Supermarket films Christmas advertisement featuring musicians and athletes in Harston Memorial Hall.By John Lewis
A small Shepparton district town hall has hit the national spotlight after hosting a secret party packed with Australian and international celebrities.
Harston Memorial Hall was selected as the location for the latest series of Coles supermarket television advertisements.
They feature Aussie Olympic champions Cathy Freeman and Sally Pearson, celebrity chef Curtis Stone and British rockers Status Quo.
Hall secretary West Tyson said the advertisement was made early last month, with a crew staying about five days while the celebrities were helicoptered in for a day.
‘‘They came up on a Sunday, got the props and everything sorted out and decked the hall out,’’ Mr Tyson said.
The minute-long ad shows Freeman, Pearson and Stone partying along with 120 Harston and Tatura district people while Status Quo plays its 2008 single It’s Christmas Time. The band uses its big red ‘‘prices are down’’ guitars first featured in a previous Coles ad with the song Down Down.
Mr Tyson said he believed the hall was chosen for the campaign by someone in the production company who knew someone in Tatura.
‘‘They were looking for an old hall in the country — the first I knew was when I got a phone call from them,’’ he said.
He said Coles had made a ‘‘substantial’’ donation to the hall committee.
‘‘The ladies on the committee are looking at a new kitchen,’’ he said.
He said the filming was strictly hush-hush.
‘‘We had to keep it a bit quiet, we weren’t allowed to talk about it,’’ he said.
He said everyone involved had a great time.
‘‘It was just like it looks on the commercial — a great big party. It was really good. They catered for everybody and brought up their own toilets and power plants,’’ he said.
Mr Tyson said the film crew also visited Rushworth. He believed there were other Coles clips featuring Harston and Rushworth in the pipeline leading up to Christmas.
Mr Tyson said the hall and surrounds were undergoing a new lease on life with fundraising concerts and working bees helping to maintain the 65-year-old buildings once used as hospital huts at the Tatura Internment Camps during World War II.
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