Sometimes it takes something from the past to impact you and remind you of the goodness we modern Century Australian’s live with. Our standards of living, our expectations of our workplace environment and concepts of a child’s right to be young and free from the responsibilities of work. On a recent trip to Moonta (Yorke Peninsula, SA), once a copper mining town, I was moved by the life that many miners and their families lived. On a guided tour of the mines I could see young boys my sons age sifting through rubble looking for green (copper) on the stones. I listened to the guide explain that these young boys would work all day and then go to school in the evenings. It was very difficult life full of toil and hardship. But yet they endured for the sake of a living, their families, and for their pride, or sense of value. I was dwelling on this later as my family and I climbed the tailings heap and looked down on the tailings pond. This toil of the past has left a memorable life long scar on the landscape yet its a scar that many locals have a sense of pride about. The economy of the mining helped build the area, as well as the population and employment rate of the state. Unlike the peninsula I live on (the Fleurieu Peninsula), which is fairly hilly, the Yorke peninsula is in comparison fairly flat. As a result of not having as many towering hills, it is not often that you look down on the landscape. When I stood on top of the Tailings heap I felt inspired and proud of this mining past. I also fell in love with the swirling colours of the tailings ponds below. In the distance I could see the township of Moonta now surrounded by fields of wheat, canola, legumes and other crops. They were a beautiful fresh green with touches of yellow from the flowers of the various crops. The clouds above were fluffy, tall, billowing clouds; Boisterous and full life. I was so moved by the scene that I knew that I had to paint it.
If only painting was easy as ones imagination. I had the image imprinted on my mind and heart, however, at first I struggled to get the feeling of what I saw and felt that day. After a short break and a time of looking at other artists paintings for inspiration and ideas, I was able to complete the painting as I imagined. Moonta; its proud past, beauty and its ever changing and progressing life of sheep farming and mining, to a modern holiday town, and agriculture/farming hub.