Legend of Buffrey revealed

THANKS to not-for-profit arts organisation Ifinc, the truth behind a 140 year old Wagga folk legend has been revealed in the city.

A huge crowd packed North Wagga's beloved Black Swan Hotel on Sunday to witness the members of Ifinc bring the legend of hulking 1870s hotelier Charles Buffrey and a intimidating white bull to life.

Cellist Clare Brassil said Ifinc was inspired to bring the hallowed tale to the stage after discovering a member of the group was a descendent of the colourful and well-known Buffrey.

Already a familiar face in Wagga in the 1870s, Buffrey ensured he would go down in history with an incredible ride on a dangerous, unpredictable and uncontrollable bull.

"The story goes that a circus came to town and with the circus came a huge white bull which no one could ride," she said.

"We don't know which it was, but it was either by dare or bet that Buffrey accepted the challenge to ride the bull and he did.

"There isn't a lot of written history about it (the rider) but Dame Mary Gilmore, a well-known Wagga poet, wrote to author Allan Marshall about it.

"She recalled seeing it happen when she was a little girl ... She is quoted as saying Buffrey made the bull go 'quiet as a lamb'."

According to stories, Buffrey rode the bull down the main street of Wagga, now North Wagga, and finished at the front of The Black Swan.

"The Black Swan was the perfect venue for us to put on the show because it featured so prominently in the story," Clare said.

"It is also Wagga's oldest pub and a beautiful venue that certainly looks the part ... You can get a feel for what life was like in the 1800s."

The poly media arts collective worked on the production for 12 months, tackling the project after the idea for the story was raised by creator Matthew Brassil.

"My brother reads very widely and is very interested in the history of the Wagga area," she said.

"He knew of the story a bit and when he started investigating it, he thought it should be something that was celebrated.

"It really is a fascinating story, but it seems to have got lost over the years."

Only shortly after the group settled on Bull as their performance for 2013, Ifinc discovered an existing connection to the famed rider.

"It turns out our guitarist is a great, not sure how many greats, grandson of Buffreys," Clare said.

"Buffrey was the descendent of convicts, and there are still some of his descendants still living in Wagga."

Sunday's performance featured whip cracking, a historical talk, poetry, a mechanical bull, a punk rock band and talented soprano singers.

Ifinc formed in the city in 2011 to give local musicians, singers, writers and designers an outlet for their creativity. "The members do work but culture and art and performing remains an important part of their life and something they find enjoyable," she said.

People interested in finding out more about the group can email info@ifinc.org.au.

SHOWTIME: Ifinc’s production of “Bull” at the Black Swan was hailed a huge success thanks to the hardwork and dedication of cast and crew members, (left) Dave Lloyd, Liz Woods, Anna Swift, director Matthew Brassil, soprano Judy Marshall, musicians Lauren Davis, Harley Greer, Dave Delaney, Clare Brassil, Ross Kennedy and Wayne Pigram. Picture: Alastair Brook

SHOWTIME: Ifinc’s production of “Bull” at the Black Swan was hailed a huge success thanks to the hardwork and dedication of cast and crew members, (left) Dave Lloyd, Liz Woods, Anna Swift, director Matthew Brassil, soprano Judy Marshall, musicians Lauren Davis, Harley Greer, Dave Delaney, Clare Brassil, Ross Kennedy and Wayne Pigram. Picture: Alastair Brook

ON SONG: Musicians perform at the Black Swan as part of Ifinc’s production titled Bull. Picture: Alastair Brook

ON SONG: Musicians perform at the Black Swan as part of Ifinc’s production titled Bull. Picture: Alastair Brook

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