Stanley is already unearthly if not haunted. The first night I was there, I walked around in the Georgian moonlight thinking I should’ve brought my horse riding cape and a 3 pointed hat. With this distorted sense of “what timeline am I in?”, things get even stranger when you realise there are two watchers in the landscape looking down at you:
- First, The Nut. A sheer volcanic plug rising 143 m above the town. It emanates the presence of an ancient creature.
- Secondly there is Highfield, the old HQ of the Van Diemans Land Company, with its not-so-great reputation of dealing with the “indigenous problem”, from 1825.
These elements definitely layer and influence one’s experience of the place: The powerful landscape and the disturbing history of colonisation. This creates a dissonance because these elements do not fit neatly into a linear pre-fab box (and never will I suspect). This inability for me to reconcile and process these contradictions, is what creates a sense of disturbance and therefore ‘haunting’.
This is the very first drawing where the “skyworm of climate change”, with its spiky maw, descends upon a very loose interpretation of St James Presbyterian church, Fletcher St.
These are the monsters we are making, invading Stanley and most assuredly , coming to a town near you…