Windang wheels

Windang Island sits just beyond the mouth of Lake Illawarra. At low tide it is possible to walk out to the island over a narrow sand bar or isthmus which becomes submerged at high tide in a big swell and storms. In a Dreaming story, Windang Island is an abandoned canoe used by the Thurawal people to reach Australia.

Carriage wheels on the rock shelf were from a rail line built here in the 1890s to carry rock quarried on the island for breakwaters at the mouth of the lake to keep it open. It silts over from the pressure of tides and waves, only breaking open after heavy rains on the escarpment behind which flood the lake. The project was abandoned soon after it begun, and the wheels were left on the rocks and beach. In the last 10 years the lake was opened permanently with the completion and building of breakwaters!

The wheels are subject to the relentless action of the sea. Although the wheels no longer spin, their presence at the water’s edge reminds me of the way in which time and nature turns with the passing of years, seasons, days and the daily rising and falling of the tides.

Wheels in the tide

Wheels in the tide

Wheel and spokes

Wheel and spokes

Three rims

Three rims

Six spokes

Six spokes

All photos were taken at Windang Island on World Wide Pinhole Photography Day 2017 using a Chamonix 045F1 View Camera, with Skink 0.4mm f.214 pinhole mounted in a Copal shutter, on Shanghai 100 film, and stand developed in Rodinal (1.100).

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