The roadtrip to Sedan and Cambrai involved crossing the Mt Lofty Ranges near Angaston or Palmer in order to visit these small townships on the western edge of the Murray plains. I remember stopping on the top of the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges several times, walking around, looking towards the Murray plains, and then making some photos. On these day trips in the 1990s I would hang out for a while as I had a gas camping cooker in the VW Kombi and I would make myself a coffee.
I recall that I was intrigued by the vista or view through the eastern side the Mt Lofty Ranges to the plains and the Murray River, as well as the notable lack of trees in the dry landscape. This was my first personal experience of the process of deforestation in South Australia — land clearing on a massive scale for agriculture on private property.
My photographic eye gazed over this stripped, agriculture landscape with its minimal line of trees snaking down the gully. I was taken back by the trees in this human altered landscape being so few and far between. They were cleared from the slopes so that flocks of sheep could graze, whilst the Murray plains beyond had been cleared of the original Mallee scrub so the settlers could grow wheat.
The land was seen as a resource, as a material object to be dominated and exploited for human use. The lack of biodiversity in this landscapes depressed me. Where were the birds? All I could hear was the wind. What were the environmental consequences of this kind of land clearing I wondered?