Walking in odd places.

Sunshine North, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2020-09-29 15:24:54
Sunshine North, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2020-09-29 15:24:54

Walking during the pandemic allows me on occasion to capture rare moments in odd places. This is no exception. We have been confined to our homes and a 5 kilometre radius for what feels like an eternity now. Most of the time I have been busy working from home. The school term break was slightly different. I think these last two weeks I have walked more kilometres than in the last 2 years combined.

These freight trains a regular sight in Sunshine, however this is North Sunshine a section I rarely wander. As is often the case all I had with me was my Phone so I snapped off a handful of pictures, after processing them in Luminar 4, I chose this one.

I have Luminar “partner” account code. Clicking the above link helps me with some rewards. It’s a great replacement for Photoshop in my opinion.

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Walking & Photography [Online Exhibition]

screengrab from the exhibtion organsied by Gary Sauer-Thompson
screengrab from the exhibtion organsied by Gary Sauer-Thompson

The response to the pandemic in the arts industry has been overwhelmingly positive. SALA is running its entire festival through artists websites this year. I have been very fortunate in that Gary Sauer-Thompson via his studio in Encounter Bay invited me to exhibit with an idea that explored the pandemic. The online exhibition is entitled, ‘Walking/Photography’, its premise is simple:-

“The exhibition explores the interrelationships between these two modes of being-in-the-world. The ethos is to go for a walk in your local area, where you can find what you don’t know you are looking for. It is a step into the photographic unknown that uncovers the forgotten or buried history of the area.”

The ‘exhibtion’ opens on the 1st of August and runs until the 30th of September.

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Walking in the fog

A fog shrouded bike path with signs indicating flooding
A fog shrouded bike path with signs indicating flooding, I walked here on Friday to exploit the uncommon weather.

As part of my ongoing pc3020 project, I left the house early enough to spend some quality time along my favourite walking path. I walked for nearly 2 hours along the Kororoit creek path. The sights and sounds were eerie. I passed several walkers a  jogger and a bicyclist. I even managed to notice some new features of land abutting the track. This I found surprising as I have walked here regularly since moving to Sunshine in 2000.

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Stony Creek Backwash, Urban reserve.

This post originally was written on a different platform. I’m posting it here for posterity’s sake.

Stony Creek Backwash reserve 2020-03-30 13:58:15

As I sat at my desk looking out onto our newly landscaped yard, on my fist day of term break. I was enranced by the light.  I also had recently seen a fellow photographers work in and around the base of the West Gate Bridge on flickr and decided to investigate the location. I eventually found an urban park created by Maribyrnong Council and the friends of Stony Creek Inc.. I was surprised I had not investigated this space earlier? I look down on it ofen as I traverse the West Gate Bridge. It has always fascinated me as a passenger from that view.

The Stony Creek Backwash Urban Reserve is a well looked after green spot adjacent to several oil storage facilities. Nestled between the facilities and the West Gate Bridge it is a pleasant oasis. The park had many people wandering and bike riding though in and around it, despite restrictions in place for the Corona Virus.

I spent the amount of time I did here because as a location seen from above as I so often it appears intriguing. It is one of those places that has been through a series of uses. Despite some of which are detrimental to the vegetation. This vegetation has bounced back. Walking through the space and reading the signage placed at various points gives a sense of what the community aspires the space to be. Closer examination may contradict this, looking and walking beyond the established paths. It is apparent that while the vegetation is abundant it may not be as vibrant as expected. These kinds of spaces make me curious and are somewhat of a metaphor for my own existence. Geographically, metaphorically and metaphysically. They are the kinds of places I have photographed in and around for my entire career as a visual artist.

In my early days I only used black and white film. Now I pack  colour and black and white film with me in my camera case as well as one or two digital capture devices when heading out to make pictures.

In the end I spent several hours there only leaving around 3:00pm as the light had turned too harsh for my liking.

The sign in the middle ground reads:-

Stony creek Back Wash

In the 1850s, Stony Creek was an important route for labourers heading upstream to quarries located north and south of the creek. Th labourers quarried bluestone which was used to supply material for some of Melbourne’s earliest public buildings such as Pentridge Prison and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The leftover bluestone, used as ballast, was collected by ballast lighters and delivered to sailing ships at anchor waiting in Hobsons Bay.

To accommodate the growing industries and local businesses around the Yarra River port, a multitude of industrial rail siding were established in the Spotswood aerate connect the railway terminals at Hobsons Bay. The sidings were constructed between 1880 and 1930 and served numerous purposes throughout these 50 years. Th speak period of use for the sidings was from the 1920’s to World War II.

