THE WIMMERA BOOK REVIEW
Review by John Ford
As a long time photographer, I'm a bit of a tragic for photography books. So, coupled with an interest in Australian history, this new release from Ten Bag Publishing was just the shot for some COVID-19 downtime.
Following quickly on from the well-received 2020 launch of The Mallee, the same team of talented photographers have again teamed up for the beautifully presented and illustrated journey through Western Victoria in The Wimmera: a journey through western Victoria.
When Thomas Mitchell journeyed through the region in 1836, he described “the richness of the soil and verdure on its banks and the natural beauty of the scenery could scarcely be surpassed in any country.” The region became one of the nation’s most productive and prosperous agricultural areas. Like much of Australia, a rail network opened the countryside, and settlers flocked to the townships along the track. The book follows these rail routes, many now abandoned into thriving communities, as well as the back roads and forgotten corners of the landscape.
Author, Adam McNicol, leads us through the region with images from a team of six photographers assigned to the story. Presented as a 232-page hardback edition, The Wimmera takes readers through the history of European settlement and the contemporary lifestyle of the inhabitants. The unique landscapes also come to life in captivating imagery.
This is an important book. The historical architecture of colonial Australia is disappearing before our eyes. When photographers, Andrew Chapman and Noel Butcher, were on location in Miram in late 2020, they captured the essence of the forlorn Wheaton Store. Then, a couple of months later, it was demolished.
In the tradition of photojournalism that began in 1930's America, throughout The Wimmera, the team captured the spirit of the locals in photos and stories. So, we are looking at the past and preserving a time capsule for future readers of a disappearing landscape.
The book is a journey in itself, but it has inspired me to visit as soon as things open up. I’d be surprised if it didn’t have the same reaction on anyone who reads it.
When we’re out and about hiking or even walking through the bush or desert, we’re faced with an issue upon return to the caravan: dirty shoes. Australian-owned and made, a brilliant inclusion to your next trip to clean off your feet before heading into your van, are muk mats. These green, grassy mats are water-resistant, made from recycled materials and come in a variety of sizes and different trim colours to suit your rig’s aesthetics.
Originally designed to keep sand, dirt and grass out of the car after a surf, the Australian owners realised how useful the mats were for a range of experiences, whether it be after running, playing footy, after golf, riding or camping. When stepped on, they thoroughly clean your feet so you can step inside your car, tent, caravan and even your home without bringing the messiness from your adventures inside. It’s a horrible feeling when you feel dirt and grit under your feet when walking around so muk mats are an effective solution. Stay active and cleaner with muk mats on your next Australian road trip!
RRP: From $45
BE SMART WITH PROSMART
The Great Ocean Road offers some of the most picturesque landscapes in Victoria, and travellers can now enhance their trip with BMPRO’s new ProSmart sensor monitor and app. After the DIY installation in minutes, where you can connect up to 40 Bluetooth sensors and which is powered by a 12V battery, the app then helps you keep track of all RV functions, no matter the distance and Wi-Fi connection. Caravanners will be able to now travel longer, further and smarter through the ability to check their gas levels, water levels, battery status, temperature and tyre pressure in real time.
David Bayliss, Caravan World’s 12V Guru columnist, is a Brand Ambassador of BMPRO and said travelling with family and among nature is made even better with the app. “ProSmart enables you to travel anywhere without the stress of the unknown and worrying about how full your gas is or the level of your tyre pressure,” he said. “It provides the opportunity to explore off-the-beaten track locations without the worry of breakdowns.”
The app is free on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and has been designed and manufactured in Melbourne, Australia.
RRP: $395 with free app