Coota gnome rescue immortalised in film

 GREAT GNOME RESCUE: Gnome Rescue Team members help clear the life’s passion of the late Shirley Elford from her Warren Sub home in 2009. The gnomes have found new homes and are featured in an upcoming film Gnomebrook.
GREAT GNOME RESCUE: Gnome Rescue Team members help clear the life’s passion of the late Shirley Elford from her Warren Sub home in 2009. The gnomes have found new homes and are featured in an upcoming film Gnomebrook.

REMEMBER the 1500 garden gnomes rescued from the late Shirley Elford’s home in 2009 by the ‘Gnome Rescue Squad’, complete with white coats and obligatory little red hats?

The entire mission forms part of a brand new feature length documentary. 

Mrs Elford had been an avid collector of the vertically challenged garden ornaments amassing an enormous collection and when she passed away they were donated to the Lower Blue Mountains Rotary Club in Glenbrook, which for one day a year (Australia Day) is turned into ‘Gnomebrook’ with the staging of the Annual Gnome Convention.

The entire concept, while a little left of centre has picked up momentum and each year up to 10,000 people attend the annual convention which is considered the ‘spiritual home for Australia’s gnomes’. 

Cootamundra’s gnomes and the great gnome rescue of 2009 are folklore at the convention. 

Following their rescue and temporary relocation to the lower Blue Mountains, the gnomes were rescued, restored and have since been adopted out to caring homes, complete with adoption certificate. 

The most stringent terms of adoption required that the Cootamundra gnomes be returned to Glenbrook Park each year for the annual Australian Gnome Convention. 

It began with about 100 gnomes in its first year and has grown to attract thousands each year, with many travelling from overseas to attend. 

The 10th Annual Australian Gnome Convention was held this year and along the way the concept has picked up interest from movie producers. 

‘Gnomebrook’ is essentially a documentary on the convention and details the Cootamundra convention. 

Film producer Murray Fahey said the film will include flashbacks to the Cootamundra rescue mission as well as interviews with some of the people involved including ‘Gnome Master’ David Cooke. 

The entire convention is backed by Rotary and all funds raised go to help Rotary projects around the world. 

It is being released in early November and a special Cootamundra screening of the film and Gnome Reunion has been organised for Friday, November 7. 

Affiliates of the film will be on hand to answer questions from the audience before the film is screened. 

Amongst those returning to watch the film is former Cootamundra resident Donald Cohen who now lives in Campbelltown. He heard about the gnomes on the radio and ‘adopted’ one, painting it blue and white in honour of the Cootamundra Bulldogs. 

Keep an eye on the Herald for more on the film screening.