In 1927, the branch railway sidings were utilised to serve the Newport Oil Wharf berths along the Yarra river. The branch railway sidings served Shell, BP, Ampol an other oil terminals between Hall Street and Douglas Parade, while a circuitous line looped from Yarraville round along the West Bank of he Yarra River, over Stony Creek via a trestle bridge then on to the Vacuum Oil terminal, now Mobil.

The majority of the railway sidings have been decommissioned and the track s Ince removed. Remnants of the old Branch Railway sidings can be found in the eastern side of the backwash, running parallel with the Yarra River.”

Stony Creek Trestle Bridge
The stony creek footbridge extends across the breakwater enabling pedestrian and bicycle traffic access to the banks of the Yarra river. The view from the footbridge provides a unique perspective of the West Gate Bridge which is spectacular when lit up at night.

From the Oxbridge you can see the wreck of the historic barge used to transport shell grit to the nearby bottle works. Also visible are the remains of the former railway line that once traveled from Spotswood, along the edge of the Yarra river to the Yarraville oil wharf, as well as the footings of temporary peers used in the construction of the West Gate Bridge.

Pre-European settlement

Prior to dispossession three adjoining Koori clans probably used the area as a meeting place and for gathering food along its embankments and wetlands. The Koories managed the creek environment to ensure that these resources would be adequate for their needs and succeeding generations. Midden sites were recorded at the creek’s mouth where the Koori’s feasted on shellfish. Evidence of other activities in the region include stone tool sites, silcrete quaries, scarred trees and burial places.

The Stony Creek belonged to the Marin bulluk clan, who occupied the area between Kororoit Creek and Maribyrnong River. This clan was part of the Woi wurrung, the tribal group which owned most of Melbourne. Bungarin was the head man of the Marin bulluk clan. He was also a guardian of the famous axe quarry at Mt William. Bungarin’s name appears as one of the ‘chiefs’ on John Batman’s so-called deed of purchase.

European Heritage

Stony Creek has a long and varied European history which has left a marked impression on the creek and its surrounds. The European heritage is summarised below and documented on the friends of stony creek website. A former Geocities webpage no less!

Summary

December 1803 A party from the schooner Cumberland follows the creek for one and a half miles. “It was salt and ended in a swamp.”

 

  • 1835 Batman searching for pasture drops anchor opposite Stony Creek backwash.
  • 1848 Creek briefly known as Murderer’s Creek after the discovery of Lucke’s battered corpse!
  • 1850s Quarries opened up for ballast and building
  • 1870s Noxious industries established: tannery, meat processing and glue works.
  • 1919 Alfred Luizzi drowns attempting to cross in a flood.
  • 1920s Market gardens established.
  • 1940s Urbanisation spreads.
  • 1970 West Gate Bridge collapses killing 35 workers.
  • 1987 Ink spill into backwash kills mangroves.
  • 1993 Friends of Stony Creek formed.
  • 2001 Allied Containers constructed a bridge across Stony Creek without regulatory approval and Meadow Lea spill.
  • 2002 Pivot Fertiliser Spill
  • 2006 Fire destroys revegetated area at Hyde Street Reserve
  • 2011 Stony Creek Future Directions Plan released
  • 2013 Detergent spill

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Walking

Sunset over Kyoto
Sunset over Kyoto 2009-09-20 17:35:43

Walking is a side interest of mine. There are parts of my suburb, Sunshine, that I walk often. As for the remainder of Melbourne, I usually drive or catch a train to any other destinations. Driving allows me some flexibility in terms of equipment. I can carry everything. Walking requires a choice. Usually Digital or Analogue. Mostly Digital if I was honest.

Through Andy Adams I discovered Craig Mod. Craig is an expatriate of the USA living in Japan. He walks A LOT. He is a writer, photographer, and walker. I first heard of him and his unusual publishing experiment in May last year. The premise is simple and something I have long wondered about. He  texted an image once a day over six weeks as he walks 1000 kilometres in Japan. He also recorded a sound bite at the same time each morning. The pictures were sent via SMS each morning Japan time. You could if chose respond. However, Craig would not see or know of your response until the end of the journey. Here are his 3 parameters for the whole affair.

  1. I’m curious about using the network to publish without being used by it.
  2. I’m curious about fleeting, non-permanent online gatherings.
  3. I’m curious about drawing “edges” around walks.

A few days ago, Craig published an essay on a walk he conducted the full length of the Ise-ji path starting at Ise Grand Shrine up north, ending some eight days later at Hayatama Shrine in Shingu down south. It’s a long read but Craig is an excellent writer.

Given Australia’s relative youth there are very few tracks of this nature here. There are some that I am aware of, Tasmania for example has several. Most National and State parks have some short walks too. An interesting side note would be that all of the new infrastructure projects here in Melbourne at least, often include a bike path.