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Having travelled extensively in the Country of my birth. I felt as a photographer I would like to show a side of Australia that tourists rarely see. The working and gritty side of a commodity driven country.
I have used black and white for strength. I see much of Australia as time warped in the 19th century. Much of the attitude beyond the populated coastal regions is early 20th century to early post 1945 the 50s and 60s.when I left Australia the first time the population had not yet hit 10 million. Today it borders on 25 million and should continue to grow exponentially. However still most new comers cling to the coastal regions like clinging to the gunnel of a boat. Little effort has been made by successive governments to develop the interior of this vast continent Island for community growth. The only development has been to plunder one of the world’s great commodity reservoirs. Many will say irrigation is a problem however Australia has one of the great sweet water catchments of the world in the Great Artisian Basin covering in excess of 1/3 of the country.
Still many commodity industries are producing as they have for the last 150 years through the blood sweat and tears of hard yakka (yakka australian for work). As an example Australia produces 1/3 of the world’s wool this wool is of the finest micron quality. Shearing still takes place in the shearing shed on the sheep stations as it has for 150 years. Many commodities are mined in small holdings by sweating miners sometimes working in dangerous conditions.
I hope these images will give an idea of the hard yakka and gritty side of survival in the outback that still exists today. A world not totally based on ‘Information Technology’.
Tradition housing dating to the 1800s
Images by Shane Aurousseau
A3+ 19″x 13″ins on highest quality acid free cotton based gallery quality art paper printed using a 10 ink printer with long lasting highest quality Canon original pigment inks. These are the highest quality gallery level prints possible.
It is interesting the psychology of islamophobia and other phobias. I should commence by stating that I’m not a follower of any man created terrestrial religion not even an atheist as that is also an absolute stating that followers know. I’m probably closer to an agnostic but these are only man created words for I have my own thoughts.
As a species our ability to misinterpret misquote is endless quite often out of personal convenience. The written word opens the door to misinterpretation.
Diversity frightens us it states that we could be wrong therefore we suppress it. If we believe something that is logically incorrect then it becomes the truth and is the truth, therefore clever people can programme us. Even to such people their truth can be the truth to them even the truth of personal promotion and gain can be justified.
Throughout history man has tried to impress upon others his truth mostly from fear of the unknown, the Inquisition from the 12th century, holy wars in Palestine, Spain, Protestant Lutherans and Reformed wars with Catholicism the Massacre at Ayyadieh on the fall of Acre by Richard Coeur de Lion, 2700 prisoners massacred an act not repeated by Saladin all out fear and the hunt for power. A statement that I am right you are wrong or a recognition that you may be right and if I take what you have I will be stronger. Some cannibalistic tribes consumed their enemies as they believed that a strong enemy would enhance their spirit. There are many passages in the Quran that relate to violence against what can be misinterpreted to include all non-believers most are in response to specific wars within periods of antiquity. There is also verse within the Quran threatening retribution against his captors for the seizing of Jesus an important prophet in Islam this verse can easily be misinterpreted. It should be remembered that the Quran is an extension of the Old Testament as is the Torah and to a substantial extent the New Testament, all derived from a very violent book originally written to address issues of a specific and bloody period in historical time. The original texts rewritten over time to address changing issues of social structure. So, plenty of material that can be taken out of context by the uneducated on both sides and dangerous if believed to be uncontested fact. Much in the texts was also intended as parable. Even within Islam as within most churches of the Catholic(Universal) world scholars debate the meaning of the word.parable can add to confusion. I have worked with many Sharia committees made up of highly intelligent scholars and few have a universal agreement on meaning. As a species, we are insecure and frightened of the dark. This fear breeds inhumanity in all sectors of society and suppresses the quest for truth and reality. Working in the past with Islamic groups including being an advisor to one of the largest on the development of Islamic financial products that are created from Western concepts all had to be endorsed by a Sharia committee. I have many good Islamic friends who have little interest in any other issues other than supporting their families and having a comfortable, prosperous and violence free life. The quest for truth and understanding has had a difficult path and will have a difficult path in the future, as we are all hardwired into protectionism and tribalism, however we should all try to move along the path of understanding. Much has come from the great religions of the world Islam has given us much of our science, astronomy, language(words such as Alchemy, Alcohol, Algorithm, Alkaline,Average, Admiral, Arsenal,Candy, Check, Coffee, Cotton, Guitar, Hazard, Mattress, Racquet, Sofa, Elixir, Soda, Zero, Chemistry, to name only a few) numbering and some of the greatest art and buildings in the world, much has also come from other great Catholic(Universal) religions, my favourite painting the ‘Beheading of John the Baptist’ by Caravaggio a violent painting from the world of Catholicism but stunning and dramatic light. It also depicts the violent thread that runs through most religion. Also as a very intellectual and respected uncle of mine once said to quote ‘variety is the spice of life’ Marcel Aurousseau. Absolute is not always truth.
