Mapping Shepparton – Artist Residency

#mappingshepp – During March I was one of the artists in residence as part of the Shepparton Festival at Secura Lifestyle Shepparton East. From all over the world they come – some for just a night, others stay many many years…. 

It’s never too early for a chat….. especially with Bill

Sun soon will up, boom gate up, many off to work, most wearing their fluro safety tops ….

‘Holly’ came to Shepparton from Holland at the age of 12.
He recalls how his dad would only allow English to be spoken in the house. Everyone had to learn the new language. Holly has been living here at Secura Lifestyle Shepparton East? for 18 months now since his wife passed away. “When I get shitted off, I ride” Holly says. He has an old Yamaha bike.

And when the sun’s out Becky’s lies in the sun after an early mark for the day, a rest from picking pears. Becky is from England and is moving on to Ballarat tomorrow to start work shearing Christmas trees.

When the sun’s out it’s also time to recharge

With a day off today Remy & Amelie take it easy. They’ve been here two months picking pears and zucchini. They are heading into town shortly to meet their friend who is getting a tattoo.
Remy & Amelie are here from France.

Happy Birthday

A day off …..
Charlotte and James from Norwich, English have been picking pears and plums in Shepparton for 2 months. Soon they will move to Melbourne to do some other work to save to go to W.A

Abbey, Matt and their beloved dogs and their beloved vegetable garden.
“We’ve had sooo many tomatoes and Abbey cooked up so many – she doesn’t even like them!” says Matt with a smile. Matt and Abbey are the managers at Secura Lifestyle Shepparton East and they work long hard hours but they love it. They’ve been there 2 years now. Before managing the park they were working in Byron Bay.

Alex is from France and has been picking pears for two weeks in Shepparton but now moving to “not quite sure where”. He has a one year visa to see as much of Australia as possible.

Ian and Phyllis have lived here for 28 years They came temporary and stayed. Phyllis says living in a house the “backyard felt like a jail”. She said here you always feel like you are travelling.

Delma and Alex have lived in the park for 24 years and love their garden. Delma and Alex celebrate 60 years of marriage in a few months time. They moved from Melbourne to Shepparton in ’84, travelled lots in their caravan with Alex working seasonally at SPC on maintenance, finally settling down in the park 24 years ago. They like the pace of Shepparton and the pace in the caravan park. Alex has been a maintenance worker all his life and seen many changes in the industry but digital has changed things a LOT. Delma and Alex spoke fondly about a possum and then it’s two babies who lived with them for 2 1/2 years which they loved to watch in the stag horn. She’s moved on in the park somewhere else now. Others have seen her about Delma tells me

Wilma in her beloved ‘Joy’ (short for Joyota her beloved Toyota camper van). She says, “Home is where you park” She tells me she lives in her suitcase not out of it. Wilma currently lives on the road with Joy. She stopped in Shepparton for a few days to catch up with her sister who lives in Shepparton and a friend travelled down to from Swan Hill to spend some time with her too. Wilma and Joy were in Eildon before coming here They are looking forward to heading north in a month or so and Wilma talks about her great love of Darwin.

Time to move on …

“There it is – Shepparton” Adrian looks in his map book to see where they are.
He is travelling from Holland with his wife, + her cousin and her husband from the Sunshine Coast. 2 nights in Shepparton then off further north.

This is Leigh. He has lived here for almost 10 years now. Here he sits in a favourite spot on his MCG bench – bought many years ago. Growing up in Shepparton East he saw the caravan park being built back in the early 70s. Leigh replace the grass with plants. He said it took “more time to pull the lawn mower out than use it”. Leigh use to only grow plants that had a second use, be that food or something else. Today he still has many of those plants. He loves plants that are tropical and the health benefits they bring but they don’t always survive here.

Some draw in journals, some write …..

Terry loves living in his tent and works in the park as Groundsman.

Silver and Tahti travelled up from Melbourne for the Shepparton Festival for Silver could do a dance workshop with Gerard Van Dyck. Tahti said he couldn’t stop talking about him and how much he inspired him. Tomorrow they are looking forward to going to the performance, ‘Picnic’ before heading home to Coburg. Tahti also commented how diverse Shepparton is and how much she loved that and was impressed by it. She said she thought Coburg was diverse but not as much as Shepparton.

The best place to be after a long hot day of fruit picking

Backpacker/Fruitpicker dinner

A man from Belgium teaches man from France how to play Backgammon after a long day of fruit picking

Joanne is from Belgium in Shepparton picking and packing zucchinis.
Morning picking, afternoon packing (ahhh relief from the sun)

Half way point… Mary and Bob are from Khancoban, NSW at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. They stopped in Shepparton for a day and night – a half way meeting point for some of their family to have some fun together. Next Mary and Bob are heading to the Pt Fairy Folk Fesitval to meet friends as they have done every year for many years now. They’ve often stopped over in Shepparton on their many years of caravanning.

Happy hour

Pocket sized books are perfect for backpacking

Dinner time…. Mathieu has come to Shepparton to pick fruit. He is picking nashis at a place 30 minutes away that he can’t remember the name of, a place starting with the letter ‘W’. Matheiu is from France.

And Max is travelling too …. He is from the Sunshine Coast

John lets everyone know dinner is not far away. He is cooking sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes as Adrian looks at his map book, Margaret plays her game, Pat and Max (the bird) watch on. John is Margaret’s cousin. Margaret and Adrian are visiting from Holland and they are travelling together for awhile. John and Pat live on the Sunshine Coast. When I asked them if they’ve been to Shepparton before Pat said, “oh yes” with a big smile, “We did the season in Ardmona for 12 years running” (first back in ’93 she thought) 2 nights in Shepparton before moving on. (We had a lovely time chatting for ages about many different things and they showed me photos of their family and told me stories of their travels. I think I could have talked to them for days on end)

‘Adama’ is the game Margaret (from Holland) likes to play

“Although I thought I’d be a pharmacist I love this work and can’t imagine doing anything different.
If you don’t work hard the beer doesn’t taste as good” Father and son are living here during the week whilst they work on the building of the new Shepparton Court house. They’ve work all over the South Pacific on building projects together and in between projects they have their own building partnership together.

Lorna and Ron had no plans to come to Shepparton (on their way from Menindee Lakes) but ended up here on the day their grandson turns 18. He doesn’t live here but was born here. They can’t believe it worked out that way. They’ll ring him later to wish a Happy Birthday but are also excited to tell him where they are. Next they are on to Bright before eventually heading up the coast of NSW and back home to Terrigal. Just a one night stop over in Shepparton.

Tammy and Bill are from Kanmantoo (What a great name! – a town of 80 or 90 Bill thinks) , South Australia. About 18months ago they decided they’d had enough of working in government jobs and decided to become seasonal pickers. They’ve been picking in Shepparton for the past 6 weeks and still more of the season to go here. At the moment they’re picking plums. When they are not on the road they grow as much of their own food as they can and brought much of it on their travels – it is very important to Bill and Tammy to grow organic – they grow enough food for the birds and the pests as well as themselves. If you were to walk past their tent you will find a bowl of fruit and vegetables there for those that may want some.

French accents echo from the camp kitchen

No matter where you live or celebrate I’d love to photograph for you. (Yes I love to travel).
My passion is storytelling
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