So we had a great story - on paper. But how were we going to turn that into a film?
John Rainford and Mel Barnes had begun interviewing some fascinating Wollongong radicals, and that rapidly began to reveal the stories we needed to tell.
Neville Arrowsmith and Monica Chalmers are hardly the communist stereotypes - yet softly spoken, their stories nevertheless roar with life. Monica would talk one minute of her preparations to go underground as the Communist Party of Australia faced imminent banning, and the next would revealing her enjoyment of communist meetings at a particular party members house, due to the delicious scones she served! Neville recounted being a young communist on strike during the 1949 coal strike, and going on rabbiting trips to get food for those in need.
Lou Christofides gave the amazing tale of tearing up his conscription papers and getting active against the Vietnam War - including stopping trains, being jailed, trade union action and more (you have to see the film to get the full story!)
Nick Southall told of activists being hospitalised as they spent weeks outside a unemployment office collecting the names of every unemployed person in the Gong in order to organise resistance. Soon they occupied and took over a vacant house, and from there built a welfare rights centre which became a hub for unemployed activists.
Robynne Murphy's story could be a film in itself - the tale of working class women who took on Australia's biggest company at the time - BHP - and won! It's a story not just about inequality and women's rights, but also about unions, about migrant workers and challenging racism, about the power of united action...and importantly, about how to win!
Sharralyn Robinson told of the ongoing struggles of Aboriginal people in the region - from battling to be recognised as people, to defence of land and country. And Stop Coal Seam Gas Illawarra's Jess Moore and Chris Williams showed that the radical legacies of the past are continuing in today's people powered campaign against the 'fracking' CSG industry.
The story of Radical Wollongong was revealing itself - in the words of those who were an integral part of the struggle - yesterday and today.