archives, colour, landscape, topographics, Travel

Queenstown, Tasmania

January 16, 2017

We are in the process  of  planning a trip to Tasmania  at the end of January for two weeks. In the first week   Suzanne will walking in  the Wall of Jerusalem National Park with friends and I will be photographing, probably on the West Coast.  In the second week we will travel together around the island in a camper van and check out the Three Capes Walk in the south east of the island, visit Mona, and take in the Australian Wooden Boat Festival   in Hobart.

Just by coincidence I came across an  old roll of 120 film in an old  bag–photos of Queenstown from a holiday in  Tasmania that we had in February 2010. I remember taking the photos from this location, as   I slid on the wet clay  when I was  coming down the slope to return to the car.  I  rolled down the hill and, in the process,  damaged the film winding mechanism of the Rolleiflex SL66 that I was using.   Lucky for me the Rolleiflex  was able to be repaired back  in Adelaide.

Queenstown, Tasmania

Queenstown, Tasmania

These were among  the  photos  that I’d made before I started working on the Tasmania Elegies portfolio.   Those portfolio  photos of the Mt Lyell Mine and the King River  were made on a subsequent trip  to Tasmania,  and they emerged out of the photos that I’d made in 2010.

I understand that the mine, currently  owned by Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT)  which in turn is owned  by Vedanta Ltd,  is currently in caretaker mode.  Even though the Hodgeman Liberal Government   in Tasmania is subsidising the mine’s operations to get it open again in spite of its history of environmental destruction.  The underground mine is  dangerous due to the very  high rainfall, but the open cut is probably viable.  Queenstown, however,  is pinning its hopes on tourism,

Queenstown is known  for the denuded landscapes around the town.   The landscape was denuded by acid rain from smelters in the past, it has eroded the topsoil down to the igneous pyrite bedrocks which are high in sulphur and oxidise and leach out metal sulphides when it rains.  Queenstown environs is regenerating naturally and the Gondwana Pines and rainforest will probably take another 150 years to regenerate.

hills, Queenstown, Tasmania

hills, Queenstown, Tasmania

Queenstown is also known for its Red River. The river,  which  runs through the town,  turns red from the iron oxide that leaches from the mine along with other metal sulphides. It is a dead zone.  Most of the creeks around the town are subject to the acid mine drainage and can be consider contaminated. The degradation of the landscape from the denuding from acid rain in the past and the ongoing acid mine drainage contaminating natural water courses are significant environmental issues.


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