Friday, 13 September 2013

Walpole's Wild Women

Thirty clicks out of Walpole on WA's south coast our Toyota 4WD bogged. Despite all attempts by the other three macho guys and myself we couldn't budge the vehicle. It was cold, wet and windy; not ideal conditions for spending a night in the scrub

Then along comes this red truck with a load of women on board, offering to help us poor defenceless men. After getting assurances from them that word of our rescue would never get out we agreed to let them help us. They were a rag-amuffin bunch, ranging in age from early twenties to sixties. No make-up, tousled hair, looking like refugees from an ashram, they set about giving us some grunt with a tow rope and we were soon released.

They all came from the township of Walpole.  Every equinox and solstice they escaped their families and household chores and camped on this remote hilltop overlooking windswept cliffs and a  wild southern ocean. No fancy bungalows, they camped in the bush.

During our return trip to Walpole we four 'macho' guys could talk of nothing else but the Walpole's Wild Women. Back in  town we ran into a well known, local identity and asked him if he had heard about Walpole's Wild Women. He told us everybody knew of them but men were banned from the site. 'You should have stuck around' he whispered 'I hear they strip naked under a full moon, coat themselves in honey and roll down the sand-hills'

None of us believed him ........ but try telling our brains to stop thinking about it!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

New Zealand shows up Australia (again)

The Kiwis from the Land of the Long White Cloud have really showed us how to run an election campaign. 
After months and week's of Oz's painfulloy long, drawn out, nail bitingly, boring election campaign, New Zealand PM John Key's daughter, Parisian Art Student, Stephanie Keys has posed artistically, near-nude to promote famous Paris Design Week. This follows John Key's son posting his planking shots on the internet.

Sushi to Go

Go Kiwis!   and  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Carla - Queen of the Murchison

Two weeks ago two busloads of photographers and artists rolled into the old gold mining town of Cue 650 kilometres north of Perth. I had a bit of a feeling of deja vu as we pitched tents in the Cue Caravan Park. Forty years earlier in 1974 I had led a bunch of 24 TAFE photography students from Mt Lawley Technical College to Cue and Daydawn for a week long photography excursion. How I returned with all 24 students alive is beyond me. At one stage three 17 year olds went missing. I found them at the bottom of a vertical mine shaft pushing an old rail trolley along in pitch blackness.

So here I was back in Cue; this time with a bunch of very respectable, mature age photographers and another bunch of even more respectable artists with easels and watercolours led by renowned watercolourist Ross Patterson.

While the painters painted, the photographers pixelated. We shot HDR and historical architecture in Cue's main street. This IS a street; wide enough to fit the MCG and Subiaco Oval side by side. You could probably land a 747 in the main drag, resplendent with wonderful old historical stone, wooden and galvanised iron buildings. Abandoned shops, the old bank of NSW, the Gentleman's Club, Police Station, Post Office and the Queen of the Murchison Hotel.

Above eye height, I noticed a small throng of people on the upstairs balcony of the Queen of the Murchison Hotel which is now a Bed and Breakfast  and upmarket Backpackers retreat. When we finished the workshop curiosity got the better of me and I wandered inside the front door of the old hotel, and then opened another closed door which rang a bell.

All was quiet when another 'Belle' sounded - a blonde Belle. Her eyes narrowed and her brow furrowed when she saw the 'intruder' - a slightly crumpled, dusty photographer with camera and tripod.

Carla - Queen of the Murchison - Cue - August 2013

'This is NOT a public thoroughfare. You can't come in here.'

A bit a f a jolt. Not exactly a warm north-west greeting. More like an icy nor-west blast.

'I'm sorry' I said (I've learned its best to make the mistake first, then apologise).
'I saw you standing on the balcony and would really love to photograph you.'
Her furrowed brow relaxed a little.
'Why?' she quizzed
'You've got such an interesting face. Are you the owner or manager here? This is such a lovely old building'
The thaw commenced. A watermelon sized smile started to emerge.
'I suppose so. I've been in the movies you know, when they shot a movie in Cue. And three years ago I was crowned Queen of the Murchison; my name is Carla.'
I shook Carla's hand.

I was starting to like Carla (especially when she didn't follow up 'My name is Carla' with 'and I'm here to help you'; or 'My name is Carla and I'm from Queensland')
I smiled back, 'Can I have a  look at the other rooms. I want to find some good lighting for your face'.
Carla danced down a  passage, through an atrium, passed her collection of Harley Davidsons, pausing briefly to sit astride her favourite HD Softail, then and into a olde worlde dining area.
'This would be great just here. The lighting is really good for you' I said.
She beamed.
'I was given a tiara when I was crowned Queen of the Murchison. Would you like me to wear my tiara?'
Now it was my turn to beam.
'Of course! A tiara would be perfect. After all, you are a Queen!'

ps The pub has no beer. But it does have Carla.
pss When I next visit Cue I'll be staying at the Queen of the Murchison. Hospitality guaranteed. By then they may have a liquor licence and I'll be able to order a Rum and Coca Carla at the bar.