The Block: Stories From a Meeting Place

The Block, a residential area in Redfern, Sydney, was established in 1973. Located on land traditionally inhabited by the Gadigal people, it quickly became known as a place for the Indigenous community: “a place where people converge to share their stories and to release their pain. For the Stolen Generations in particular, it is a place to reconnect with long lost family members.”

A brand new web documentary, ‘The Block’, has spent two years documenting the lives of residents in the run up to their eviction in 2011. Although the project draws attention to the stories of drugs, crime and tragedy, but there have been other, richer stories as well. This varied approach has led to something that provides a complex narrative, that captures the spirit of the community.

The interviews were mostly shot on location on the Block using Canon 5D cameras and the footage was edited with Final Cut Pro. The site was designed in Photoshop and Illustrator, and built in Flash, the final product looking like a really intense, highly stylised version of Google maps; an interface that is both familier and easy to use. To find out more about the design and interactive elements, click here.

Other features of the project include a timeline of events using rare material from the SBS archives, an ambient soundscape crafted by Xavier Fijac and innovative panoramic photography by Peter Murphy. The 15 interviews have been sub-titled in Chinese, Arabic, French and English. Audiences can also listen to the interviews in Dharug, the language group from which Gadigal derives, making the project as inclusive as possible. Users are also invited to share their experiences of the Block, as well as enter discussions about the future of the Block, civil rights and hardship within the community.

Visit to explore to web documentary in full.