‘Keeping the Ball in the Air’

by | Jul 23, 2019 | Blog, Community, Oral History

Everyone loves the Silver Ball

It is hard to imagine Warrnambool without the FJ’s Silver Ball on the skyline, but just a few years ago its future was in jeopardy.

Full of rust and a public safety concern, the ball was going to go unless someone put the money into fixing it up.

Back in 2014 when Tonia Wilcox started up the Save the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball Gardens Facebook page, she had no way to knowing what a following and impact it would have.

It was through this facebook page that the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & factory was saved from a demolishment from neglect. It was also through this facebook page that an outpouring of public love for the Silver Ball was expressed, along with stories of the FJ’s factory in its heyday.

Those stories, videos and photos shared on the facebook page inspired the FJ’s community stories project and the development of a website. It also inspired the creation of this 30 min documentary titled ‘Keeping the Ball in the air.’

Keeping the Ball in the air from First Ladies – Colleen Hughson on Vimeo.

In a world where social media gets so much bad press, the FJs campaign story is a great example of how social media can work effectively; how it can create social change and how it can connect people and create community.

There are plenty of people owed thanks to the telling of this story. As the filmmaker, I’d like to acknowledge that the film was made with crowd-sourced media. I’d like to thank all the people who made this film possible through contributing their photos, videos, newspaper clippings, artwork images and documentary memorabilia.

Keeping the ball in the air is the story of the community campaign to save the Fletcher Jones site from demolition by neglect. The campaign focused on the Silver Ball and Fletcher Jones Gardens. The movie was made for the FJ Stories Project and funded by the Isobel and David Jones and FJ Foundations. Narrated by Derek Guille.


Save the Silver Ball and Fletchers Gardens Facebook Page

Video: Interview with Jack Cable

Video: Heritage Victoria announces grant to fix the Silver Ball