Over the past few months I’ve been working on a small series of photographs about a woman called Maria Needham. In 1831 Maria was convicted for stealing washing off a line in London and subsequently transported to Van Diemans Land (now Tasmania). The minimum sentence for such petty crimes was 7 years in the new southern colony. After surviving 130 days in appalling conditions at sea, during which 2 women and 12 children died, Maria was placed in a House of Correction for Females – more commonly known as The Female Factory in South Hobart. Like many female convicts Maria worked as a house servant to the wealthier people of the community and married a fellow convict.
I have investigated my convict ancestors and family tree, but despite having the same surname as Maria I don’t think we are related. Having said that, records relating to convicts are often incomplete or missing vital information, so perhaps it is still possible.
The exhibition titled Felt Presence is part of 10 Days on the Island* arts festival and is curated by Ellie Ray of Devonport Regional Gallery.
*”Eight artists from Australia, Scotland and Ireland have been asked to interpret in their own way, through varied media, the experience of a single female convict, to feel their trauma and their joys, illustrate their story, follow their path of banishment and ask how relevant it is today.
As a starting point, each artist was asked to select a convict who shared their name, research their experience and create an artwork that reflected their response. One artist has uncovered a relative, while others made their selection regardless of their namesake.”
So here’s a sneak peek one of my images:
"Out After Hours" from the series "Terra Australis Ignota"
15 MARCH – 28 APRIL 2013
Open from Friday 15 March, 10am
Official Opening Tuesday 19 March, 5.30 pm in conjunction with the 10 Days on the Island Festival Opening
In relation to my photographic series “If Walls Could Talk…” and “For the Fallen; in Memoria”, which document the Royal Derwent Hospital & Willow Court Complex, here is a 10min clip from ABC’s 7:30 report.
Heritage sale scrutiny
“Tasmania’s auditor-general is investigating the sale of New Norfolk’s Royal Derwent Hospital and Willow Court psychiatric institution.”
Typical old myrtle, with hollow buttress roots. They make great shelter for many animals.
Way back in February I went on another photography trip for the Tas Land Conservancy, this time to the Blue Tier region. On this trip there was no strolling about on alpine plains; this mission involved bashing through unmarked terrain, mostly rainforest, with patches of Hard Water Ferns up to my shoulders (!!!) and tightly packed Tea-Tree – with a tripod!
Found this sea-horse looking root system from a fallen tree. You can also see how everything is symbiotic in a rainforest.
This area has some fantastic gnarled myrtle trees and tonnes of lichen, moss and fungi – even in late summer. I saw blob shaped bright red fungus and bright yellow fungus, which was great as I had some new filters to test out – which I think worked a treat! I also found the remains of some rare snails (cracked open by birds), which I hadn’t seen before.
Yellow fungus on a log.
There were so many great things to photograph in macro, I had a great time. I also came across a giant Potato Orchid; I had turned around to find what I thought was a tree sapling but then realized it was a flower – the stem was over a meter high! I’d never seen this before and was quite stunned.
Potato Orchids have very tall stems, quite unusual.
The next day we trekked along the Moon Valley Rim circuit to Mt Poimena, which is a great lookout spot with almost 360° views and you can see for miles! If you’re ever in the area this should be on your list of things to do and see. Heaps of Native Pepper and red berry bushes around.
Native Pepper Berry.
I also found an unusually tall opening of a yabby hole. The one on the left is more common.
I really love these trips. I get to hang out with other landscape photographers, take my time photographing and go to amazing places – some of which are not yet open to the public.
‘For the Fallen; in memoria‘ (2012)
When: Thursday, 8 March 2012 at 17:30 until Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 12:00
Where: Rosny Barn, Rosney Farm, Ronsy Hill Rd, Rosny.
This photographic collection of images, taken at the site of the abandoned Willow Court & the Royal Derwent Complex in New Norfolk, is an expansion of my previous exhibition ‘If Walls Could Talk…’ (Entrepot, 2007). Since the sites closure in 2001, the buildings have been vandalised, broken and burnt regularly; subsequently many of the buildings are now demolished. The images in ‘For the Fallen; in memoria’, have captured the passage of time and the wear of years of this immensely significant, yet ignored complex. Once a bustling hub of activity, the RDH is now in varying grades of dilapidation, degradation but little restoration; the very brickwork has become transient and ephemeral.
Willow Court: http://www.newnorfolk.org/~willow_court/
Rosny Barn: http://www.ccc.tas.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=920
I’m in a book!!
The fantastic Mr Ian Wallace has organised and put together Tasmania: a Visual Journey, featuring selected images of Tasmania from 12 Australian photographers. It has 168 full-colour pages, is in Hardback for $49.95 rrp, and looks like this:
Tasmania: a Visual Journey is currently being printed and is due to arrive just before Christmas (it would make a great pressie). As a contributor I have 100 copies to sell – which will be signed by me and include a free postcard! To pre-order your own copy, email me now at info @ claireneedham.com (without the spaces) before they all go!!
Please stay tuned for details of the book launch. for more information and a preview please click here.