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The Wild Places: Captured by Camera and Saved

June 2, 2011

With a photo of Coolangubra, saved in the first term of the Carr government

Only the extraordinary documentary series on the African Great Rift Valley screened recently on Sunday nights on the ABC would prepare you for the colour photography of Australian Henry Gold when you confront it in the Bondi Pavilion Gallery. Many of my old friends were on display: northern NSW rainforests, protected land along the coastline like Hat Head National Park in northern NSW, Coolangubra in the mysterious fogbound southeast forests and the river red gums saved in the last months of Kristina Keneally’s Labor government.

Hat Head: Henry captured this unique Australian glimpse of coastal vegetation and surging surf. I bought this one. Ask him to run a copy for you.

Henry Gold has been photographing wild places for a long time and doing it in association with the nature conservation movement, in particular the marvellous Colong Foundation which has worked for decades to save these areas.

In opening the exhibition I told the gathering that they were a small group but one with a big impact because some politicians in NSW were prepared to listen to cogent arguments for saving and not despoiling the wild places. I was pleased to see Miriam Guttman-Jones, deputy mayor of Waverley, who introduced me and Elizabeth Elenius the chair of the Colong Foundation and Keith Muir, its tireless director and Haydn Washington the author of the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand which I launched in Gleebooks two weeks ago.

With photographer Henry Gold and Luke Foley MLC

“Nature is on the retreat everywhere in the world”, I told the gathering. “We have an obligation to save what part of it we can.” I told them to work with sympathetic politicians like the NSW shadow minister for the environment, Luke Foley MLC, who was present and who is firmly committed to continuing the link between NSW state Labor and the nature conservation movement which – as these photos showed – have produced a glorious legacy for the state.

I bought two of them. Why don’t you turn up and do the same? All proceeds go to the Colong Foundation to enable it to continue its indispensible work.

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