It’s that time of year again. The farmers of the Wheatbelt are burning their fields in preparation for sowing. The smoke hangs thick over the Avon Valley and makes for a quite unpleasant experience for anyone who suffers from respiratory ailments. The upside is that the smoke particles in the air make for rather splendid sunsets. I snapped this one on my phone while cycling home. The next few were all shot while going out to get some beer on my Olympus OMD EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 lens.
While making for some tremendous photos the practice puts a lot of carbon up into the atmosphere. Unfortunately Australian farmers will not stop the practice as this a far cheaper way of clearing fields than tilling. Profit always wins out.
The Victorian era was a time of incredible innovation and some of the inventions and processes are still practiced in their original form. In the field of photography despite the march of technology some photographers like Sally Mann and Robb Kendrick use antiquated processes in a modern context to express themselves. Well besides my interest in all things photographic I am also interested in cycling. A little after I migrated to Australia I heard about the Australian National Penny Farthing Championships which are held at the historic Tasmanian town of Evandale and I put on the bucket list of things to see. Well the other week I noticed in the upcoming events column of the Mercury newspaper that the races were on and I just had to go. The whole idea that anyone wants to race, let alone ride, a penny farthing is to me totally mad while at the same time seems a perfectly logical steampunk activity.
Evandale is a pretty colonial era town just south of Launceston in the north of Tasmania. Every year in February, since 1983, the town puts on The Evandale Village Fair in conjunction with the penny farthing championship. This means that the town is a bustling hive of activity that attracts visitors not only from all over Tasmania but also from the Big Island, also known as the Australian Mainland.The fair has market stalls, live musical entertainment, Morris Dancing, vintage cars, costume parades and even a genuine old-time Punch and Judy show.
But there is no doubt, the star attraction is the penny farthing racing which attracts riders from all over Australia.The event lasts a weekend with the Saturday hosting the main short course events that are held on a course in the township itself. On the Sunday the longer distance races are held, including the Century Ride, which is a penny farthing tradition that goes back to the 1880’s, which is a 162 Km race or 100 miles. Totally bonkers!!
The details for next years event has already been posted on the website. If you want a fun, action packed and unusual day out then go to Evandale in February 2016.
As always clicking on an image will take you through to my online store.
Regular readers are aware that I my blogs have musical references to them and so here is the pop video for this entry.