gone to a heaven or not, a man dressed in a Superman outfit pretending to fly out the door in glee, a group of babies joyously screaming along to a live version of the song, “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”, to then walking through the Bunnings car park and the surrounding suburbs with Ann, a young Kenyan woman who is “getting paid to be good but its not enough, there must be more to life than this, I owe it more than this.”   The day ending with a trip to the Marion Sports Club where a man tells me about his wife who has now gone, and Shaz who can count the years, days, & hours she has been at her job. That’s all on Day One.

I MET MARION will be performed at the Cooinda Community Centre (behind the Marion Council offices) at 245 Sturt Road, Sturt.  The Marion Council is putting on this show for FREE, with booking being essential with Anita on 8375 6692 or at

Come, meet some of people of Marion and find out if Marion is really more than a shopping centre. The performance will be followed by tea, coffee and biscuits.  

COMING SOON – The ABW meets Horsham – Art is… Festival

Late in May the team will be travelling to Horsham to continue their ongoing research.

More details as they come to hand.

Til then, here’s a link -


The boundary of the unknown


‘Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found. It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signs the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own. Scientists too, as J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked, “live always at the ‘edge of the mystery’ – the boundary of the unknown.” But they transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.’

-R. Solnit


Thanks go out to the lovely Cath Keneally for inviting us to speak on her show on Saturday morning.  Admittedly we were feeling a little surreal after having spent the last eighteen hours hanging out overnight on Hindley St.  Have a listen at the link below.


Australian Bureau of Worthiness – I Met Hindley Street – First Impressions from James Dodd on Vimeo.

Princes, Polites and Cacas are just the beginning

One of the many characters of Hindley Street.

One of the many characters of Hindley Street.

We have arrived…

In a lair that dwells underneath the infamous street, The A.B.W are sinking their toes into the steamy asphalt of Hindley Street, Adelaide.

Whilst all members of the Bureau have been here before, this visitation and investigation has already begun to challenge our preconceived notions of what we thought we once knew of this place.

The mythology that surrounds it, the assumed knowledge we have of it, the memories gained and lost on this street are truly fascinating us.

We have visited the Adult Bookshop, Quirky Stylin, Lucky Thai Bell, Phat Coffee and talked to many people on the street and passing through.

One man yesterday, when I complimented him on his singing voice as he pushed his frame along the uneven footpath said I was the first to ever think he had a good voice.

On the list of things to do are:

Go to Hellenic Travel

Go to Madame Josephine’s and Crazy Horse on the same night

Research Grimm’s Tales

Do a count of the CCTV cameras

Stay on Hindley Street overnight…

We are certainly only at the beginning of what is going to be a great and big time here on Hindley.

Stay tuned….


the A.B.W.