I recently dug out some photos in the b+w archives from some photo trips that I made between the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges and the Murray Plains in the 1980s. I started remembering these old road trips in this part of the mid-north of South Australia –eg., Sedan, Cambrai and the Marne River— when I briefly revisited the area in 2019 and then when I explored it more throughly in 2020 whilst I was at the Lavender Trail Kapunda camp.
These photos appear to be related to, or an extension of, this roadtrip. They were possibly made around the same time or more than likely, just after that roadtrip to the Mt Lofty Ranges. I cannot quite remember. From what I can recall these are photos made on a day trip from Adelaide, as I don’t remember sleeping in the Kombi overnight on the roadtrips in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges.
On the 1980s road trip I travelled along the Eudunda Rd, which runs parallel to the Mt Lofty Ranges between Truro and Eudunda through agricultural land. This area has a number of farm ruins which caught my eye. Ruins, including the old railway line to Cambrai and Sedan, are what initially stands out when travelling though this region for the first time.
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.
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:
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.
Whilst I was taking some scoping snaps with my digital camera I remembered some of the photos that I’d made in the 1980s in this general location. The image below is one of the images that I remembered making using a Linhof Technika 70:
I recalled that in the 1980s I was visually attracted by the bareness of this landscape. It was a stripped, overgrazed landscape with just the odd tree hanging on. There was very little in the way of replanting or Landcare.
I have been going through my 35mm archives looking through images from the 1980s to include in a possible artist book for the Mallee Routes project. This would be a book that is associated with the initial Mallee Routes exhibition at the Atkins Photo Lab in 2017.
At the exhibition I left a pile of small prints on a table for people to look at. It wasn’t a very successful mode of presentation. A book would be much better, if I have enough images.
I came across this image of an agricultural landscape in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges amongst a number of other images of the Murray Mallee and the Riverland.
The picture was made with a Linhof Technika 70 in the same year as this image. From memory, it was taken a bit earlier the year. It was around 2004-5 when I was working as a staffer for a federal South Australian Senator. We had gone to see how little water there was on the floodplain during the decade long drought. Continue reading →
What the drought highlighted was the lack of environmental flows in the River Murray. Too much water had been taken by the upstream irrigators in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. So there had to be cutbacks to water extraction in order to ensure increased environmental flows for the river. That is when the politics over water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin erupted around the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (2012) that was based around water trading and water buybacks by the Commonwealth. Continue reading →