These photographs were made on a road trip with my Dad back to his hometown of Barraba in North-Western NSW in late 2010.
“Kuvera” is the name of the property my grandfather owned back in the 1930s-40s and I was keen to revisit the house with him. One of 8 kids Dad left home at 16 to join the military and only returned with us kids in tow for summer holidays with our Grandmother.
Barraba, a once prosperous asbestos mining town, boasted numerous pubs, the four major banks and a post-office, even a movie theatre. In the early 80s, the Canadian mining company Woodsreef, went bankrupt abandoning the mine and the town, the legacy of which is an unsightly and likely toxic ruin of an open-cut mine. The locals worry about the fallout of the mine’s toxicity but not much is done about it – ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Now there is little here other than an ageing population – some of which are my relatives – and the vestiges of a struggling rural township. Unusually, when we visited, the rain had turned the region a gorgeous emerald green. An old-timer acquaintance of my Dad’s mentioned that ‘in all his 80 odd years, he’d never seen the place so green….’ He missed the dryness and the vast yellow warmth of the land. He didn’t have to wait long, two months later, the landscape returned to its normal drought-like state.