Murray River Council, NSW
Horseshoe Lagoon, Moama’s wetland and floodplain reserve, is home to native birds, animals, plants and fish. A community survey identified that this space was underutilised, in need of rejuvenation to connect community to the natural landscape and to provide a safe and inclusive precinct after dark.
As a result, an exciting and creative approach to placemaking was trialled through innovative and economic lighting solutions which gave Council the opportunity to improve attractiveness of open public spaces whilst strengthening arts and cultural activity to drive community participation and contribute to economic recovery.
The restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 meant that the open public space needed to be carefully managed to ensure social distancing and contact tracing. As such, Moama Lights was born. A free, ticketed event, illuminating our iconic red gum bushland and legendary river using never seen before sound and lighting treatments for an original and immersive experience telling local stories of our region’s indigenous culture, riverboat heritage, natural environment and modern day.
Moama’s location on the banks of the Murray River makes it a major tourist attraction. The impacts of COVID 19 have been profound on the visitor economy with ongoing travel restrictions and border closures from our key source market of Victoria. 15,000 visitors attended the event with a local economic impact in excess of $7.8m.
A collaborative community approach ensured the success of the inaugural event. Marketing materials were developed and distributed to local tourism operators; a colouring competition in partnership with local media for school aged children to depict why they love Echuca Moama; local artwork and storytelling through partnership with Yorta Yorta Nations Corporation and Njernda. Artwork and drawings were etched into glass and projected across the reserve.
Volunteers made up of Council Staff and Local businesses worked in excess of 700 hours across the 15 x nights of the event.
After a huge success in its first year, Moama Lights will become an annual event on Murray River Councils Calendar.