GoSee got the word at Seven Mile Beach Cabin Caravan Park just out of Hobart. Stop at The Wall we were told. The next stage in our GoSee Tows Around Tasmania tour was via Wayatinah and on to Strahan on the Tasmanian West Coast.
Plenty to see along the way but Seven Mile Beach owners Rob and Jo recommended The Wall. Jo comes from a creative artistic family and Rob has an eye for the out of the ordinary. So we turned off the serpentine Lyell Highway on the edge of Derwent Bridge when we spotted The Wall's A-frame sign.
Rob and Jo were so right. The Wall by artist Greg Duncan impressed the hell out of us. GoSee thinks The Wall is an Australian experience in world class.
The Wall in the Wilderness is Greg Duncan’s tribute to herculean pioneer achievement. Muscle, bone and true grit shaped the past and present of Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Muscles ripple and sinews strain, in men and animals, alive in the warmth of the Huon Pine medium under Greg's hands.
GoSee with an old friend The Wall carpark Derwent Bridge
A work in progress, The Wall is being carved from three-metre high wooden panels. The carved panels tell the history of the harsh Central Highlands region - first the indigenous people, then to the pioneering timber harvesters, pastoralists, miners and Hydro workers.
When complete The Wall will be 100 metres long.
So far, Greg has carved scenes depicting the workers of the Hydro-Electric Scheme and of the forestry industry, and scenes concerning the environmental plight of the wedge-tail eagle and the extinction of the Thylacine (the Tasmanian Tiger). The Tasmanian Tiger is local history within living memory among Derwent Bridge residents.
Are there still Tasmanian Tigers in Tasmania's wilderness?
Maybe, maybe not but there are those who think that if somewhere the Thylacine lives on it is better to keep that knowledge to themselves.
“I’m not trying to push any particular line,” Greg said.
“I just want to bring the history of the area into the light. There were mistakes and successes in our past. If I am trying to say anything it is that we must learn from the past, good and bad, in order to move into a better future. I want The Wall to be an educational as well as an artistic experience.”
Statement outside The Wall Gallery Derwent Bridge Wayatinah to Strahan 019
“The idea for The Wall is quite a simple one,” Greg says. “I’m carving a series of 100 panels. Each panel is one metre wide and three metres high. The panels will be placed back-to-back. So, by the time I finish, I’ll have created a wall 50 metres long with carvings on both sides - 100 metres all up.”
Greg aims to carve 300 square metres of wood to form The Wall, a task he estimates will take 10 years to complete.
Greg Duncan was born in Belgrave, an Australian country town in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. Greg has always been fascinated with sculpting in wood. In 1982, he decided to take up sculpting as a full-time career.
“I am self-taught,” Greg said. “At first I began working with timbers such as mallee and redgum. They were a real education and they taught me the differing characteristics and qualities of timber as a medium". "My first pieces were small; and after making all the mistakes a beginner can make, I began creating bigger works".
"At that time, back in the Eighties, I never thought I would end up working on a sculpture 100 metres long.”
Greg and his family moved to Tasmania in 1994, first settling in the Channel area south of Hobart. After running a successful studio for nine years, Greg decided to pursue his dream of creating a large-scale work in the Tasmanian Highlands.
West Coast ahead Wayatinah to Strahan 030
“I was captured by the beauty of the Highlands right from the start.
When I first visited here in 1990, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.
The area has a fascinating history, and that is what I want to document through my carving of The Wall
In 2003, Greg and his wife Marg moved to Derwent Bridge in the Tasmanian Highlands, where they constructed a purpose-built gallery to house Greg’s work.
“Life has been a great adventure,” Greg says, “and The Wall is the next step along the trail. I look forward to sharing it with those who enjoy something a bit different.”
Editors Note: Also see:
High plains Wayatinah to Strahan 017
Hydro powers Tas electrics 014
Queenstown below Wayatinah to Strahan 034
Going down to Queenstown. Wayatinah to Strahan