In the early 1970s two Riverina school girls shared the long coach ride home from boarding school in Melbourne to the Jerilderie plains.
The journey took five hours in those days.
They arrived in Jerilderie in the dead of night before they were ferried home to their respective family’s sheep farms.
Then Sue Maslin and Rosalie Ham went in different directions for 30 years until they met up again in Melbourne about a decade ago.
Film producer and former The Scots School Albury student Maslin had read the best-selling Australian novel The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham published in 2000, knowing there could only be one Rosalie Ham writing about the Australian plains.
Maslin tracked down Ham before they reconnected, regularly having a hit of golf.
Five years later The Dressmaker had still not been made into a film and Ham offered it to her friend.
“I loved the book; it says something about growing up on the plains,” Maslin said.
The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Liam Hemsworth, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14 and its Australian premiere in Melbourne on October 18.
Maslin, who was raised at Pooginook Merino Stud, and Ham, from Lara Plains, Jerilderie, have travelled around the country to promote the film.
They have been blown away with the reception, particularly from women who have dressed up in their finest vintage threads.
The Jerilderie gathering was the icing on the cake.
“At the civic reception at Jerilderie 250 women all brought their fine bone china and organised a high tea with beautiful cakes and sponges circa 1950s,” Maslin said.
Having not been back to the town’s reception centre since 1976, Maslin was quick to point out it was for a very different assignment.
“I was dressed up as Miss Pooginook for the Miss Riverina Merino Field Days ‘76!”
Maslin will attend the opening of The Dressmaker in Albury in late October.
“I’m very excited to bring the film to the Riverina because it’s where it all started and where our hearts still are,” Maslin said.