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  • Writer's pictureBeverley Skurulis


Updated: Feb 28

No.8   in my series of short stories.

Cossack North West Western Australia

No.580.SOLD. A great place to explore if you like early settler buildings. My love of them is intoxicating. I explore them, I paint them, I buy them, I renovate them, I live in them. Exploring these lovely relics has always fascinated me, from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Albany in the South of Western Australia, up the coast and down the centre. Cossack has fishing diving mud crabbing and of course painting and millions of bloody sand flies chucked in.

I don't think the above building is still standing. Rugged weather including the odd cyclone has reduced the little township of Cossack into a tourist spot. The annual Cossack Art Awards are held here and it is a great exhibition. I would think I have painted well over 100 watercolours of this historic ghost town at the Mouth of the Harding River. A thriving port in the 1870's.

The painting above was done in the 1970's when we lived not far from Cossack in the great little interesting North West Township of Roebourne. Living in the caravan park with not a tree to be seen just red pindan, a few caravans and a concrete slab beside each one. Laundry and toilets sat out in the middle of acres of this harsh landscape and all its red dirt. I believe this might be cause to use the phrase "like a dunny in the desert".

With no air conditioner and two young children and 2 buckets of water, set up inside our caravan to dunk the kids in when the heat got overpowering. We couldn't afford the luxuries of cold air so making do was great fun. When a cyclone was bearing down on the town my husband would take our 15ft fibreglass boat off the trailer, tie it down so maybe it wouldn't blow away and then fill it with water for the weight and the kids could use it for a swimming pool.

Plein Air painting is what I did a lot of when I was younger, though now I am somewhat cautious of the UV, the sun is not so nice to my freckled fair skin, being a redhead is not the type of complexion that agrees with the Australian outback. The places I have painted over the last 60 years are places we explored with a growing family tagging along. We loved climbing in and out of gorges sliding down waterfalls swimming in some wild and wonderful places. All this time I was accumulating ideas for my art in my head and with my camera.

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