MEDIUM » Writing

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Paraburdoo
William L Fox
Writing

Two hundred feet above me morning sunlight skims along the rim of Weano Gorge, bouncing from wall to wall until it reaches the water in the pool at my feet. The gorge is carved into the sedimentary...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Paraburdoo
Mags Webster
Writing

For Barry, Bill and Mark this was their first Pilbara experience. How fitting it was that it started at the tiny, quintessentially 'outback' airport at Paraburdoo. As we stepped off the plane and i...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Tom Price
William L Fox
Writing

On the drive to Tom Price, eighty kilometres northeast and the entrance to Karijini, evidence of the cyclone that went through here in January was abundant in the washouts and road repairs. As the ...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Tom Price
Mags Webster
Writing

Russet. Plum. Cocoa. Lavender. Silver-sage. Shadows of purple. Out into a landscape of Albert Namatjira colours. We've landed at Paraburdoo, welcomed by a massive goanna, which looks almost as anci...

Read more

Read more


Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Between Tom Price and Karijini
William L Fox
Writing

After a fitful air-conditioned sleep we had driven out of Tom Price early this morning and into Karijini, nothing else on the road except mining vehicles labelled 'patrol' and 'emergency unit.' We ...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Karijini National Park, Oxers Lookout
William L Fox
Writing

The first place in the park that Paul takes us is Oxers Lookout, which stands three hundred feet above the meeting place of the Red, Weano, Joffre, and Hancock gorges at Junction Pool. It's a major...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 4 2010
Karijini National Park, Hancock Gorge
Mags Webster
Writing

We go to Hancock Gorge, its cliffs tiled with bruise-coloured plates of stone and shale. Distant sound of water far below. We listen to the music of the land, we osmose into its soundscape. I'm sta...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 5 2010
Tom Price Railway Road
William L Fox
Writing

In transit with water and ore

Midmorning the next day we stow our bags in the back of Frank and Elaine Argaet's well-equipped SUV to keep them out of the red dust as we drive the Tom Pri...

Read more


Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 5 2010
Mount Sheila
Mags Webster
Writing

There is a daylight moon. Do we see it because the air is so clear? In the mid-morning sunlight, the colours are pretty bleached but there is still a hint of its lacy outline hovering above the esc...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 5 2010
Millstream-Chichester National Park
William L Fox
Writing

In the late morning we top Mt. Sheila at the former site of a telecommunications facility, one of the steeper improved tracks I've ever driven on. Barry's GPS reads 3290 feet--1002 meters--and alth...

Read more

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 6 2010
Burrup Peninsular
William L Fox
Writing

Dampier is an active port but only a small town, fewer than 1800 people living in it; that includes the transient workers sharing the motel with us, like the pair of deckhands next door from Shangh...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 6 2010
Burrup Peninsular
Mags Webster
Writing

I've sketched something in my notebook - a jagged scribble of ink, looking like broken shark teeth. Underneath I've written 'Standing Stones Site - Flying Foam Massacre'.
I've copied out the w...

Read more


Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 6 2010
Dampier Archipelago
William L Fox
Writing

In the afternoon, when Shane accompanies us out on a boat for a half-day cruise through the archipelago, it takes some time for the water and wind and sun to calm us down from the acute sense of co...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 7 2010
Dampier Archipelago
Carolyn Karnovsky
Writing

The Archipelago is considered to have the largest concentration of rock art in the world, estimated at perhaps a million petroglyphs. Our tour of the Dampier coast continued by boat taking us throu...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 7 2010
Dolphin Island and Archipelago, off Burrup Peninsula
William L Fox
Writing

At one o'clock and after a quick lunch eaten on the boat we're back in the channel and sail over the pipeline bringing in the offshore gas. It's down about ten metres, covered in rocks for protecti...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 7 2010
Dampier
William L Fox
Writing

At the end of the day we sit in the hotel bar, sunburned and wind blasted on a covered terrace drinking beer with lemon slices and looking down at the port with its fishing boats, recreational sail...

Read more


Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Burrup Peninsular
William L Fox
Writing

Stories replacing stories

First thing the next day we hike up a hill in Deep Gorge to see the petroglyphs of the now-vanished fat-tailed kangaroo, an image executed on a large flat boul...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Cossack
William L Fox
Writing

By mid-morning we're on our way to Roebourne and the Aboriginal art centre there, but we detour first to Cossack, an historical town that was the birthplace of pearling in WA during the 1860s. By t...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Cossack
Mags Webster
Writing

By Monday we had farewelled the Burrup and were starting to make our way towards Port Hedland, taking in Cossack, Point Samson and Roebourne along the way. But first, a mandatory stop at the Pilbar...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Roebourne
William L Fox
Writing

When we reach Roebourne later in the day, we learn a little about the creation of local stories. The Aboriginal arts centres of Australia began to be established in the 1970s as a place for local p...

