The community radio workshop by Gilla McGuiness and his son Johnny Mac for
Aboriginal prisoners at Port Phillip Prison.
Beyond the Bars airs on 3CR (855AM) July 6 and 7, from 11am to 2pm (Dame
Phyllis Frost Centre and Barwon Prison), July 8, from noon to 2pm (Fulham
Prison) and July 9, noon to 4pm (Port Phillip Prison).
"...Wayne is an inmate at Port Phillip Prison. When he talks about the
beginning, he's talking about his first spell inside. That was nine years
ago, when he was 17. He rolls the word "juvies" (juvenile detention)
around in his mouth like most of us might say "high school".
Wayne and I meet in the prison chapel at noon on a Friday afternoon. We're
there for the same reason, to attend a workshop for Beyond the Bars, a
live broadcast by indigenous prisoners that takes place each year during
National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee Week. Led by
veteran broadcaster Gilla McGuiness and his son, Johnny Mac, the workshop
is attended by 15 prisoners, some of whom, like Wayne, have taken part in
the program since its inception in 2002. As Wayne tells me, this is both a
good and a bad thing: good that the broadcast's gone from strength to
strength, bad that he's still in prison to take part in it.
Beyond the Bars was conceived by Shaun Braybrook, who back in 2001 worked
as Port Phillip's indigenous liaison officer. "Basically I went to my
boss, who happened to be the head of a maximum security prison, and asked
him if we could have a radio show," Braybrook says of the project's
beginnings. "He said 'It's a good idea. Go ahead, talk to the people you
need to talk to and come back to me'." It was all the encouragement
Braybrook needed. He tracked down an old mate from his days at the Fitzroy
Stars Football Club, celebrated musician Kutcha Edwards, approached 3CR
community radio, and together they drafted a plan...."
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