Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lake Manchester

This break we took a day trip to Lake Manchester, a favorite haunt and not an ugly desolate dam like most in our area but one surrounded by bushclad hills. It is one of the quieter places around, built before WWI and it retains the industrial ornamentation and solid dignity of engineering from that time - built to last by craftsmen with quality materials. The nearby picnic ground has been abandoned by family picnickers (they are all at the airconditioned shopping malls) with barbeque areas morphing back into cow paddocks and picnic tables being reclaimed by strangler figs. I once went to a Robert Moore show of paintings in the local hall, the lake being subject matter for some of his works on canvas and fibreglass so I remembered what a great venue it was with it's french doors and wide verandahs.

We had to negotiate a council worker spraying poison on weeds through a firehose but we made it to the dam wall without respiratory failure. The tide had gone out nearly 20metres straight down, exposing the dam floor and bits and pieces of wrecker treasure. Mr Accordian was able to take the photos above and some audio files of the soundscape while I foraged and watched the turtles. We also found an abandoned walking path with overgrown stairs and stone path edges leading up a nearby conical hill with views out to Ivory Rock. The only other people around apart from poison man were a couple of old boys reminiscing about their glory days abseiling down the dam wall, a carload of bogans tearing up the dusty carpark and a surveyor. The surveyor (never a welcome sight in my books) was taking measurements for the dam wall to be raised 5 meters. We wondered if council was also planning to increase the rainfall. It does not seem to have occured to them that we might have hit population capacity for our water supply.
Anyway, this means that another piece of our industrial heritage gets the chop along with half a hill and the decayed ambience that makes this place to special.
I once did a series of brooches and necklaces about the disappearance of grand old industrial machinery inspired by a Glen Willard photo of a locomotive engine. The brooches use elements of the machinery which I copied in silver and fragmented with a similarly fragments printed sprig of rosemary on patinated copper. Perhaps the enduring work of artists and craftspeople can help to document what is vanishing and to sooth souls weary of a modern built environment built shonkily with cheap materials and torn down every 20years or so to be rebuilt in the even crappier style of the day!

7 comments:

Florence said...

Mr Accordian's photos inspire me to say.."Why can't you guy's take me with you next time!" lol, no really, I mean it.

It was good to look at your "future fossil" series of jewellery in the light of this post.

xx

Bad Samaritan said...

Your eyes on the world are a delight for all to interpret - it sounded like an idylic trip. I'd had my fill of your weather beacon photo - it was the focus of my dissapointment that you weren't blogging - Sam

Shell said...

Oh my, noone else I know even knows about Lake Manchester! We used to be the bogans tearing it up in our old Holden Premier, and we used to go and jump off the rocks into the overflow rock pool. When we were at uni (doing our first degrees) it was a favourite spot after a big night out - nothing like jumping off a cliff to make you forget your hangover - hah!

I remember going there when the damn was overflowing and a huge waterfall would gush down into the overflow rockpool - it was beautiful swimming in there at those times.

We haven't been there for at least 6 years. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

thanks flo- we'll drag you along on the next wrecker excursion! and bad sam sorry to cause such trauma during my absence. wow shell, there ain't much water there anymore and the water in the dam has that toxic algal boom on it- the overflow pond is non-existent and you can hear all the water being pumped out to the thirsty humans in suburbian utopia.

Mrs Wrecker said...

Have a photo of the wrecker family at Lake Manchester in winter of 1976 at the picnic area in our trendy 70s gear. The council must know something we don't about the coming of The Great Flood. Huge drains are being installed in tiny Fish Creek, The Gap, in preparation for a deluge.

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

ahh 1976, i remember it well...life was simple then with only one tv station.
I wouldn't be surprised if we get some great flooding soon - i can feel it in my waters....

shango said...

The other day, we never got pass bashing my Maclean experience, So now the absence is partially covered, how about the rest?