Tenterfield Soundtrails a great facility that needs more promotion, focus group says.

Sue Jurd provided a history of the Tenterfield Star building to Monday's tourists, via Soundtrails.
Sue Jurd provided a history of the Tenterfield Star building to Monday's tourists, via Soundtrails.

If you noticed a group of people in Rouse St on Monday, October 16 sporting earphones with smartphone or tablet in hand, it was probably the Soundtrails group giving Tenterfield’s hi-tech history tour a run through.

Soundtrails developers Hamish Sewell and Helen Wilkinson were in the region doing a tour of their Soundtrails installations, looking for feedback on how the facility is operating and on any room for improvement.

Developer Hamish Sewell was keen to get feedback from Soundtrails users.

Developer Hamish Sewell was keen to get feedback from Soundtrails users.

The Soundtrails phone app serves up location-based tidbits of location history and stories. It was a project of St Joseph’s School back in 2015 and has 17 focus points, including the Tenterfield Saddler, old Tenterfield Star building, the showgrounds, the flood piano and a host of other locations.

Feedback from Monday’s participants was very positive on the Soundtrails production qualities, and the appeal of the stories told by familiar voices (including that of the late, great Aub Gillespie) and embedded photos.

Post Office Corner is a rich source of heritage information.

Post Office Corner is a rich source of heritage information.

The general consensus of the group – which included Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism, Industry and Business president Vince Sherry and Tenterfield Shire Council’s business development manager Harry Bolton – was to invest more effort in publicising the availability of the self-guided tour, to locals and visitors alike.

Suggestions included pavers or plaques at each of the 17 stops, and Soundtrails postcards at local accommodation houses and businesses.

The Tenterfield Saddler is an obvious stopover on a Tenterfield tour.

The Tenterfield Saddler is an obvious stopover on a Tenterfield tour.

Tourism officer Caitlin Reid said Visitor Information Centre staff send an average of two to three groups a day onto Soundtrails, but possibly the tour could be better promoted at other stops along the trail.

Should a grant application be successful, free wifi in the CBD and a stock of smartphones and tablets to lend for the tour may also be on the cards. Miss Reid and her tourism counterparts in other New England districts are also cooperating to cross-promote each other’s Soundtrails.

Another participant suggested a Soundtrails ‘buddy’ system for locals to accompany tourists who may be nervous about using the technology.

It was Dr Ian Unsworth's first Soundtrails outing, and he enjoyed the experience.

It was Dr Ian Unsworth's first Soundtrails outing, and he enjoyed the experience.

Mr Sherry was very impressed by the facility and is keen to get local business operators to experience the trail, in order to share their enthusiasm with customers and become local ambassadors for the town and the project.

“It’s a fantastic piece of software,” he said.

He would like to see the Soundtrails logo displayed on the town’s entrance signs, perhaps with a QR code that visitors could scan to be taken straight to the app. A few quick questions at the completion of the tour asking participants for their feedback would also add to the tourism knowledge base.

The Soundtrails app detects your location and delivers some background history.

The Soundtrails app detects your location and delivers some background history.

Familiarise yourself

If you haven’t already done so, take a walk down memory lane by downloading the app, donning a set of earphones and hitting the street.

It’s all free, with iPhone and Android versions of the app available. Download  the Soundtrails app and then Tenterfield from the New England section. Give the app access to your location and you will hear familiar voices providing some background information whenever you step into one of the 17 zones.  They extend from the VIC north up Rouse St and around to the police station, before returning along Tenterfield Creek and up Miles St.

Enjoy this Soundtrails promo clip, and pick out the familiar places and faces...