Rivertown with Approaching Duststorm (2016)

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Rivertown with Approaching Duststorm

Rivertown with Approaching Duststorm (2016)
2.1 x 1.2m

Image details:

Rivertown with Approaching Dust-storm (2016) Detail 1

Rivertown with Approaching Dust-storm (2016) Detail 2

Rivertown with Approaching Sand-storm (2016) Detail 3

Rivertown with Approaching
(Detail 1) 
Rivertown with Approaching 
(Detail 2) 
Rivertown with Approaching 
(Detail 3) 

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This work:

While many of John Webb's images are of named river towns, this work focuses on the essence of a (mythical) 'Rivertown' - the river, surrounding agriculture, the working buildings that support agricultural commerce (silos and sheds), and those which cater to the town and rural populace (such as the hotel).

There is an extensive list of river towns in the Murray-Darling area, and Webb hopes that each can see elements of their town in this visual synthesis. 

Australian context:

Graveyards often appear in Webb's Australia series. In one sense this relates to the circularity of life - sprung from the soil and ending in the soil. It also speaks to the way in which the locals (at least in previous generations) often spent their whole lives in this one place, and so their sense of who they are is deeply rooted in that place.

A survey conducted by the University of Melbourne has found Australians who live in towns of fewer than 1,000 people are significantly happier than others. 

Despite this, many small towns in Australia are at risk. Partly this is related to ongoing urban drift and increased mechanisation in agriculture, and some is due to geographic problems that may be related to climate change. Thus the "Approaching Dust-storm" in the title of this work may be read in a number of ways.

Increasing tourism in the river lands may be helping to keep this "dust storm"at bay, but it also is changing the way way of life of these iconic river towns.

Camping by the Murray
Pinnaroo Hotel
 Camping by the Murray River
Photo: South Australia Government
Pinaroo Hotel in the Murray Mallee 

Bethanga Bridge on the Murray

forever in the fields

Bethanga Bridge on the Murray
Image: Tim J Keegan
Forever in the fields
Photo: Michael Coghlan
Mildura paddleboats

Image: Your Mildura