Welcome to the Burke & Wills Environment Expedition Visual Journal.
The artwork takes the form of a series of postcards from Ben Beeton highlighting and documenting the people, the land and changes in Australia's environment since the original expedition. These postcards seek to intrigue and encourage students to reflect and examine the history of Australia through deep time.
Journal images are presented in 3 sections:
Section 1: Melbourne to Menindee
Section 2: Menindee to Coopers Creek
Section 3: Coopers Creek to the Gulf of Carpentaria (still in progress, to be completed in 2011)
Some images include links to videos on Youtube Videos
24 August 2010
Interactive multi-media artist
This image reflects upon the first days of the 1860 Burke and Wills expedition, the new Burke and Wills environmental awareness expedition and what science tells us about the Earth. Firstly, running along the base of this image are images of gum leaves which reflect on the eucalypt forest that once dominated what is now Moonee Ponds. On the left we see historical drawings of Burke and Wills, Burke is on the left. Burke was a policeman from country Victoria and was 39 when he was appointed leader of the expedition. Wills was a surveyor working at the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne and was 25 when he was appointed to the expedition. Bellow Burke and Wills are a series of gum leaf drawings from the gum trees at Queens Part at Moonee Ponds. In the top left corner of the image is the Essendon Historical Society building at Moonee Ponds. Burke and Wills stayed one night there and to commemorate this on the 26th of August 2010 the Essendon Historical Society held a screening of the 1985 classic Australian film, “Burke and Wills” starring Jack Thompson. Jack Thompson presented the film on the night of the screening. Next to the building are two ovular black and white images. They are part of the same photo of the original expedition. On the right are a number of the expedition’s members including Burke. On the left is an image of Ludwig Becker who was the appointed artist for the expedition. A portrait of Ludwig Becker is featured just below the map in an oval. At the Queens Park official send off ceremony for our expedition a number of actors portraying different people who had involvement in the expedition gave a presentation. I took two of these actors and placed them inside a very special mirror. This mirror according to local legend was left on a tree in Moonee Ponds by Burke. There are a number of actresses from this event in an oval in the top right corner. The three camels reference the 26 camels taken on the journey which was the first time camels were taken on an expedition inland. In the top right corner I have placed an Antarctic Beach tree; I did this because millions of years ago it used to grow in this region. It is one of the oldest flowering plants that still exist today. Next to it is a map showing Victoria’s salinity problems. In the top center of the image is a map showing that the sediments that Burke and Wills travelled across in the early stage of their journey are Quaternary. The Quaternary began about 3 million years ago; we are still in the Quaternary period. Three million years ago is not that long ago when we consider that the meteorite that killed the Dinosaurs hit the Earth sixty five million years ago. In the bottom left corner is text “4.5 Billion Years Ago”. To get an idea about how old our planet is we have divided the distance that we will travel which is about 4200 kilometers and by the age of the Earth which is 4.5 billion years. This works out that from Moonee Ponds to the Gulf one year equals about 1 millimeter.