in Hobart, Tasmania

My last day in Tasmania was spent in Hobart. Since the plane for Adelaide (via Melbourne) didn’t leave until 4pm I had a day to wander the streets with my old Leica film camera. I wasn’t scoping for large format. I was just taking a look at what was there as the New Tasmania features fresher arrivals and returnees, lured by the notion that Tasmania is an optimal testbed for a niche range of clever cultural and economic initiatives.

I started the day with some photos of the view from my hotel window on Collins Street. This overlooked the Royal Hobart Hospital, which is in the process of being renovated, and the Hobart Private Hospital.

Royal Hobart Hospital

I love Hobart. I think it is a delightful city to walk around and explore. It is a city that still retains its 18th and 19th century architecture. In Sydney and Perth these heritage buildings would have been pulled down to make way for the modernist glass towers of the late twentieth century.

in Queenstown, Tasmania

My old MacBook died whilst I was in Queenstown, Tasmania working on the rephotography project around the 1912 Mt Lyell mine disaster. It’s either a corrupted file or the hard disc has died. I was unable to post.

I was also without a digital camera, and I was just shooting film–it was a discipline. The downside was that I wasn’t able to upload some of the pictures I was taking that day or the next.

Iron Blow road

The weather on this trip was quite different to the previous one in March. It rained everyday I was there with one exception. It was overcast and misty. Photos were taken between the passing rain squalls.

exploring the King River

I went up to the Mt Lyell open cut mine this morning as part of the ‘Now and Then’ team. I was unable to do much photography along the lines of rephotographing the old photos. The vantage points the early 20th century photographers used have long gone, and I didn’t have a telephoto lens. So I’ve decided to work off site looking over at the mine site from the hills opposite the mine.

Mt Lyell mine

It was a day of sunshine and passing showers. In the afternoon I walked down to the mouth of the King River where it enters Macquarie Harbour. I wanted to start to explore this riverine landscape, which I’d only seen on google earth maps on an iPad.

Queenstown: rephotography

I’ve just returned to Queenstown, Tasmania, to take part in a ‘then and now’ rephotography project about the North Lyell Mine disaster.

42 West Coast miners died from a fire in the underground timber pump station/house.The fire damaged the shafts, and the smoke ad poisonous fumes mean that the miners at the lower levels were trapped. It was the largest mining tragedy in Australia’s history. It is now being remembered

The rephotography project is being run by the Queenstown Library. It is centred around community involvement in a Now + Then style project that has been structured along the lines of the one run by the ABC.

How the ‘Now and Then’ is done is open to interpretation. Some possibilities mentioned are: there could be two images side by side; one old n picture superimposed on the other; or an old photograph held in the hand and photographed in the landscape of today.

at Evandale, Tasmania

The last poodlewalk I did with both Agtet and Ari was at Evandale in the northern Midlands. The walk was along the banks of the South Esk River the night before we left Tasmania.

We were to drive to Devonport early the following morning to catch the ferry across Bass Strait to Melbourne, stay overnight in Geelong, then drive to Adelaide the next day.

near the South Esk River

It was a lovely walk in the late afternoon sun. It was very peaceful and gentle. The river flowed gently, people were fishing, others, like me, were walking their dogs. A farmer was cutting down the willows along the river bank and the occasional plane flew overhead bound for Melbourne.

Agtet: in memoriam

Our poodlewalks will probably be very different from now on, given what has happened to Agtet at the very end of our Tasmanian trip.

Agtet had a serious accident arising from stomach bloat and he will propably not recover. He has been recovering from the surgery but, as he also suffered from cardiac arrest just after the surgery, his neurological functionality was impaired. Unfortunately, the neurological improvement has been extremely slow.

This picture was taken on location in Zeehan, an old mining town on the west coast of Tasmania:

Agtet’s stomach had twisted 360 degrees after we arrived in Geelong from Tasmania on the ferry last Monday–the 2nd of April. He has been at the Vet hospital in Werribee since then, and his recovery during that week has been small step by painful step. We have been staying with my sister at Safety Beach on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula during that time.

on Bruny Island

After the residency finished at LARQ in Queenstown we travelled across to Tunbridge in the Midlands for the night with Barb and Mal. I had a little time in the late afternoon to briefly scope for a 5×4 afternoon picture of the salt lake.

saltlake, Tunbridge

Then we travelled to Bruny Island for a couple of days holiday. Whilst the others did some bush walking in the South Bruny Island National Park I explored the sandstone cliffs at the edge of Adventure Bay.

at the Mt Lyell mine again

The rains eventually eased in Queenstown and I was able to access the top of the open cut Lyell mine early Sunday morning. There were the usual showers and mist but these cleared and I was able to get some 5×4 pictures before the cloud cover disappeared.

Lyell open cut mine

I’ve decided to return to Queenstown in mid-May and take part in the Queenstown library’s re-photography project. It is the only way that I will be able to gain official access to photograph the open cut with the 5×4 Linhof as the mine is closed to the public apart from the 2 hour tour of the disused open cut mine.

Queenstown re-photography project

The Queenstown Library has initiated a ‘then and now’ photographic project in relation to the 1912 Mt Lyell Mining disaster. It emphasizes both community involvement and re-photographing some of the photos of the open cut mine taken by the early twentieth century photographers.

Queenstown, Tasmania

I had a go at finding the sites used by Frank Hurley for his photographs of the Queenstown landscape and Mt Lyell mine out of interest. But I was way out. I just don’t know the area. Only a local with a keen topographical eye and a knowledge of the access roads could find the old sites now in order to show some continuity between the old and new images.

at the Mt Lyell mine

Yesterday was overcast and windy, and as the weather was going to be consistent rain squalls for the next few days, I decided go to the old Mt Lyell open cut copper mine in Queenstown. The only way to do it was to take the morning trip with John Halton’s Enviro mine tour. It was the right decision as it rained all of today.

Mt Lyell open cut mine
Tasmania, Queenstown, Mt_Lyell, open_cut_mine, digital, Olympus, phototrip

Little did I know that John Watt Beattie, Stephen Spurling 111, Frank Hurley and Martin Walch had all extensively photographed the region, town and the mine.