Fenceline weirdness and art on Fogwells

It’s a hot cloudless day in summer, around 38 degrees, a temperature that is a challenge in a car with no air conditioning. I’m heading back from an exploratory trip beyond Casino to some backwaters that I’ve never checked out before – Piora, and the long run out to Sextonville via Dobies Bight, Dyraaba and Doubtful Creek.

Based on a lead from a photo on the Good Old Days Around Casino NSW Facebook group, a final stop-off is Fogwells Road, a stretch that runs east-west for about ten kilometres between Yorklea and Tatham. It’s a road that I’ve never been down before, and not a shortest route between A and B unless you happen to be a local. Heading from Yorklea, the landmark I’m looking out for is oddball fence art installations.

About eight kilometres down the road, a hallucinatory vision comes into view, involving as assemblage of dummies, tractors, imitation steam engines, soft toys, and quirky metal artworks. These artworks in particular are very well done, witty, imaginative and creative.

On the other side of the road is a sign indicating that we are in a realm known as Queen Issy’s Kingdom, which has a couple of metal stick figures.

Check it out next time you’re passing.














Finding the sweet spot – a golf course investigation

Allan Hicks is a local resident with a strong interest in the history of Ballina, and earlier this year he posted on the Blast from Ballina Past Facebook group some photos from his latest investigations. These concern the ruins of a historic sugar mill, improbably located on a golf course. Continue reading

The great Snow controversy of 1923

In the 1920s, an event took place that triggered a debate over what is today a very contemporary preoccupation, the colonisation of public visual space with commercial advertising.

Chester Snow was a Lismore entrepreneur who ran a furniture factory shop where everything was made to order. His premises were at 78 Keen Street, in the building where Fairmarket Antiques is located today. The phone number was 286. Continue reading

Tracking the lost line

It was Henry Miller who once said ‘One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.’ To step outside one’s zone of familiarity and to look at the world from a different perspective is a gift, one that can rewire your brain slightly in the process.

I had been fascinated by the Booyong-to-Ballina railway branch line since first hearing about it last year. Closed decades ago, few people are aware of its existence today. Continue reading