There on a rise, are blackened, charred tree trunks standing amongst stark white granite boulders which greeted our eyes when we decided to take a walk along a bush track one day to find something interesting to photograph in the Yarra Ranges National Park east of Melbourne. We just found Seven Acre Rock, after the bush fires.
My friend Mike and I decided to go for a drive one sunny day in 2009. We took a few analogue cameras – Mike a couple of Rolleicords and I, my favourite Holga and my Bronica SQ-A. Driving aimlessly, looking for spots to photograph through the Yarra Valley National Park, east of Melbourne, Victoria, we stopped at a small town, called Powelltown for lunch. Mike remembered reading about an interesting geographical location called Seven Acre Rock that was nearby, so we set off to find it. After driving along some winding roads we finally found a signpost, stopped the car and walked along a bush track for about 600 metres. We rounded a curve in the track to be greeted by an amazing landscape.
The geology of the area was fascinating. Bleached granite outcrops ranging in size from small boulders to double-decker bus size (and larger) greeted our eyes. Surrounding and between these boulders rose blackened charred trees, some just stumps, like stubble on the ground. Gnarled wood poked out from under boulders and through cracks in the hard ground.
These had been affected by the bush fires that raged through many parts of Victoria earlier that year. Normally the area would be green with lush growth, but so many of the trees had been burnt to the ground or had just charred stumps and trunks left standing. There was, reassuringly some regrowth apparent, patches of green growth clinging to the sides of trees and sprouting up between boulders on the ground.
The white rocks juxtaposed with the blackened trunks of the trees made a stark, sobering, yet strangely beautiful scene. We were left not only with some wonderful exposures on our film, but with a sense of grudging respect at the destructive force that bush fires can wield, and amazement at how nature can bounce back and take hold again. This was truly a unique and interesting location and we were very glad we found it.