01 February 2012

Goth in Paradise - 4


Information board at Tarraleah lookout (complete with photographer's reflection)


As Artist in Residence I'm officially supposed to be yet another interesting attraction for tourists to look at. So far I seem to have averaged one visit a day, which suits me very well as it's just enough to be diverting but not enough to become an Unwelcome Interruption.

Some of the people who have come in have been comfortably at ease; others plainly bemused. There was the friendly, chatty engineer from Vancouver who was filling in time while her sons were off fishing, and was good company. There was the young couple who were worried one or both of their children might touch something or behave inappropriately, fussed frantically trying to hush them, and finally fled when it all became too terrifying. There was the portly lady taking a break from her Leadership Conference who sat on the couch and asked sensible questions, finally remarking on my sensible shoes. This was an odd non sequitor, but perhaps she had just suffered an Unfortunate Footwear Experience.

And there was the elderly man in shorts and sandals and a terry-towelling hat who wanted to know what style I called that? I said “Tasmanian Gothic” and he nodded wisely. “Gothic Style” he repeated, making sure he remembered it so he could tell his daughter, who Paints. He'd seen traditional painting, which he could understand and he'd seen abstract painting which he couldn't, but my paintings had him stumped. He liked them, but “It's sort of like eggs, scrambled eggs . . . “

What? Intrigued, I asked him to elaborate, but despite his best attempts he couldn't really explain what he was trying to say. I think he was having trouble with recognisable shapes in unexpected juxtapositions; they had to mean something, but he had no idea what and was definitely out of his depth. So he told me all about his family until his wife came looking for him and whisked him away.


I've continued exploring the immediate surrounds of Tarraleah, and have taken a large number of photographs, most of which I will probably never use. The pipeline with its magnificent surge towers continues to fascinate; it does rather dominate the landscape.

It's hard to believe that thirty years ago all those empty paddocks were a town with a population of 1,600. Yes, over there, the other side of the pipeline.

 Reception at Tarraleah was, in those days, the general store.

There are traces of Engineering all through the bush, but nature is carrying on undeterred.

I spent a jolly fifteen minutes or so watching a platypus, and here is the photograph to prove it.

Despite my best efforts, it belongs in the category of worse-than-useless amateur wildlife photographs, but I tried.  It's not my fault the platypus wouldn't co-operate.

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