Shepparton Festival flood stories: An Item of Connection with Kristen Retallick and Cam Matheson


This interview first aired on Friday the 20th of October, 2023 on ONE FM 98.5 Shepparton.

One FM Breakfast announcer Terri Cowley talks to the Director of the Shepparton Festival Kristen Retallick and photographer Cam Matheson about the upcoming exhibition Shepparton Festival flood stories: An Item of Connection.

Where were you during the 2022 Floods?

After one year, the people of Greater Shepparton and across Victoria are recovering from the floods. This project is designed to create space for conversation and story sharing that is just as important as physical and property recovery. The aim of this project is not only to represent our grief and recovery but to celebrate our community and tell our story of resilience and healing.

From October 2023 until the end of the year, a series of portrait photo sessions will “pop-up” at different locations around flood affected areas of the Goulburn Valley. The portraits will be of people who experienced the floods in different ways and have a story they would like to share. The photographs will be shown in a large-scale outdoor exhibition in Shepparton as part of the 2024 Shepparton Festival before touring to surrounding communities.

Each participant having their portrait taken is asked to bring an object to be photographed with to help us talk about and represent all of our very different experiences throughout the floods. We would also like to record your story in audio to accompany the photographs on the Shepparton Festival website.

The sessions at Mooroopna Education and Activity Centre on Monday 15th November and Shepparton South Community Centre on Tuesday 16th November will also include an art making activity with a local visual artist if you would like to record your story this way as well or instead.

These are drop in sessions, so come along any time between the times of each session. Your photo and story recording should take between 5 and 10 minutes, but can be longer if you need more time. Bring an item that could symbolise what you lost, that you rediscovered cleaning up, something related to volunteer work, something that gained significance during the floods, or represents a positive experience, even a person connected to your healing process.

Cam Matheson has been a documentary and portrait photographer for thirteen years. He was born and raised in Tatura and is now a Toolamba resident. On October 15th he lost all of his personal possessions to the flood.

To find out more head to the Shepparton Festival website –

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