It was a pleasure to attend the opening of Kit's latest exhibition at the National Wine Centre (NWC). Kit's images of the Simpson Desert are printed as large canvasses and hung in the upstairs gallery at the NWC. The desert is a fascinating place at all scales, and Kit has chosen an intimate view that can only be seen when your looking carefully. Below is the story behind the images. Please make time to visit this great show.
My first experience of the Simpson Desert was in the 1960's when, while teaching at the Alice Springs High School, I accompanied an Alice Springs Stock and Station friend on his business trips to cattle Stations out from the Alice - some being on the edge of the upper Simpson.
It wasn't until June, 2001, when I was very fortunate to be offered a trip as a passenger/relief driver on a Toyota 4-Wheel Drive trip to Birdsville and west, that I would be able to renew my acquaintance with the desert. The trip didn't turn out as planned as a lot of rain had fallen over that route and we changed from the Birdsville Track to the Oodnadatta Track to Mt Dare homestead and then onto the Old Andado Track to the Old Andado Station.
And there it was - the most westerly dune of that part of the Simpson was a 15 minute or so walk from the homestead - a red wall beyond which was wave after wave of red dunes into the distance. I photographed the sunset. I photographed the red waves to the East, and the red lines heading North and South.
Next morning, I, and most of the others, photographed the lead up to the sunrise and of the sunrise itself. I photographed sand and low level bushes defining paths on which were tracks of small mammals, large beetles, birds, red fox and other creatures.
This was my real introduction to the Simpson Desert.
Since then I have had the pleasure of three other trips - completing the aborted trip; a trip from Broken Hill to Birdsville and across the Simpson by way of the French Line via Poeppel Corner to Dalhousie Springs and ruin; and my latest Simpson trip heading south from Jervois (Northwest of the Alice) to join the Hay River and then further south along the swales, diverting to Lake Caroline, and on to the Warburton River.
The photos in this Exhibition were mostly taken on dunes bordering the swales in the upper part of the Hay River and on the fringes of Lake Caroline. The lake had been near full but was receding, exposing the cracking of the drying silt, of the deposition of sand of different colours, of the exposure of wind formed ripples and of the eroded midget canyons and other land forms.
The recent rains had brought on the germination of the grasses and shrubs to give patches of seedlings sprouting in the sand and the drying mud. One of the photos is of Tektites, perhaps uncovered by the eroding of a surface covering.
All were very rewarding experiences.