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retracing the steps of Burke and Wills

years ago I went on a long four wheel drive trek up to The Simpson Desert and Coongie Lakes. A poignant part of the journey was finding the famous Dig Tree at Coopers Creek .In this lonely and isolated part of Australia the legend of the ill fated expedition of explorers Burke and Wills was firmly established in our national psyche.

Much later when researching my family history I discovered that my great grandfather had been a drover in his youth .The long and arduous stock route from Queensland to South Australia followed the Darling River and Coopers Creek. It was established in the years after the 1860 expedition when the vast inland opened up to pioneers and graziers. I had unknowingly been camping at the same waterholes and riverbanks .

During the 2020 pandemic when I was grounded from travel like the rest of the world I researched old travel photos and satellite images of the 3000 kilometers traversed by Burke and Wills from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria . This vast landscape ( home to numerous traditional owners for centuries) covered terrain including spinifex country and grasslands , rivers ,desert and tropical wetlands .Much of this landscape I have both driven through and /or flown over . Many of the locations including outback Queensland and New South Wales have been the subject of past exhibitions .

This year I will exhibit the results of my latest research in a new solo exhibition in Canberra .It is titled "Re-exploration" Using the technology of the 21st century my paintings will incorporate digital imaging along with traditional paints and collage combined with historical maps and the hand written diaries of Burke and Wills .



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