Joadja (2010)

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John Webb: Joadja (2010)

Joadja (2010)
1.57 x 1.05m

Image details:

John Webb: Joadja (2010) Detail 1

John Webb: Joadja (2010) Detail 2

John Webb: Joadja (2010) Detail 3

Joadja (2010)
(Detail 1) 
 Joadja  (2010)
(Detail 2) 
Joadja (2010)
(Detail 3)  

The creative process:

"I begin with the basic paper base, to which I apply many washes until I have a satisfactory resonance of colours and tonal gradations. I pre- prepare a lot of different paper with a variety of colours, tones, textures etc.

Every shape, from the biggest to the smallest, is drawn on draughting film, transferred to the pre-prepared paper, cut out and stuck to the composition with blutack. Sometimes it is then moved, modified or discarded.

When I'm satisfied the composition is the way I want it, I then spend a few days doing the final paste down. When it is all secure I apply finishing touches.  The whole process is very time consuming."

Other photos of works in progress can be seen on Near Wagga (2013) and on The Road to Gundagai (2012).

John Webb: Joadja WIP Stage 1

John Webb: Joadja WIP Stage 2

Joadja (2010)
(Stage 1) 
Joadja  (2010)
(Stage 2 
John Webb: Joadja WIP Stage 3

John Webb: Joadja WIP Stage 4

 Joadja  (2010)
(Stage 3)
Joadja  (2010)
(Stage 4 )


The work:

Joadja is a New South Wales mining town with a marvelous vertical rail line that moved coal from the mines for processing. I like the way people stared into the camera for those old photos.

Australian context:
Joadja railway

Joadja township began soon after a local cattle grazer's son discovered shale in the area, with mining starting in 1874.

Apparently "the only way into Joadja was the white knuckle railway line, which ran down a 45-degree slope. The mine closed in 1906. Picture is of the mine at Joadja in the 1800s."

In the town itself, "the remains of the old buildings can still be seen, including the miner's cottages, a schoolhouse, a church, a cemetery and shale ovens for the refinement of kerosene - which have a World Heritage listing." (The latter point does not appear to be accurate.)

The origins and meaning of the town's name are uncertain, although 'valley of plenty' has been suggested.

See SMH article "Ghost town once a thriving kerosene mining settlement" (8 Feb 2004) and the photo-essay on Drewzelvista's blog (March 2011).

Photo from article "$3 million plus for whole ghost town" in (March 2011, no source given).

See also and the heritage listing at environment nsw, which states that:

"Joadja is a site of outstanding scientific significance as an archaeological site which contains a complex range of remains which could yield information regarding technical industrial processes and domestic and social relationships and lifestyles within the same site. This is extremely rare in Australia.

It is the only surviving oil-shale site in Australia. It is preserved to an extent unique in the world and provides a legible (scenic) and archaeological testimony of all aspects of a major and assocaited [sic] domestic arrangements works using horizontal retorts to distil oil from extremely rich oil-shale deposit."