When I was at the Morgan photo camp with Gilbert Roe in early November I noticed that the stretch of land around Morgan and Waikerie was increasingly being transformed by the ongoing clearing of the original mallee scrub and its replacement by irrigation in the form of irrigated agriculture. This is a landscape is one of red sands, the Murray River and gum trees and the horticultural crops now being grown appear to… Read More
In late July Gilbert Roe and myself had a 5 day camp at Lake Lascelles in Hopetoun, which is in the northern western part of the Wimmera Mallee in Victoria . It was a winter camp and it was very cold at night with sub zero temperatures in the early morning. On the last morning of the camp there was heavy fog in Hopetoun, which meant a midday departure, since the tent’s fly… Read More
I had planned to go on a roadtrip to the Mallee this week on my own, but an infected tooth has seen that trip cancelled. Instead I am reading Don Watson’s book The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia (2016). From what I can gather the book is based Watson buying a 4WD in 2009 and setting off across the eastern part of the country on a road trip. Along the way he… Read More
Photographing the rural landscapes of the Mallee country needs to be distinguished from the idyllic pastoral tradition in Australian visual culture that in the Heidelberg tradition emphasised the tamed farmland with its abundance of natural resources. The artists represent this in the almost mandatory blue and gold palette. This form of pastoralism refers to representations of a rural landscape during the European colonial settlement of the land, with its sheep grazing and cropping,… Read More
This part of the South Australia Mallee is an empty landscape. It has been de-populated. An example of the process of depopulation in this landscape the East Murray Area School, which used to have around 270 pupils in the 1960s and it now has 19 pupils.
The wheat was everywhere whilst I was on the Hopetoun road trip. I took a few 35mm snapshots of the dryland wheat fields with my old film Leica (an M4-P) whilst I was on my way back to our campsite at Hopetoun from Sea Lake. I’d been to Lake Tyrrell that afternoon to look for the remains of an old salt works butI didn’t have much luck. I just couldn’t find it. The… Read More
I have another Mallee trip planned in early November with my base camp being at Murrayville. So I took the opportunity whilst traveling along the Calder Highway between Ouyen and Mildura to rendezvous with Judith Crispin to go to Lajamanu in the northern Tanami Desert to do a little exploring and photographic scoping. As I hadn’t been on the Calder Highway before so I was interested in seeing what this part of… Read More
We–Gilbert Roe, Eric Algra and myself-— are having an exhibition at the Atkins Photo Lab gallery opening October 7th, 2016. This is a kick starter exhibition for the project, as it were. We each have an individual section in the gallery for our images and a common space of shared images. It will be minimal from my perspective–I have the least number of the images in the exhibition- only 5 images— but I do have a number… Read More
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.