It might have taken 86 years, but the town of Bermagui – our Club's home port, finally got to see the film, that arguably made Bermagui Australia's first 'Big Game Fishing' destination.
In collaboration and with the tremendous support of the Bermagui Big Game Anglers Club and Bermagui Country Club, more than 100 locals and town visitors packed the Bermagui Country Club's auditorium on Saturday March 7th to watch 2 showings of our pioneering game fishing documentary, The First Marlin.
Club Vice President Scott Gowland who was in attendance for the Alliance Tag and Release Game Fishing Tournament and his young family ran the screening, with Scott providing a detailed introduction (and a screenwriters and directors take) to the audience on the original films importance to Australian Game Fishing and the world, as well as running through the important role the Club's new documentary had made towards preserving local history and education. Scott also touched on the visits of Zane Grey and Michael Lerner to Bermagui, acknowledging how today many of the town's points of interests honour these men's names and how the original film played a large part in promoting Big Game Fishing in Australia to the world.
Scott also ran a question and answer session with the audience after the documentaries screening. Many in attendance took time to discuss aspects of Bermagui's rich fishing history and how many of them had family relations that also played key roles in the town emergence as a fishing destination. It made for some very emotional moments and highly interesting requests for future video works relating to the towns history. Allan Douch and Dave Cotton from the Bermagui Historical Society along with volunteers of the Bermagui Visitors Centre who came to watch the film, expressed great thanks for our Club taking the time to screen the film in Bermagui. Both these organisations, along with the BBGAC and the Country Club went to great lengths to promote the screening and ensure it had wonderful audience. We can't thank them enough.
"Tonight I got to see first hand how history makes a community and place. To have such a large number of people show thanks and applaud the Club and the BBGAC for bringing the original film and our documentary to the folk of Bermagui is really humbling. In a strange way I felt like Reg Lyne and his fellow STC members you saw in the original film tonight were sitting up the back watching this with you." Scott told the audience in is parting gesture.
The Club has planned to look at conducting more screenings of the documentary in the future. Already BBGAC and the Merimbula Game Fishing Club have expressed interest in show the film to more members, as have Game Fishing Club's in New Zealand. At this very point in time activities relating to setting up these screenings are on hold due to the global pandemic.
From a Club's perspective, this event played out as an extraordinary occasion, and just as wonderful as the first screening back in July 2019. It gave the town of Bermagui a wonderful historical marker on how Bermagui got its rightful place as a game fishing Mecca and worked on educating more people about our Club's history and tour place as pioneers in Australian game fishing.