Quiet Time: Above Savage River

Galleries Open Daily 9.30am to 4pm
11 December – 13 January

Angela Robarts Bird Gallery

Free entry

Wheelchair Accessible

Quiet time: Above Savage River

Mat Hughes

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain”– Blade Runner

I visited the Tarkine in Tasmania’s north-west, an area known for its pristine, untouched natural beauty. I had been reading about Van Diemen’s Land and its colonial history and wanted to slow my image making down, in order to reflect on the past and connect with the landscape.

Transport to the penal colonies in the 1800`s was considered a sentence to the “very ends of the earth” from which there was little chance of survival, let alone return to European civilization.

I was fascinated by early accounts from seafarer’s and mariners who described the island’s interior as “impenetrable forest”. This described another frontier, a boundary between the barely known and the totally unknown. For many years the principle means of travel was by ship around the edge of the island.

With the brutal conditions in the penal colonies there was little for a convict to lose when considering escape and there was nowhere to go other than to the island’s interior. It is impossible to grasp how these convict/explorers felt as they made their escape with little or no equipment.

I daydream as I walk. I try to see through their eyes. I move over the same untouched land but am insulated in a different experience. I wear thermal clothes, waterproof boots and carry a water bottle and a sandwich.

Were they alive today, the stories these convict/explorers could tell…

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