Dan Wookey with Darren Osborn.
Dan Wookey with Darren Osborn. Craig Warhurst

Gympie creative hub booming

GYMPIE is quietly earning itself a reputation in the creative industries as a major hub, attracting fabulous, talented people to the region and keeping young local artists from leaving town.

It’s a cultural shift being generated through a variety of music projects developed by Doctor Geoff Walden, who has been plugging away at reversing the “brain drain” by encouraging individual creativity, skill and talent.

Through the Australian Institute of Country Music and the Country Music School of Excellence, Dr Walden has been instrumental in getting Gympie on track to become one of the nation’s major music centres.

And the Gympie Regional Council has realised the potential this has for creating wealth and jobs. A meeting was arranged by Council’s Economic Development Unit for a selection of business operators and interested parties to discuss forming a creative industries network for the region.

Strong support was received and the focus is now on getting the region recognised for its “uniqueness” and to develop it into a “creative capital”.

“We as employers, business people and stakeholders in the future of our region need to encourage creativity at all levels,” Dr Walden said.

“Employers, employees, youth and all in the community can be encouraged to develop their creativity and so help the development of our region.”

Deputy Mayor and Community and Economic Development Committee chairman Counsellor Tony Perrett said there were many advantages of developing a creative industry in Gympie.

“The benefits of developing creative industries for the region (are) wealth and jobs through the generation and use of intellectual property,” he said.

“Creative industries can include music, performing arts, film, television, radio, advertising, games and interactive content, writing, publishing, architecture, design, and visual arts.”

The initial meeting was to gauge interest and now that has been established, Council is calling for more businesses and people working in the creative industries around the region to help the network develop further.

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