A Darkside Downunder – MONA magic (Hobart, Australia)

February 1, 2015

I’m in Tasmania drinking with Dave; a giant of a man with broad shoulders and no neck. He’s lived alone all his adult life, and sits at his normal spot at the bar, in  brown flannelette shirt and singlet, jeans and mudcaked Blundy boots. “Changed? Yeah, sure has mate.” He looks around. “Mmm…not sure what […]

Children of Earth and Sun – searching for Frank Lloyd Wright (USA)

August 5, 2013

The sound of our footsteps is muffled by patchwork drifts of snow on a gravel track winding past the bottom of carpark stairs. Surrounding hills are covered in local rhododendron; the air icy, the trees tall, rough barked and bare. Our guide strides ahead – rugged-up for the 10min walk – black puffer coat full […]

Mandela Day – the remaking of South Africa (Johannesburg)

July 16, 2013

Back in Johannesburg for an extended African stay, I’ve been away for over 35 years. There’s no immigration paperwork, and I’m simply issued a visa at the airport. From Perth it’s been an 11hr flight, across the Indian Ocean, skirting Mauritius and Mozambique. The city is waking to another sky of azure blue, the signature […]

The Price of Progress – fading phantoms (Dili, East Timor)

June 16, 2013

I’m sitting in Melbourne, recalling a visit to one of the world’s youngest nations – the Republic of East Timor – just 720km northwest of Darwin. My photographs show a damaged city with bullet-marked buildings; a country scarred by a month-long bout of violence murdering 2000, raping hundreds and wrecking most infrastructure. This was the […]

Faces of Fame – an ode to John Wilson St (Melbourne, Australia)

May 25, 2013

A face stares out from my PC screen: a suited-up man about 30yrs old, the boyish face round, the hairline receding. I see a clean face, but for the sparing outline of a beard.  I see a thin mouth, the eyes narrowed and slightly turned, the face of a man who killed eight people by […]

Private Wars – `lest we forget’ (Melbourne, Australia)

April 22, 2013

I met Becky in the supermarket dairy aisle; a vivacious 40-something, born and raised locally. I’d seen her around, but we’d never met before Ed reappeared. I asked how my old friend was. “Not so good,” she said. “Still can’t sleep. And he really struggles with ANZAC Day. He won’t see a doctor. I’m hoping […]

Down in the Lucky Country – beggars, charlatons and thieves (Melbourne, Australia)

April 17, 2013

Straight from a long lunch, I raised my umbrella and headed for the pedestrian bridge. Crossing the river, I turned onto the station path; Melbourne cold and soaked after 6-days rain. I recall the soulful sounds of an upright 2-string Vietnamese fiddle commingling with the distant strains of bagpipes that echo from under the bluestone […]

Topknots and Talking Stones – the sinking of Easter Island (Chile)

April 14, 2013

I’m met at the airstrip by Toi my guide, with a vice-like handshake and welcoming lei of yellow bougainvillea draped around my neck. Two skinny girls in grass skirts and goosebumps serenade to the strains of a ukulele played by a man in a knitted jacket over an Hawaiian shirt. It’s winter on Easter Island. […]