Open Borders: Erosion

This year I was invited to take part in the Open Borders project, one of the personal highlights of 2022. The Kalgoorlie-Boulder exhibition opened on December 1st, with the local theme of ‘Erosion’, and featured an eclectic mix of thought-provoking works from Goldfields artists. For anyone unable to visit the exhibition my images and artist statement can be viewed below, as well as a link with more information about the project.

Artist Statement

With a background in earth science, my photography often focuses on a curiosity for the natural world and its intersection with mining. More broadly, themes in my work commonly portray quiet, abandoned and degraded scenes, or suburban and rural built environments, recording the influence and impact of human activity.

Presented with the subject of ‘erosion’ it was difficult to not think of this project from a geological context.

We perceive erosion as a physical mechanism where wind, water and gravity carve out features in the landscape, often forming stunning attractions. Conversely, these forces destroy soil profiles and water catchments, threatening our ability to produce sustenance for all forms of life.

Similarly with borders, we tend to think in terms of lines on a map, physical barriers, or parochial devotion to sporting teams.

Throughout the ‘Open Borders’ process there’s been opportunities to explore these ideas in greater depth, and beyond a physical geology or geographical setting. It has posed particular challenges and questions. How are the concepts connected, and how do we portray them in important and meaningful ways?

For me, it lead to the prevailing thought that – while not to ignore the obvious – borders and erosion are intrinsically linked to destruction and displacement, particularly when it comes to our sense of self and place.

I created these works with those feelings at the centre, and with the intention of encouraging the viewer to consider the imagery in local and global contexts, with contemporary Australian issues at the heart.

The Open Borders regional events series is a unique initiative of The Creative Grid – a collective of like-minded arts organisations that collaborate on projects seeding, sharing and promoting regional creativity.



Some time-lapse clouds for your Sunday, filmed a few weeks ago.

Clouds from Melissa Drummond on Vimeo.

Great Southern




Unsettled conditions in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, as the outback city sweltered through its hottest April day on record (40.1 degrees, 11.04.19)

Not to be outdone by the rest of the planet, Kalgoorlie is about to record not only its hottest December ever (exceeding the long-term December average by 5 degrees), but its hottest month since records began, with a mean daily maximum of 37.2°. The previous record hottest month was 37.0° in February, 2007.

It’s probably no surprise that 2019 is also the hottest year on record for our outback town.

In Kalgoorlie this year, nine out of twelve months have seen above-average maximum temperatures. For eight out of twelve months, the mean minimum temperature has topped the long-term average.

Daily maximum records for Kalgoorlie were broken in February (45.3°), April (40.1°), and November (44.7°), and during November and December we sweltered through new record overnight minimums (26.0° and 29.4° respectively).

2019 saw the hottest September ever, exceeding the previous record mean maximum of 25.5° by 0.6°. At 26.1°, September’s average was 3.8° above the long-term average of 22.3°.

What is particularly concerning is the number of times the 30, 35 and 40 degree thresholds were exceeded throughout the year.

Kalgoorlie averages 99.7 days above 30 degrees each year. In 2019 we recorded 137. We had 73 days above 35 degrees (average is 40.1 days), and 28 days above 40 (average is 8.7).

And that is with an incomplete data set for January because of a balls-up at the local BOM station, that was unfortunately experiencing technical issues when we endured (unofficially) the hottest January day ever, pushing up towards the 47 degree mark.

We’ve recorded 143mm of rain, which is below the 10th percentile. In a town that averages only 266mm a year, this is really depressing.

Having said that, all of these numbers kind of feel a bit sterile and pointless while the east coast havens of my childhood are burning.

Let 2020 be the year Australia starts to take things seriously on climate change.


Cape Arid

Summer so far

Limited edition prints for sale


“Gust Front”

Gust Front – February 2017
While large parts of Australia’s eastern states are experiencing record high temperatures and catastrophic bush fire risks, Western Australian rain records have been smashed, causing widespread flooding, damage to property and, tragically, loss of life. As our climate changes, these weather events are predicted to become more frequent and extreme.

Available in two sizes:
1100mm x 800 mm framed ($850) – 1/10 already sold; numbers 2/10-10/10 available
800mm x 600mm framed ($450) – 1/10 already sold; numbers 2/10-10/10 available


“Down Draft”

Down Draft – November 2017
A storm cell passes to the south east at the end of a day that saw the outback city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder hit by a severe front with winds topping 100km/h, causing widespread damage and leaving 16,000 residents without power.

1100mm x 550mm framed ($850) – 1/10 already sold; numbers 2/10-10/10 available

Photos are printed on Hahnemühle fine art archival paper.

Email to order or inquire about postage rates.

That Time of Year

These photos were taken in November last year – I was going to post them at the time, but upload speeds were non-existent for about a week after the storm because of our shitty, old network that relies on copper wiring, so I shelved the idea. From memory it was the first storm of the season, when the desert is parched from a long, dry Winter, and a dust storm whips up before we’re pelted with rain. The light, just before everything turns mad and dark, is amazing.








City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Art Prize 2015

The 2015 City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Art Prize opened at the Kalgoorlie Town Hall on Friday the 4th of September. This year, the number of entries topped the 200 mark, and prizes were awarded in six different categories, as well as ten highly commended works, with the winners sharing over $40,000 prize money. Tracey Luke, Dr. Janice Lally, and Dr. Ric Spencer were the judges, and the exhibition was curated by Melissa McGraw.

I’m really happy to have picked up the Award for Excellence in Photography for my photo ‘Rainbows and Unicorns (Part III)‘ (pictured below).

Rainbows and Unicorns (Part III)

What the judges said:
“Captured the light and vibrancy of the landscape. The scene was both grand in landscape but had an element of magical surrealism to it, and a touch of humour in capturing an alpaca in the Goldfields. Technically it is a great photo and she has found beauty in objects that may be considered unattractive every day.”

My other entry is titled ‘Intertidal‘ (pictured below).


Artist Statement:
From the series ‘Littoral’ (2015 – ).

With a background in earth science, my photography often focuses on a curiosity for the natural world, combined with an honest and raw portrayal of daily life.
Littoral is both an exploration of boundaries and zones of change, from an oceanographic or geological perspective, and a reflection on how that might relate to life itself. These are areas of great variation where survival depends on the ability to adapt to exposure and submersion.

The Best Overall Award was taken out by Coral Carter’s photo ‘The Poppy Seller‘.

The other major prize winners were:
Award for Excellence in 2D – ‘Polarities, Darkness & Light‘ by Ginette Hillman
Award for Excellence in 3D – ‘Seed Spirit II‘ by Neil Turner
Goldfields Theme Award – ‘Around Red Hill‘ by John Scott
Best Goldfields Artist Award – ‘The Light of Night‘ by Daniel Roisetter
First Nations Award – ‘Bluff Knoll‘ by Caroline Narkle
Youth Award – ‘Obnoxious / X Marks the Spot‘ by Nadine Marais

The exhibition is open until September 27th, each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and weekends, 10am to 3pm.

ABC Open: ‘Makers and Creators’ Project

Back in January my friend Lee Harrop interviewed me for ABC Open’s ‘Makers and Creators’ project, and over the next few months we put together this little video, with some expert guidance from ABC Open Goldfields-Esperance producer Nathan Morris.

You can watch it here:

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