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John R Walker Callitris, Oratunga

gouache, watercolour and ink on paper

112 x 228 cm

This drawing comes from a walk down Oratunga Creek towards Glass Gorge in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. The most common trees are callitris, or black cypress, a quick-growing, fire-sensitive and relatively short-lived tree. Their timber is inedible for termites, so the dead skeletons remain standing for some time.

The floor of the creek gorge is littered with debris: tangles of fencing wire, twisted sheets of iron. Now and then, there are petroglyphs of small engraved circles on the rock walls. The hum and light echo an ancient hymn:

‘We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish – but naught changeth Thee.’

John R Walker, 2017