Given the complexity of the modern economy, and the insularity of city life, most of us are blind to the reality of life beyond the city limits. Co-authored with Alan Hill, The Central Queensland Project is a photographic exploration of a largely invisible, but economically powerful mining region in Australia. This ongoing project explores this period of transition, and its ideological roots. Installation image from the Brisbane Powerhouse, 2013.
With 3048 beds, The MAC Coppabella is one of the largest workers villages in Australia and is larger than many towns in the region. Up to 1000 people will check in or out on any given day.
With 3048 beds, The MAC Coppabella is one of the largest workers villages in Australia and larger than many towns in the region. Up to 1000 people will check in or out on any given day.
Trades assistant Jacob and apprentice mechanic Zach worked late to help us get our van back on the road. We thought this was particularly generous of them as it was the beginning of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. They told us not to worry, as they had nothing else to do anyway.
FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) work does not just apply to mining. Karlaa works as a FIFO sex worker in the Central Queensland region. She is just one of many businesses taking advantage of opportunities in the region.
5am at the Three Moon Motel. FIFO and DIDO (drive-in-drive-out) have entered the Australian vocabulary, along with debates about their social impacts. As a result, accommodation is often difficult to find (and the rates unaffordable), and motels have become temporary homes for transient workers.
Originally from South Africa, Pieter moved to Australia to work as a geologist in the mines. He FIFOs to the Gold Coast where he lives, over 1000kms away from the mine.
During the peak of the mining boom, Central Queensland car dealerships were among the most successful in the southern hemisphere.
Coal mining in the Central Queensland region is a 24-hour operation. Recently, Black Lung Disease was rediscovered in CQ miners. This disease, caused by exposure to coal dust, hadn't been seen in the region for over thirty years.
New towns like Middlemount are quite unlike older country towns in the region as the vast majority of homes are owned by mining companies. As a result, not only do these towns have no elderly residents, but nobody stays. There are only two graves in Middlemount cemetery, understood to belong to a stillborn child and a man from a nearby property.
A section of the 540-kilometre long coal seam gas pipeline currently under construction. With more than 7000 wells in Queensland alone, fears are rising in the community about contaminated groundwater, and damage to farming land and communities.
Installation image at the Brisbane Powerhouse in 2013.