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.
One innovative representation of the Victorian Mallee that I came across whilst on the Hopetown phototrip in 2016 was the murals that were being painted on the silos throughout the Victorian north-west Mallee. One notable example was the mural on GrainCorp’s disused silo at Brim, which had been painted by the Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten in collaboration with the local community. This site has become a tourist icon in the Wimmera, judging by the number… Read More
I took the opportunity to make a side-trip into the Victorian Mallee when I was transporting the prints from the Weltraum and Abstraction x 5 exhibitions to my fellow photographers—Stuart Murdoch, Judith Crispin and Jeff Moorfoot-— to the pick-up points of the Ballarat/Lyonville meet up near Melbourne. It was a quick side-trip. I drove north-east from Horsham into the Wimmera-Mallee passing through Jung, Murtoa, Rupanyup and Marnoo to St Arnaud, before then driving… Read More
With the initial exhibition of the Mallee Routes project Atkins Photo Lab finishing at the end of November I interrupted the archive project I was working on to go on a photo roadtrip to Hopetoun to build up my archive for the next exhibition, which has been planned to take place in 2017. Two overcast days after a big storm provided me with an opportunity to spend several days in the Wimmera Mallee,… 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
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
The images in this portfolio explore the space /place dialectic of the South Australian and the Victorian Wimmera Mallee. They were made during the collaborative Mallee Routes of the project (2017-2019), then the second solo phrase of the project Eye on the Mallee. The film cameras that were used were 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.