The intersection between the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges and the Murraylands in South Australia is a fascinating one, especially from the perspective of Tableland Rd that runs between Truro and Eudund in what was Peramangk country. I had briefly explored it for the topographics section of the Bowden Archives and Industrial Modernity project in the 1990s without being aware that I was driving along Tableland Rd.
During 2021-2022 Graeme Hastwell was engaged in exploring the regional landscape around Tableland Rd during the different seasons of the year. These wonderful photos, which are based based on contingency and particularity, are part of an ongoing landscape project centred on both being there in place and time and the creative imagination.
Together they suggest that photography is a good way to conceive, relate and give voice to our relationship to the land in contemporary Australia. Photography in making the familiar strange can organize our way of seeing the land differently, to make overlooked aspects of the land visible, give voice to common experience and in doing so helps us to understand the history of the country we inhabit. The past lives on in the present. We can still ask the question that Keith Hancock did in his Discovering Monaro in 1974: ‘How, for good or ill, have Australians used the land on which they have lived?”