Outdoor art gallery

Trip Start Jan 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, August 30, 2010

We bounced out of Sandstone, after bidding farewell to Marg IV. We set off earlyish from the town because it was going to be another long dusty drive to our next destination. Several hours later we pulled into a lovely camp ground by the shore of a dry lake. We had arrived at Lake Ballard, home of Inside Australia, a sculpture installation by Antony Gormley (a UK artist), which was commissioned by the Perth Arts Festival in 2001.

There were 51 stark steel statues set into the muddy bed of the lake. Each one is slightly different to its neighbour, each faces a different direction and there are adults, children, men and women.

It was a strange experience to be so far away from any town, and to have these statues dotting the landscape. We explored the lake, and its inhabitants, several times over the course of our stay. We saw the statues in bright sunshine, very stark against the whitish lake surface and blue sky. We saw them in overcast conditions, the black still standing out against the grey backdrop.

At one point, in a most probably highly uncultured move but fun never-the-less, we decided to dress some of them, to keep them warm in the cooler conditions. Our 'relatives' were decked out in sarongs, hats and tabards, and the girls made sure that they were styled 'just so'.

The day was very overcast, and not long after our return to the camper, the heavens opened. It proceeded to rain steadily and heavily all through the night. We awoke to find Lake Ballard had become a 'proper' lake, and water was beginning to rise around the camper. We had to make that important decision about going or staying – and going won. So packing up in the rain (never fun) and driving out of the area in the rain (never fun – lots of mud, puddles, raging floodway crossings and unknown conditions) were the orders of the hour.

We reached Menzies, the nearest town, about 90 minutes later, having taken that amount of time to cover 50km. It was still pouring as we got closer to town, and just before we hit tarmac we had to drive around a 'road closed' sign. After having driven the road, we all knew why it had been closed!

A hearty brekkie in the roadhouse – covered in number plates and metal signs – allowed us to warm up and dry off. We were concerned that we may have been forced to stay in Menzies, because most of the roads were closed – fortunately our route was on tarmac, so remained open though flooded in places. We piled back into the car and headed to our next stop, still driving in the rain.
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