Ballarat sets the scene for new TV series

September 20, 2021 BY

Action: Mabel Li as Cheung Lei, and Yoson An as Leung Wei Shing in New Gold Mountain. Photo: SUPPLIED

BALLARAT will soon hit the small screen when murder mystery period piece, New Gold Mountain, airs on SBS next month.

The Goalpost Television production explores the wild west that was Ballarat in 1857, and the tensions that rise between European, American and Chinese miners after a woman’s body is discovered on the outskirts of a Chinese camp.

Producer of the four-part series, Kylie du Fresne, said while the show is set in the nation’s past, its contemporary relevance still stands.

“In Australia we certainly have never really explored deeply that the Chinese were so instrumental in the success of the Goldfields,” she said.

“If you look at the success of what the Goldfields did building Melbourne and the money that it brought to the state and to the country, there was something like 10,000 Chinese miners who were instrumental in that.”

New Gold Mountain cast and crew spent some two weeks, or about one third, of total shooting time at Sovereign Hill to create the show.

It’s the first period TV series ever commissioned by SBS, and Ms du Fresne said the location allowed the series to be an accurate historical representation of life in the region over 150 years ago.

“Sovereign Hill was so instrumental in the realisation of this series, there’s just no way that we could’ve made this show and put to screen what a period correct 1850s Ballarat main street and all the various buildings that go with that was,” she said.

“We could never have afforded to do that ourselves, it was like having this amazing Hollywood backlot to ourselves which is far beyond the normal resources for Australian period shows.

“The series would not have existed I don’t think if we couldn’t have shot at Sovereign Hill, and we really designed and wrote the storylines around that location and that museum.”

Ms du Fresne said she hoped Ballarat viewers would react “with a great sense of pride” to the series, with the first episode scheduled to premiere on Wednesday, 13 October at 9.30pm on SBS.

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