There’s nothing like a road trip into the heart of rural Australia! Adam McNicol, Andrew Chapman and Noel Butcher have just returned from a three-day drive through the Riverina region of New South Wales.
The boys started by driving from Melbourne to Balranald, via Adam’s place in Ballarat. On these types of trips, Adam drives and Andrew and Noel watch out the window for anything that takes their fancy, things like old vehicles and sheds, farm machinery working in paddocks and classic Australian bush landscapes. Andrew and Noel have been known to pile out of the car to photograph an old shed, then call for the car to stop again just a kilometre or so down the road when something else catches their fancy. They can turn a 400km trip into an eight-hour marathon!
As his many fans around the national know only two well, Andrew’s great passion is wool sheds, and this trip yielded two beauties. Thanks to some help from Leigh Whyte from Iluka Mining, which now owns the two sheds in question, the boys were able to visit the Bidura and Durra stations. The stormy skies at Bidura made for some really dramatic pictures, while the extraordinary array of material at Durra the following morning made for brilliant subject material. The crumbling homestead, with its picture of Jesus and old furnishings, was a highlight.
From there the boys travelled to Hay, where they documented the annual race meeting for another coffee table-style book, this one to be titled Dirt racing on the ’Bidgee. The book is the brainchild of Hay-based photographer Margie McClelland, who has been taking photos of the race meetings at Hay (and at nearby Carathool) for the best part of two decades.
Margie and her husband Chris, who is an extraordinarily talented artist in his own right (see his stuff at the Wild Prints website by clicking here), hosted Adam, Andrew and Noel for two nights, and their hospitality was magnificent.
There was quite an array of characters at the races, with big hats and broad grins, so Andrew, Noel and Margie were able to add to what was already a substantial collection of pictures of racing in Hay. Another thing that sets Hay apart from a photographic perspective is the sand track. The white sand contrasts beautifully with the grassy spectator areas, and when you get stormy skies of the kind that loomed over Hay last weekend, the pictures are spectacular.