What does the State Library Victoria and my recent visit to the Grampians National Park in Victoria have in common?
Those readers that have followed my photographic activities in the construction sector will be aware that I spent two years visiting the State Library Victoria every month to record the progress of its $88m Vision 2020 transformation project. The results of this can be viewed on a series of my website galleries. As a result I have a very strong and intimate connection with the building.
Living in a regional Victorian area outside the Melbourne Metropolitan Covid 19 restrictions, my partner and I could see that we would soon potentially be subject to some stricter rules coming into place. So, during the weekend of 1 & 2 August, we managed to ‘escape’ to the Grampians for a couple of nights. It was great to be able to experience a different environment (our first time there), complete some interesting walks and, of course, practice my landscape photography skills.
We managed this just in time – on the Sunday it was announced that we would be going into Stage 3 restrictions with effect from the Wednesday evening. As a result – no more such trips for at least 6 weeks!
So, what is the connection?
On the Monday morning on the way home, we stopped off for one more walk before leaving the Grampians. Having spent the previous two days walking up and down some fairly steep tracks, it was a relief to walk across relatively flat terrain through pleasant bush to the Heatherlie (Mount Difficult) Quarry and the township of Heatherlie (never populated). The quarry operated from around 1870s until its closure in the mid 1980s. The remains of the quarry are there for the enjoyment of visitors, with information boards located around explaining its function and history. It was through one such board that I learned that stone from the quarry had been used for some major works to at least two significant Melbourne buildings: Parliament House and the State Library Victoria. Although the quarry is disused, I understand that the stone can still be accessed for façade repairs to these buildings.
The quarry was also of interest to me in regard to the way that we abandon our buildings and infrastructure and let nature take its course. My disappointment of this practice is somewhat tempered in this case, since it has some historical and educational value and has been set up as such. Nonetheless, I have added a few images to my portfolio images that portray the way in which nature relentlessly recovers, even though this can take many decades, if not centuries. See below for a few examples.