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Edition #176  June 15, 2012

Risdon Zinc

Photographer: Alan Shaw

                                                                      Photo by Alan Shaw

Risdon Zinc

Determined as I was to get some final shots of Tasmaniaís railways before I left for Canberra, I realised that I had very few photographs of the short branch to the sprawling zinc works at Risdon, on the riverfront in Hobartís north. There was no excuse for this oversight; my first job (the one that kindly sent me all round the state now and then adding significantly to my photo collection) was very handily located in Farley Street and I could actually see the trains heading off to the works from Derwent Park. But while I saw them, I didnít photograph them.

So here is a general view of the small yard at the zinc works, taken mainly to fill a gap in my record, on what looks to be a cool and damp January 1987 day.

Given that I count David Plowden as one of my photographic heroes, itís probably not surprising to say Iím partial to these sorts of industrial shots, and at times foul weather simply serves to accentuate the overall atmosphere of such places.

The zinc works was just across the river from where I grew up, and on cool calm days with just a hint of a westerly wind, it was not unusual to wake up with a strange taste. Everyone knew it was the zinc works but no-one bothered about it. A few years after I left Tasmania my sister, who still calls Hobart home, called to let me know there was something of a health scare about possible heavy metal pollution in some suburbs, including where we grew up. My local doctor was very puzzled why I was asking for certain blood tests although interested once I told her. Happily, the tests all came back OK.

Alan Shaw

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