Your last chance for a new and unique way of experiencing a wetland treasure from our region – the Thrombolites of Lake Hawdon

Twelve years ago, when travelling around the WA coast with the family, we pulled up to have a look at Lake Thetis (after visiting the Pinnacles – a much better known tourist destination). I’d included this stop in our travels to see how the Thrombolites at this site (one of only 5 locations in WA) compare with those we have in the South East at Lake Hawdon, and although I came away impressed, I didn’t think they were as spectacular as our local version! See what you think below…

Thrombolites are ancient forms of microbial communities that photosynthesize, and in doing so, form distinct accretionary structures (i.e. in layman terms, they are very unusual, living rocks!). However, unlike those we have in the South East, at Lake Thetis they have the distinct advantage of being very quick and easy to find!

The kids check out the Thrombolites of Lake Thetis, WA, in 2006. Photo by Charlene Bachmann.

Fast forward to last weekend, and I had the pleasure of taking a couple of my (now, not so small) kids too see a fantastic artistic installation/exhibition by our region’s very own James Darling and Lesley Forwood – with their own unique perspective on Thrombolites. It all began from a chat between NGT’s wetland ecologist Ben Taylor and James Darling last year while attending an NRM workshop, about our little known occurrence of Thrombolites at Lake Hawdon South (just inland from Robe – see below) – a site that also just happens to be one of the region’s largest and most important wetland reserves.

Thrombolites of Lake Hawdon South in 2006. Photo by Ben Taylor

From that initial chance discussion has come a really wonderful artistic interpretation – and indeed entire re-imagining of the world, as the Thrombolites have experienced it – over an immense time-scale that is simply beyond normal human comprehension.

If you’d like to read more about the exhibition and take the time to contemplate the big questions that it might pose for you, please have a look at this excellent review, and if you would like to experience the installation (which really has to be seen/heard in person to fully appreciate) – it is not too late!

Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe is still open to the public to experience at the Hugo Mitchell Gallery until the 14th of July.

James Darling and Lesley Forwood
Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe
14 June – 14 July

Hugo Michell Gallery
260 Portrush Rd,
Beulah Park SA 5067

Just one of the many perspectives provided in James Darling and Lesley Forwood’s latest installation. Photo by Dale Bachmann.

Mark Bachmann