Exhibition: takayna – a Voice for the Forest by Rob Blakers

Exhibition: takayna – a Voice for the Forest by Rob Blakers

‘At its western edge takayna/Tarkine is bounded by a windswept coastline and a wild ocean that not infrequently heaves up seas of eighteen metres and more. The rocky headlands and shifting dunefields found here hold the echoes of tens of thousands of years of indigenous living. Inland lie the rugged Meredith and Norfolk Ranges and beyond that spreads Australia’s largest temperate rainforest – 180,000 hectares of wild and verdant life. 

Within this rainforest is the Wilson River. With Huon pines stretching for over 25 kilometres throughout the catchment it is the most extensive contiguous, intact and unlogged Huon pine forest that remains in Tasmania – and hence the world. These are extraordinary, ancient trees – weathered by floods and time, twisted and gnarled. Through the centuries upper limbs have been colonised by mosses, lichens and ferns – and even other trees! Huon pines here that have been measured at close to 2m diameter are estimated to be 2500 years old. They are the second oldest discrete trees in the world, after the amazing Bristlecone pines. 

Just four per-cent of takayna is protected as national park and the Mining Exploration Licence Area of Perth-based mining company Venture Minerals, along with over twenty drill sites, covers much of the incredible Wilson catchment, including most of the wild Harman River and the dramatic Harman Falls. Lush Huon pine forests grow at prospective mine locations. 

Venture Mineral’s mining plans would bring holes in mountains, tailings dams and rock dumps, major haulage roads, mine infrastructure, access for Huon pine poachers, weeds, loss of wilderness toxic run-off and a massively increased risk of fire to this wild and remote rainforested valley. The most extensive intact Huon pine catchment that remains on the planet would become a privatised industrial zone.’ From exhibition catalogue.

Wild Island Gallery. Hobart. 3 – 30 May 2022

More of Rob Blakers photographs can be seen here.

Ancient Rainforest, McKimmie Creek. 1000 mm x 1250 mm inkjet print.

Main photograph above: Huon pine grove, Wilson River. 1000 mm x 1250 mm inkjet print.

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This article was written by

David Tatnall is a Melbourne based fine art photographer.

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