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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was a foggy morning in Queenstown yesterday, so I wandered the town taking photos whilst Suzanne took the standard poodles for an early morning walk around the Queen River where it flowed beside near the Queenstown golf course. This was a space away from other dogs and they could be off the lead. So they could roam freely.
The early morning light in the town was soft, due to the fog:
Empire Hotel, Queenstown
I was looking/scoping for possible subjects for using the 5×4 Linhof in foggy conditions. What would the buildings or street views look like? How would they photograph? Would the fog transform the mundane into something interesting? Would the something interesting be meaningfully significant?
On Saturday it was overcast with passing rain squalls so we went for a drive to Zeehan in the afternoon. I wanted to to photograph the ruins of the old smelter using the 5×4 Linhof. I’d scoped this on my last visit to Queenstown a year ago.
coal slag heap, Zeehan
I stuck closely to what I’d scoped last year as time was short—the squalls returned just as I was finishing the planned pictures of ‘ruins as history’. After looking at the digital images I took whilst on location this time, I can see that I need to return to the site to take more. There was more here than I’d realized.
The rains have come and gone in Queenstown. Today we are back to the bright sunshine with a bit of cloud cover. Yesterday was passing showers and misty conditions. The showers meant that I stayed close to the car when photographing so that I could sit them out.
In the morning I wandered around Gormanston. There are lots of ‘For Sale” signs–for blocks and houses— but there are few buyers. This is surprising, for Gormanston is just down the road from Lake Burbury. Why aren’t the fishermen buying the old houses for their fishing shacks?
Dreams die hard in this old mining village:
Tasmania, Gormanston, house, abandoned, digital, Olympus, phototrip
The brick walls were being built around the old tin wall. These were mostly completed and then everything stopped before the roof was put on. That’s what happens to old mining towns. They become ghosts towns.