trees in snow

Tunbridge Tier Conservation Area | Tasmania | Australia

Highland Lace 
Scott Bennett | 2023 | Oil on linen | 126cm x 95cm (Framed)

Tunbridge Tier road carves through the Conservation Area, climbing in switchback turns into the Highlands. Tall cuttings in the steep eastern slope enable unique perspectives; glimpses eye level with the ground through the undergrowth. There is a tension here, this landscape provokes many questions. Why are there no old trees? Why are some trees low and spread out but others tall and thin? Why are the eucalypts fire scarred but not the wattles?

Since 1788 the country had largely been; unmade. That First People had “made the land, A garden full of promise” and not the pioneers of Henry Lawson’s poem*, is well understood today. Without exception, newcomers had documented the dominance of grasses and the lack of any understory surrounding the trees. 

I knew about ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ bushfire, how indiscriminate burning or its lack, had further altered the landscape. My questions – standing there – were the kind that have prosaic answers.

But what was this other mystery, this swirling plasma of whiplash curves and tongued forms, this singularity, this multiplicity? 

That was why I’d gone there, to seek a mystery, not to answer it – even if I could – but to experience it.

*Freedom on the Wallaby by Henry Lawson

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