Coves, Cliffs and Creeks was a solo exhibition commissioned by Willoughby City Council for their Foyer Space to coincide with Willoughby Visual Arts Biennial theme of Kaleidoscope over September 2017. My installation investigated the remnant bushland of the western coves of Middle Harbour, from two perspectives—from the land and from the water—imagining a time before twentieth century development.
I explored the area on foot and by boat gaining different views. From above on the rocky headlands where jagged patches of water were glimpsed distantly through branches of trees. And down on the water, enclosed by fallen rock boulders and looming hills of trees, were tidal mangrove forests along the creeks, rock shelters, middens and fish traps and plastic debris.
Over the years (last century) I had ventured into Middle Harbour. In my past-life as an architect I had a few commissions for house additions on large steep, sloping blocks with angophoras and rock boulders. I had followed the winding roads to the addresses for design, but never explored beyond, until an invitation to go out on a boat that was moored in a remote cove. The sailing was more like drifting and I recall the tree-clad hills with no houses. Years later, and more regularly from another boat moored at Sailors Bay, I became more familiar with Middle Harbour. Since then (this century) with a hired kayak from The Spit I discovered the mangrove forest at high tide of Crag Cove.
This year I revisited walking these coves. From the lookout at Harold Reid Reserve, I followed the Foreshore Track north and then down onto the mud flats, to what I call Leech Creek, following a lightly marked path at low tide amongst the mangrove shoots. The Foreshore Track continues around North Arm of Castle Cove, to Explosives Reserve, the most north of my bushland investigation. Another discovery south, on a pocket of waterfront bushland was Clive Park. Sitting on a large flat rock looking north-east, I could see up Middle Harbour to the ridge of Forestville. Seeing oysters below on the rocks, I climbed down and discovered the rock shelter under the large overhang above, and the middens from the original caretakers of this place.
Back wall and glass - Lookout to Look From, ink on rag paper and acrylic marker on glass, 120 x 200 cm, 2017
Back wall and glass - Around the Creek, mixed media and collage and acrylic marker on glass, 120 x 100 cm, 2017
Floor - Washed Up, recycled plastic, plywood and steel, 260 x 300 cm, 2017
Back wall and glass - Low Tide, ink on rag paper and acrylic marker on glass, 120 x 300 cm, 2017
Cabinet Three - A paper and transparency midden from dry point prints, with reference photos of Middle Harbour
Cabinet Four - My map of Port Jackson and Middle Harbour from late 1970s, research photos and diary sketch drawings