Stanley is already unearthly if not haunted. The first night I was there, I walked around in the Georgian moonlight thinking I should’ve worn a 3 pointed hat and riding cape. 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. (I imagine it sings with a sub-sonic OM)
- Secondly there is Highfield, the old HQ of the Van Diemans Land Company, with its atrocious dealings with the First Nations People from as early as 1825.
These elements definitely layer and influence one’s experience of the place: The powerful landscape and the violent 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 to reconcile and process these contradictions, is what creates a sense of disturbance and therefore ‘haunting’.
Herewith a plein-air 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 all making, invading Stanley to be sure but most assuredly, coming to a town near you…