Shane Aurousseau ShaneA
Much of Australia’s development is not dissimilar to that of the United States and its growth from the coastal regions to the west or inland.Not all of Australia’s population hugs the coast rather like hanging onto a tippin mattress. Although the greater proportion of the Australian population is on the coast the Commodity wealth of the country has driven growth inland seeking the rich mining of every mental and mineral from Gold, tin, copper, bauxite, opals, Uranium, silver, iron ore, coal ;
Sheep and cattle farming booms across most states with the country hosting some of the largest sheep stations and cattle ranches in the world. Wine vineyards stretch from Western Australia to Queensland. Grains and cotton at also grown in the commodity rich outback
Australia produces 30% of the worlds wool and the merino is the finest micron level available to the market. Australia is the 7th largest beef producer in the world, producing around 4% of the world’s beef.
All this rush for wealth really commenced in the 1800s. In 1851 the Australian population was only 437,655 the gold rush of 1851 changed all of this with the population growing rapidly and a decade later it was 1,151,957, today of course it is nearly 24 million people. the mining, sheep and to an extent the beef industry was away from the coast and caused the development of outback towns and cities such as Condobolin,Dubbo, Broken Hill, Ballarat, Alice Springs and Lightning Ridge all now major centers for the commodity driven industries.
The development of these towns really dates from the 1800s a period when the United States of America was developing in a similar way. North America’s towns of the wild west were very similar to Australia’s even down to the stagecoach connections of Cobb and Co. What developed in this period of inland growth were what Australians refer to as the ‘Veranda Towns’. Towns with large verandas circumnavigating the period commercial buildings and houses of these regional centres – designed for hot summer evenings.
This architecture gives Australia its unique character influencing its development from the 1800s on. So much of this development is left in- tact across the continent that the country is a ‘Museum for the 1800s and the growth of a nation..
From the time of the arrival of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788 Australia has been developing a unique Character that makes Australians who they are today. A greater proportion of the people who came with the first fleet and subsequent fleets were transported and then given land grants. The growth of the colony was of up most importance and transportation key to the colony’s development. The Australian climate dictated the type of living structure that gave the best lifestyle. A climate hotter and dryer than England’s and Europe’s required the development of living structures with broad and low roofs creating a cool internal environment that would also hold heat during winter months.
It was the heat of this dry land that was mostly addressed by early settlers giving Australia the ‘Veranda Towns’. Towns with homes with broad verandas for enjoying those balmy evenings on, shops with cool shade giving awnings. This type of architecture really started to come into its own in the 1800s as settlers moved inland from Sydney, much of it still exits on a habitable basis today. All across Australia can be found towns with architecture straight out of a Western film set and houses with broad verandas. This architecture coupled with the Australian Landscape and the hard working people in the commodity driven industries, mining, wool, cattle and grain farming gives Australia a unique character that make Australians who they are today. It is the ‘Time Warp’ veranda towns of Australia that i found most interesting from a photographic point of view. Towns like Condobolin NSW, Braidwood NSW, Molong NSW, Wellington NSW, Cowra NSW, Sofala NSW, Bungendore NSW, Boorowa NSW Clunes Victoria, Ballarat Victoria
Most people know Australia by the traditional icons, Sydney harbour Bridge, Opera House, Uluru/Ayers Rock, long beaches with surfers, the Barrier Reef. There is another Australia that I grew up in travelling west inland from the east coast and northern Victoria. This region is where Australia began as people moved inland from Sydney and Melbourne in order to work and mine the land and is where much of the current exciting development is today.
When I first left Australia it was a country of 8 to 9 million people, today it is a nation of 23 million. A country rich in commodities, gold, tin, copper, bauxite, sheep, cattle (beef and dairy) and fine wines. I found large numbers of prosperous small towns, looking like something out of the wild west with their typical awning and veranda architecture stuck in a ‘time warp’ from the 1800s to 1950s, towns with young populations. Driving into a town full of period history and finding a delicatessen selling food products from all over the world and a coffee shop promoting panini with Mediterranean vegetables and of course the inevitable Chinese restaurant. Small towns with massive Cole’s or Woolworth’s supermarkets servicing the outlying sheep stations, farms, mines and now vineyards spread out over 1000s of kilometers from South Australia across NSW and into Queensland. Towns full of young people working in the the lucrative world of physical commodities. Australia is a country of growing importance and influence in Asia, a country that has become of great importance to the development of China.
The Chinese the greatest of trading people have seen the importance of this commodity rich country and have in great numbers began to call it home. While sitting in Condobolin a small sheep and mining town inland NSW, I was asked by a cousin what we should do tonight, “do you want a Chinese” he asked. Of course three shops in town, coffee shop, supermarket and Chinese restaurant. i should add there is always a pub selling great old and new beer. Most pubs in this region have a history dating from the 1800s. The Chinese are bringing real wealth to the country and are living alongside the Australians and easily integrating. Australia is a country in transition a country that is creating a new race of people who are developing and promoting its exciting commodity wealth. Sales of Merino wool are on the increase again. Merino wool the world’s finest wool in the past too expensive for the Chines market, however many sheep stations have lowered the micron quality and can now put this fine wool into a cost bracket that suits the Chinese market, allowing them to still brand products Merino.
There is so much life in the Australian outback its commodity wealth and its vast beauty from red ochre laced dust to the never ending cobalt blue skies. The wealth of this region is now attracting the young. I have added a quote I found on the the front of a pub in an outback town.
I currently live in London for business reasons, working as a photographer, am an Australian citizen and proud to call myself an Australian.
Shane Aurousseau : http://www.kiamafoto.com