Roadtrip: Wallaroo + memories

Whilst digging through the large format archives I came across some negatives that reminded me of a road trip to the Yorke Peninsula that I had made in the 1990s in the VW Kombi.

Slowly, fragments of the trip came back. I remembered that I was living alone at Kate Court in the south-east corner of Adelaide as I’d broken up with my partner and I was still doing the PhD at Flinders University. On this trip Fichte, the standard poodle, accompanied me and he sat in the front passenger seat; I slept in the Kombi overnight; and I had made some large format photographs around the towns of Wallaroo and Androssan.

My memory then slips into vagueness. Prior to coming across these negatives my clear memory was that I had only visited Wallaroo in 2018 as a precursor to trying out camping in a caravan park. That was the occasion when I wanted to to see if camping would work for me for the Mallee Routes project.

silos, Wallaroo, Yorke Peninsula

This memory was misleading because I did have a sense of the flatness of York Peninsula from previous trips to Innes National Park. However, I had forgotten all about the large format photography on the 1990s road trip until I saw the negatives of the silos at Wallaroo that were made using the old Super Cambo 8×10 monorail.

wandering in Port Adelaide

I have scanned a few more archival images from those I made when I wandered around the urban part of the Port Adelaide precinct with a Leica in the late afternoon during winter. The Port had a gritty, grungy, industrial, working class character in the 1980s.

billboard, Port Adelaide

What drastically reduced the need for waterside labour at Port Adelaide’s inner harbour was the development of deep berths at Outer Harbour to accommodate larger ships, coupled with the introduction of bulk handling facilities and containerisation in the 1970s. The 1970s and 80s was also a period of general decline in raw material processing and manufacturing in the Port, with many mills, foundries and factories closing or relocating.

The result was that historic buildings were closed and even vandalized whilst shops in the main streets of the suburb were empty and boarded up. It was becoming a place of social and economic obsolescence, a derelict dockland – stagnant and lifeless.

Roadtrips: Andamooka

As noted in some of the earlier posts in this blog the third section of The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia consists of the various road trips of different kinds that I made whilst I was living in Bowden, then Ovingham, and finally in the south-east corner of Adelaide.

The mini trips include those around the edge of Adelaide: those to the suburban beaches to escape the summer heat in Bowden; explorations around Port Adelaide; trips to the Mt Lofty Ranges, then to Victor Harbor (and Kangaroo Island). The longer roadtrips were to the South Australian Mallee and the mid-north, and those along the River Murray to Melbourne and the east coast of Australia.

The last road trip, which would close the third section, is the trip that I made in the 1990s to the opal mining town of Andamooka in the northern part of South Australia.

dugout, Andamooka, 1990s

A colour version of this picture of this shelter or dugout can be seen here on my ‘On the Road’ Tumblr blog. I made a couple of colour photos on this trip.

An update on the Bowden project

In this post in 2016 I mentioned that I had started to work on the Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia book. In two other posts in 2017 about the Adelaide Art Photographers 1970-2000 book, I indicated that a few of my archival non-Bowden photos would form a portfolio in the book. That book has now been published by Moon Arrow Press in Adelaide.

This leaves the Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia project to be completed as a book. It will have 3 sections. The first one is on street photography in Melbourne (circa 1977-9) after I’d finishing studying at the Photography Studies College and snapshots in Adelaide. The middle section will consist of the Bowden photographs. The third section includes photographs made on various road trips around and outside of Adelaide.

The picture below would be part of the third section, if it makes the cut:

Silo, Snowtown (?), South Australia, 1996

I have pulled the Bowden project from being published by Wakefield Press, who will now be publishing the Tasmanian Elegies project. The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia book will be published by Moon Arrow Press in 2021.

from street to topographic photography

In looking over the non-Bowden  1980’s  photographic archives  for the proposed book on Adelaide photography  I realised that I was in the process of making  a shift  from  the then  fashionable  street  style photography of the 1970s to  a more topographic approach. Fashionable in the sense that New York in the 1960s was the centre of  photography with  Winogrand, Friedlander and Meyerowitz  laying down  the classic grooves for street photography.

