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People’s Republic of Mallacoota: There Goes Our Dance Floor (S1EP2 ABC TV Tues 12 April 2022)

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There Goes Our Dance Floor: In this episode, just as Mallacoota is coming to terms with the trauma and devastation of the Black Summer bushfires, it’s hit by the double whammy of Covid-19. Residents like Cate Tregellas worry about the town’s mental health as it lurches from one disaster to the next, but teacher Jess Van Swol – who lost her home in the bushfires – takes solace in the stillness that descends upon the town in the wake of the pandemic.

Having asked the shire, state and federal governments to let them take control of their own recovery, Mallacoota’s citizens are impatient to get on with the job and elect a team to lead their recovery. But figuring out what each of the candidates stands for is no easy task when the whole town is stuck in lockdown.

As bulldozers move into Mallacoota to raze its burnt-out houses, some residents ask clean-up crews to search for personal mementoes hidden among the wreckage.

Local photojournalist Rachel Mounsey chronicles the objects they find as if documenting an Australian Pompeii. Artist Don Ashby returns to his cleared block and begins the daunting task of rebuilding his home from scratch.

Five months after the bushfires, the election results for the Mallacoota & District Recovery Association (MADRA) are in. Reflecting the divisions that have riven the town in the past, the 12 people chosen to lead its recovery are a diverse bunch of traditionalists and progressives, conservationists and shooting enthusiasts. Will it be a model for community politics or a recipe for disaster?

Airdate: Tuesday 12 April 2022 at 8.00pm on ABC TV.

Season 1 Episode 2