Travelling along the Mallee Routes I see ‘The Mallee’ as it is now, and the traces of the way it was. The past is entwined with the present. Different cultures leave behind different traces. Modern human endeavour has a dramatic effect on the environment leaving behind altered landscapes criss-crossed with new and old structures. And there is destruction and the detritus of neglect. No areas within the Mallee have not been untouched;… Read More
The various images in this portfolio are of the South Australian and Victorian Wimmera Mallee. They have been taken with a variety of film cameras over a number of years. The first four black and white images are from my archives, and they made in the 1980s. The cameras used are primarily medium and large format (5×7 and 5×4).
Today these war memorials embody the Anzac Legend, which continues to lie at the centre of Australian identity. The Anzac Legend holds that Australian War Memorials represent the soul of the nation. The Legend’s current function and place within Australian culture is that of a creation story: it distills the Australian identity in one historical moment–the nation was born on the battlefields of Gallipoli. It is a creation story— nations are made in war—-but one that excludes the Frontier Wars in our Anzac Day commemorations.
Although it is the grain silos along the old railway lines that dominate the landscape in the Mallee, the odd-looking, elevated water towers also stand out in the regional landscape.
The decaying and empty houses in the dying small towns is one of the most obvious features of the Mallee in South Australia and Victoria, and it is largely the result of the de-population of the inland countryside that started in the late 20th century around the 1970s. An era was coming to a close.
Around lunch time whilst travelling south on the Mallee Highway I encountered a dust storm sweeping across the sun drenched agricultural landscape from the south west.
One notable aspect of the Mallee in the Murray-Darling Basin is that, apart from the various national parks, it primarily consists of agricultural landscapes, small towns, and minimal, scrappy native vegetation along the side of the roads.