Read more


Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Point Samson
William L Fox
Writing

We break from the heat in Roebourne by driving over to Port Samson for a lunch of blue fin grouper and chips, then head back out to the collection of upright sticks in the mud that we now know are ...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Boodarie
William L Fox
Writing

Port Hedland: Issues of scale

It takes us most of the rest of the afternoon to drive the two-lane road from Roebourne to Port Hedland, at 15,000 or so people now the largest town in the Pilb...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Port Hedland, the Port
William L Fox
Writing

At 6.15 in the evening we drive down to the port to take a look around the harbour aboard one of the pilot boats used to bring in the tankers, several of which are being loaded as we cast off. Iron...

Read more

Journey 2 - 52 Weeks On
March, 8 2010
Port Hedland, the Port
Mags Webster
Writing

We are out on the harbour at Port Hedland. Getting dark. We're back in the gorges but this time the cliff walls are the towering hulls of the bulk carriers, their anchors angled like gargoyles off ...

Read more


Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Karratha
William L Fox
Writing

Return to the Burrup

When we fly back into Karratha, the weather report is for fine weather, although the AU Bureau of Meteorology website that Christian Fletcher brings up on his iPhone...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Karratha
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

We took the first flight up to Karratha and were welcomed by gusts of wind blowing dirt across the flats.

Unlike previous trips which have involved moving through places, we were based this ...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Karratha
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

Next stop: the lookout behind the Visitors Centre - a place to get our bearings and make plans. Unloading tripods and hauling large camera bags on their backs the photographers spread out: Christia...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Karratha
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

It was immediately obvious that these photographers have a wonderful team dynamic, a healthy playful rivalry accompanied by a willingness to share. It is more than just sharing their images – it ...

Read more


Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Karratha flood plains
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

We took a dirt track off the east road along the coast – a well worn car track that shines with use. Around a bend or two there is a natural salt flat, pink and dull, that has abandoned car bodie...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Dampier
William L Fox
Writing

Driving west out of town after lunch, we cruise through the newest pods along the plumb line of the town. The houses are wood, brick, and steel with steeply pitched, gutterless roofs raking low tow...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Dampier salt flats
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

We stopped at the place where the Dampier salt flats meet the highway, and walked along the paths that segment the small areas of salt between the road and railway line. Layers of colour, texture a...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 21 2010
Burrup Peninsular
William L Fox
Writing

Six pm and with an almost full moon finds Mollie and I sitting on rocks across from the small valley and the ammonia nitrate plant at the foot of the Burrup. The photographers are framing their sho...

Read more

Read more


Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 22 2010
Karratha
William L Fox
Writing

The Future Displacement

Early the next morning the photographers go off to take a tour of the new natural gas-fired power plant at Cape Preston that's almost completed, but not yet open,...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 22 2010
Dampier Archipelago
William L Fox
Writing

Our third stop on the tour is East Intercourse Island, according to local lore either named by William Dampier upon his visit in 1699 as a place to converse with Aboriginal peoples or, per what I w...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 22 2010
Burrup Peninsular
William L Fox
Writing

Larry and I spend much of the rest of the day digesting what we've seen, and find ourselves in late afternoon bouncing along the dirt roads of the Burrup looking for the rock art cemetery. We remem...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 22 2010
West Coast Hwy (on the way to Cape Preston)
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

On Wednesday we ventured to Cape Preston to visit the power plant that is under construction as part of the new magnetite mining project. On the way we paused at a truck stop - perhaps in an attemp...

Read more


Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 22 2010
Cape Preston
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

Upon arriving at Cape Preston, after going through multiple, various and excessive site safety inductions, we were allowed to enter the largest scale diesel and gas combination power unit in Austra...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 23 2010
Karratha
William L Fox
Writing

When in doubt, go flying.

That's been my motto for several years: when the view from the ground is so thick with associations that it's tough to sort out what fits where, get in an airpl...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 23 2010
Burrup Peninsular
William L Fox
Writing

At one o'clock this afternoon Mollie and Larry and I again meet up with Shane Peters to wander about the Burrup. Today he's wearing a blue field shirt, nylon field pants with lots of pockets, and a...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 23 2010
Burrup Peninsular
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

Later, on our way to the rock art cemetery, as we drove up the out-of-the-way 4WD track, I could feel a quietness come over Larry and Bill. I guess I was somewhat prepared for this visit, after con...

