The last two days of the Tasmanian trip were taken up with Suzanne’s desire to do some walks in the South Bruny National Park. This is just off the coast of southern Tasmania and is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Suzanne had agreed to go to the Gordon Dam in the SouthWest National Park if I went to Bruny Island. I knew very little about the island, other than it was once a centre for extensive whale hunting in the19th century, so I was happy to tag along.
The Blue Tiers is in the north east of Tasmania and we passed through it on our way to St.Helens.
The early settlers mined tin in much of the George River catchment area between about 1880 and 1930. The clearfelling of native forests by Forestry Tasmania continues supported by the forestry union, the CFMEU and the Tasmanian government, which provides every incentive to destroy the old growth forest.
Within it is a remnant of an ancient Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) temperate rain forest:
This was in an area of regenerated rain forest full of ferns and mosses.
Clearly the dam is the iconic symbol of modernity in Tasmania. A celebration of engineering and hydro power. But keeping the lights on in Strahan comes at a terrible cost—the flooding of Lake Pedder and the damming of the Serpentine and Huon Rivers to ensure high water levels of Lake Pedder so that there can be a continual flow of water from Pedder into Lake Gordon via the McPartlans Pass Canal to drive the power station’s turbines.
One of the areas that I’d wanted to visit in Tasmania was the barren and often bleak landscape around the western edge of the Great Lake in the Central Highlands region. I’d seen it briefly on a previous trip last year and thought that it looked interesting.
The highway, which runs along the western side of the Great Lake, is sparsely populated with groups of fisherman shacks. I could only explore this architecture briefly as a rain storm was sweeping in from the west. There was no chance of using the 5×4.
I wandered around the man made track with my digital camera looking for an image or two that I could take with my film cameras. The rain forest is so messy and the light is so contrasty that I just concentrate on the little details in the open shade in order to be able to handle what consistently defeats me.
The image below is an example of the landscape site that I mentioned in the previous post which I want to work with the Linhof 5×4. It’s close to the main road, I’m able to park the car safely, the site is easily accessible, and I can work the landscape under a dark cloth without having to worry about cars running me down.
I was up there this morning, but I was too late. The Queenstown township is enfolded in dense fog in the mornings as it is in a valley, and I’m finding it difficult to judge when the sun rises and lightens up the tablelands from the caravan park. Even though I was there at 7.30 with the 5×4 I was too late. So it will have to be tomorrow morning.
I’ve spent the last couple of days doing a scoping study of the work that I want to do with the Linhof 5×4 over the next few days, as well as photographing bits and pieces with the Rolleiflex SL66. I’m annoyed.
The backup body of the latter has now gone and I’m down to the Rolleiflex TLR. The 5×4 Linhof becomes my main camera and the Rolleiflex TLR becomes the ancillary camera. I’m out of my comfort zone.
I have found three sites to work at with the Linhof. One is an area around the old Iron Blow Mine. The second is the burnt landscape around the Queenstown airport; burnt because it has had fire through it recently. The third is the ruins of the Tasmanian Smelters site at Zeehan.
I know very little about the history of the Zeehan site. I know that in late 1882, silver-lead ore was discovered near the present day site of Zeehan and that this led to the largest mining boom on Tasmania’s west coast with Zeehan being dubbed the ‘Silver City of the West’.
I did some sketches of agricultural landscapes to explore with the 5×4 when we return to Tunbridge after the Queenstown and Cradle Mountain leg of the trip. I was put out because the Rolleiflex SL66 jammed on the early Sunday morning shoot and I couldn’t fix it. I was fortunate to be carrying a spare body that I could use.