Once was River
My home is slightly west of the Great Divide in Southeast Queensland, where the Severn River drains the granite landscape around Stanthorpe into the Murray Darling system.
In a proposed dam site for the Stanthorpe Shire, my photographic installation Once was River centres on the beauty of the rock ringholes, extraordinary shapes carved by the force of the once mighty Severn River. Ever changing patterns of pebbles, sand and water fortify the notion of palimpsest. The kettle, acting as a metaphor for our water consumption, displaces the aesthetic calm in each image.
With the combination of less rain and more demand for water over the last 30 years I have watched the river slow to a trickle. Now the new town dam proposal threatens to put more pressure on the river and the environment. Perhaps the answer lies not with bigger and bigger ‘vessels’, but instead, in the words of Amory Lovins, actively pursuing a lifestyle of “elegant frugality”. To do otherwise comes at a high cost.
Rob Simcocks is a keen observer of landscape and works in sculpture, painting, mixed media, drawing, photography, installation and music. He shares a hand-built cabin in the Granite Belt mountains with his wife, artist Teri Welles.