Read more


Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 23 2010
Burrup Peninsular
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

We followed the moon to Hearson's Cove, apparently the best spot for seeing the ‘Stairway to the Moon'. People lined up along the beach to capture the light darting across the tidal flats and the...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 24 2010
Karratha
William L Fox
Writing

We drop off Larry at the airport in the morning, then wander around as the guys photograph the subdivisions and industrial structures around Karratha, like cement batch plants. Unlike the humungous...

Read more

Journey 4 - 52 Weeks On
September, 24 2010
Dampier
Mollie Hewitt
Writing

Dampier would be the last stop of the Pilbara Project trips for the majority of us, however Tony would soon be returning to Onslow to complete the journey through the western Pilbara.

The ph...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 22 2010
Newman
William L Fox
Writing

Two months later and I'm back in the Pilbara with Larry Mitchell. This time Tim Acker is our guide, a photographer and consultant in Aboriginal art to FORM. We've flown 1200 kilometres north of Per...

Read more


Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 22 2010
Radio Hill, near Newman
William L Fox
Writing

Our first task upon arrival is to drive up Radio Hill with its small antennae farm and get oriented. Newman is one of the hottest towns in Australia, at time ratcheting clear up to 47ºC, but today...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 22 2010
Newman
William L Fox
Writing

In the afternoon Tim takes us over to visit Gabrielle Sullivan and her staff at the local Aboriginal art centre, Martumili Artists. Formed in late 2006, it is among the youngest of the sixty-five a...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 22 2010
Round Hill, Newman
William L Fox
Writing

That evening we drive our rented four-wheel drive vehicles to the top of Round Hill to watch the sunset. In the distance a storm brews over the mountains, the sunlight breaking through in rays duri...

Read more

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 23 2010
Billanooka Station
William L Fox
Writing

On the Roads

Sunday is a travel day--but first we have to climb a hill at 5.30 am for dawn shots, this time so the guys can catch early light bouncing off the steep terraces of overburden fr...

Read more


Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 23 2010
Talawanna Track, before the turnoff to Karlaymilyi
William L Fox
Writing

In the afternoon we hit the one of Len Bedell's famous roads, the Talawanna Track, and head east. Bedell carved the road in 1963 with his Gunbarrel Crew, and it's a veritable highway that threads i...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 24 2010
Talawanna Track, before the turnoff to Karlaymilyi
William L Fox
Writing

Walking with Dingoes

Monday morning at 5.45, laying on my back in my swag, I watch the International Space Station  soar overhead, trailed by a NASA shuttle, the two dots brilliant in the s...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 24 2010
Rudall River, Karlamilyi National Park
William L Fox
Writing

The guys pick me up after an hour of walking. By now scale of the landscape is becoming more apparent to me, the riverbed I'm heading toward not much closer than it was when I started. I'm happy to...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 24 2010
Desert Queens Baths, Karlamilyi National Park
William L Fox
Writing

We turn back, re-enter the park, and head for the Desert Queen Baths, a series of permanent pools in an intimate gorge found at the end of a rough 18km track. That short distance takes us an hour t...

Read more


Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 25 2010
Parnngurr
William L Fox
Writing

The photographers disperse early to take advantage of the slanting light while Larry and Tim and I walk up the gorge past the first pool to the second and eventually into the fractal branching of w...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 25 2010
Parnngurr Waterhole
William L Fox
Writing

Around four-thirty, an hour before sunset, we drive out to the Parnngurr Waterhole where the last group of Martu living on the land was discovered by Len Bedell while building the Talawana track. T...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 25 2010
Parnngurr
William L Fox
Writing

On our way back to town and just as the sun is sinking below the horizon, we stop so everyone can walk out from the vehicles to collect long stalks of grass for basket making. The sky is going all ...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 27 2010
Parnngurr Hill
William L Fox
Writing

Lines above and below ground

Early the next morning we go up Parnngurr Hill with Curtis, a novice filmmaker from town. Uranium was first discovered here by CRA (now Rio Tinto) in the 1970s. ...

Read more


Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 27 2010
Balfour Downs/Rabbit Proof Fence
William L Fox
Writing

We leave town at 9.30, and at 12.15 we're on the Balfour Downs Road and crossing a new intersection at the Rabbit-Proof Fence, a sign nearby proclaiming it the longest fence in the world at 1837 km...

Read more

Journey 3 - 52 Weeks On
May, 28 2010
Newman
William L Fox
Writing

At the end of the trip I spend some time talking with Les about his experience working in the Pilbara, and he says: “I'm between somewhere and nowhere. I'm working consciously to eliminate the mi...

Read more