Bendigo Community Bank Sunshine Coast

Banking on a local film industry with Bendigo Community Bank Sunshine Coast

Image source: IN Noosa Magazine

How good was going to the bank in the 1970s? Bet you didn’t think you’d ever read an article starting with that sentence. But it’s true. As a young kid growing up in Nambour in the 70s, going to the bank downtown on Friday arvo was killer. 

For one, the place was packed with people getting out cash to last them the weekend. It was a sociable little outing – causing trouble with your schoolmates and half the town. And secondly, getting cash wasn’t as boring as using a hole in the wall. No way. Dad had to fill out a little passbook (the size and colour of a passport), drop it in a long slide thing that sent it through a labyrinth (probably passing Maxwell Smart and a room of secret agents) to a magical box waiting for attention. 

I’d sit in line on a smooth bench seat with Dad, wait maybe five or ten minutes sharing yarns, then Dad’s name was called. That’s when the fun started. The tellers always had fantastic banter or stories. They reminded me of hairdressers, the kind that double as a counsellor but in a short-sleeve button-up shirt. All sorts of small and large talk was shared at the counter – “how someone got arrested at the local show,” or “old mate footy legend signed to Valleys to play with Wally Lewis.”

My mate’s Dad was a full-on alpha male teller whose self-esteem was destroyed when ATMs came in. The Madmen-1970s-alpha’s time was numbered in more ways than one though, because tellers weren’t the most politically correct animals. I ran into a former teller working in the Peregian Beach Post Office years later. He was trying to relive the glory days but was obviously struggling to get any traction. In his desperation he’d replaced his jokes with conspiracy theories, telling me (still in my early 20s) that a large Asian country was infiltrating Australia’s electricity supply and we’d all experience a giant blackout before they suddenly invaded with a millions-strong army. I was aware enough to tell him he was an idiot. He shrugged, nonplussed, then proceeded to tell the next people in line the same story. 

So, why the heck am I talking about banks? Because I went into one the other day that reminded me of the glory days. Not because it was full of alpha, joke telling, pub legends. Instead, it was full of smiling staff keen to chat, have a joke, and make you feel welcome. 

I’m talking about Bendigo Bank Community Bank – Tewantin/Noosa. Yeah, yeah, it sounds like an advert, so I’m gonna come clean. It sort of is. I’m not ashamed of it, because this crew are sponsoring the event I’ve co-founded – the Sunny Coast Showdown – and I’m giving them a plug for a good reason. No, not just a good reason, several good reasons, so bear with me. 

Firstly, and mainly, because the blossoming film and TV industry on the Sunshine Coast needs them. They were the only big business that really believed the Sunny Coast Showdown (me, US Survivor producer Dan Munday and the Sunshine Coast Screen Collective) were worth backing with big funding. The Sunny Coast Showdown is a not-for-profit talent incubator where locals win funding, support and mentoring to produce their own film and TV ideas. It’s part of a push by local film and TV workers to build a sustainable industry that could employ hundreds, maybe thousands of people. And that means your kids. Not just creative kids, but those who want to be on a film set somewhere local.

Showdown co-founder Dan Munday says it best: “A vibrant Film industry employs all types of people… not just actors and directors… doctors, lawyers, chefs and builders… it also puts heads in hotel beds and hires fleets of cars, generators and “stuff”. The Gold Coast brought in hundreds of million dollars last year to its local community… We have the talent, the locations and the drive to do the same. But it takes individuals, businesses and government be proactive not reactive – build it and they will come!”

And cop this: Bendigo Bank Community Bank (Marcoola, Cooroy, Tewantin/Noosa) returns 80% of their profits to the community. It’s part of their charter, so partnering with Showdown to help grow an emerging industry was perfect. Them coming to the party made Showdown possible in 2023 and in 2024. The event would not have happened without them. 

However, Chair of Sunshine Coast Community Services (BBCB), Trish Radge says the partnership with Showdown works both ways. 

“[Showdown followers are] a much younger demographic. Young people don’t come into the bank, it’s not the done thing. But if we can connect with them and tell them our story through the Sunny Coast Showdown, even if they’re signing up for online banking, that benefits us, the more money we can give back (to the community).”

So I’m plugging BBCB (Marcoola, Cooroy, Tewantin/Noosa) because it not only has a wicked vibe in the branch (see the photos of our kids signing up for accounts), but it’s one way people can support a local film and TV industry and a raft of community organisations.

Now, where’s my passbook gone?!

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