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
In a previous post I mentioned how I had reconnected to an old photo trip that I made in the 1980s in the VW Kombi to Mantung and Galga in the South Australian Mallee. However, I didn’t mention that I had some re-photography possibilities in mind. On the earlier trip I made several black and white photos with a large format camera ( these are in my film gallery on the Mallee Routes website), and… 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.
I made a day trip into the South Australian mallee along the Karoonda Highway on Tuesday. Elders Weather website said that there would be rain, cloud and sunshine on that day–conditions that are more congenial for my style of photography than the blues skies and sunshine that was forecast for the next 5 days including Easter. The dryland region along the Karoonda Highway was new territory for me, as I’d only… Read More
The latest issue of the Griffith Review is No 55 and it is about the future of a post-colonial South Australia. The issue is entitled State of Hope and it is edited by Julianne Schultz and Patrick Allington and it consists of short essays and memoir, fiction pieces and poetry, and photo stories. Authors include Robyn Archer, John Spoehr, Peter Stanley, Angela Woollacott, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Chris Wallace, Dennis Atkins, Nicholas Jose, and Ali Cobby Eckermann. This is an Adelaide and… Read More
It was an opportunistic scoping trip. I needed to reconnect with the project after Tasmania, to explore the towns along the Mallee Highway, to reconnect with people in Murrayville, and to assess whether I needed to camp for several days to do the large format photography that I had in mind.
The various images in this digital portfolio are of the South Australian and Victorian Mallee. They have been taken with a digital camera on various road trips. Though I mostly use a digital camera to scope images for my film photos in the Mallee Routes project, sometimes these digital sketches stand on their own. Often the sketches are better than the subsequent film images, primarily because I happened to be there… Read More
I noticed this silo when I was driving from Lameroo to Karoonda on my way back to Victor Harbor after the silo photoshoot at Lameroo. It was near a little hamlet or settlement called Kulkami in the southern Mallee. There was no railway line near the silo. It was late in the afternoon and the burst of sunlight had gone by the time that I’d walked around the fenced area to find the right position or perspective to photograph… Read More
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.
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.