This is an example of the street  photography  in Adelaide’s CBD that was made from a public space in the 1980s:

Franklin St, Adelaide

Street photography  is   candid photography –in this case it is a photo  of an office worker walking west along Franklin St after  leaving  the office in the late afternoon. This was  during an Adelaide  summer and it was a time  when white socks and sandals were the  summer fashion for men.  This fashion was much more practical in 40 degrees heat  than the traditional tie and suit.

Continue reading

The Bowden Archives: a draft

Thanks to the  generous help  of my friends, Judith Crispin, Stuart Murdoch, Paul Atkins at Atkins Photo Lab and Adam Dutkiewicz at Moon Arrow Press  I now have a first draft of the Bowden Archives: Memory,  Text,  Place. The pictures have  a narrative of their own now and some sort of coherence. That was something I could not do on my own, as I was too close to the pictures.

Warehouse, Bowden

The next step for me is to  follow Adam’s advice and do a dummy book  using  BookWright,  Blurb’s free desktop software, in order  to see what  the draft with images and text looks like as a book— as opposed to an idea in my head, or Stuart’s step—   rough prints on sheets of folded up paper to have an tactile object in my hand as opposed to images on a computer screen.   Continue reading

suburbia, northern Adelaide

In the previous post I mentioned that I would now concentrate on other images from the archives now that The Bowden Archives  has all the images it needs. I have recently been mulling over what to do with these non-Bowden images,  and I have decided that some will go into the Adelaide book whilst the others will go towards a new book project with Moon Arrow Press.

suburbia, northern Adelaide

This is the independent  press  run by Adam Jan Dutkiewicz and which published my Abstract Photography book in 2016.  Adam and I had a chat about this Adelaide photography book recently,   and we tentatively agreed  to start working on  it next year,  after  he finishes Volume 2 of the Visual History of the Royal South Australia Society of Arts book.    Continue reading

house, Encounter Bay

When I was living in Adelaide I would occasionally  travel  to Victor Harbor  for day trips in the Kombi.  I didn’t know that much about the Fleurieu Peninsula. I had heard that lots of people who grew top in Adelaide used to have their summer holidays on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula. The temperatures on this coast were lower than in Adelaide during the summer.

An archival photo of a house in Tabernacle Road,  Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor in  South Australia:

Tabernacle Rd,  Encounter Bay

These were only occasional cursory trips as I  didn’t find the township attractive or inviting. It was a small,   commercial centre for agriculture and day tourists. It became  quiet ugly during the peak tourist season.

 

Port Adelaide estuary

A talk with  a publisher about the material in the Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia becoming a book, it  was suggested that the proposed book would work  best as a book if it were  cut down to The Bowden Archives. The non-Bowden material will go to the Adelaide book, which has been on the back burner. The focus on Bowden tightens the manuscript,  which was starting to become unwieldy, and the simplification   makes the focus of The Bowden Archives more centred around history and place. I have spent the last week going through the 35mm negatives  of Bowden, and scanning the  best of them.

An example of the pictures in the initial  historical section  of the Adelaide book would be these two pictures of the Port River estuary in this post. The first picture of the mangroves are a reminder  that Port Adelaide  in the early 19th century was once basically a mangrove swamp and marsh surrounding the Port River.   Tides and drainage would continue to be major issues for residents until the first half of the 20th century.

mangroves, Port Adelaide
mangroves, Port Adelaide

The embankments along the river formed a basin within which the early residents worked and lived, but not without some fear. While the embankment kept the River at bay most of the time, the banks could be breached by a high tide. The basin shape meant that any water, even rain, pooled in the town with no drainage outlets.

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Cottages, Port Adelaide

The working class cottages  are an  interesting historical aspect of Port Adelaide was the working class cottages. They helped to both give  the Port its working class character,  and  to open a space where one is able to  see an  architectural history that reached backed to the early 20th century, if not the second part of the 19th century. The latter period was when the facilities of the Port were used to export and import supplies for colonial South Australia’s main industries–wheat, wool and mining.

cottage, Port Adelaide
cottage, Port Adelaide

Due to the lack of re-development Port Adelaide was  an historic precinct with  an impressive range of commercial and institutional buildings.   Many  of these have survived, resulting in Port Adelaide having one of the best concentrations of colonial buildings in South Australia. Continue reading