Wild Island

South by Instinct – RAY FIRTH

No matter what, every picture tells a story. Each image is, in some part, a recipe for the construction of our world. It is a theory of everything, however imperfect the painters understanding of that theory and schema might be.

Every painting is a map. It is a conversation, a confession; thoughts, however naive, directed from one mind to another. Each and every painting is a statement of viewpoint and bias. It is an image from only one particular point of view. The hope, however, is that the image has some part of wisdom woven into it!

I yearn for the bright and the open, the windswept, and the rocks burnished by time. I want to know the lichen and the dust and the plaintive sigh in the casuarinas. I love the mystery of the night sky and what it does to the land. I love the quiet in unseen places, hidden by shade and solitude. I love the deepening mystery of every tiny part of this marvelous place.

That love, however, needs to understand and map the world of our experience. It is our task to remember and know the numinous, the wondrous, the beautiful, and to pass that on forever.


Night Time, Tarkine

Night time forest where the creeks meet, Tarkine
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
122 x 110cm


Ragged Ranges
The wind will ripple every pool, just as the rocks have been worried by Gods.
Acrylics and inks on archival card
83.5 x 29cm


Finding A Way

Finding a way to MacGregor Peak, Tasman Peninsula
Sometimes dry but never far from the unexpected.
Acrylics and inks on ply
54 x 54cm


Coast of Dust and Crumble, Marion Bay
Acrylics, oxide and inks on marine ply
122.5 x 81cm


Dark Forest
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
110 x 122cm


Coast and Cloud, Bruny Island
Acrylics and inks on composition board
75 x 73.5cm


The Beautiful Creek
Acrylics and inks on rag paper
59 x 55cm


Forest and Understory, Mount Field
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
122 x 83.5cm


Bruny Fragment
Acrylics and inks on marine ply
54 x 55cm


Woodland bush track, Wielangta I
Acrylics and inks on ply
53 x 53.5cm


Woodland bush track, Wielangta II
Acrylics and inks on ply
53 x 53.5cm


The Old Garden, Randalls Bay
Acrylics and inks on ply
70 x 52cm


Ralph Falls
White water finds an impossible path through the heaving rock to the mysterious forest below.
Acrylics and inks on ply laminate
52 x 122cm


Night time creek, Boobook quiet
Acrylics and inks on ply
51.5 x 53cm


Strange water, Beneath the forest
Acrylics and inks on ply
62 x 51.5cm


Restoring Lake Pedder – Tasmania’s Next Big Idea?



In 1972 Lake Pedder in Tasmania’s south-west wilderness controversially was flooded to build a dam.  Since then, there have been unsuccessful calls by a range of environmentalists, scientists, politicians, artists and community activists to drain and restore the lake. In 1995 a federal parliamentary committee examined this idea and concluded restoring the lake was technically possible – but too costly and politically difficult to recommend.  Two decades later, a volunteer group called Lake Pedder Restoration is pushing the proposal back on the public agenda. After the game-changing impact of MONA on thinking about what’s possible in Tasmania – is restoring Lake Pedder the big idea we should embrace next?

Join us at Wild Island at 5-7pm on Thursday 1 December for a panel discussion about draining and restoring Lake Pedder.


  • Natasha Cica (moderator) – Director of Kapacity.org, author of Pedder Dreaming: Olegas Truchanas and a Lost Tasmanian Wilderness, and co-editor of GriffithREVIEW39: Tasmania – The Tipping Point?
  • Peter Thompson – Broadcast journalist and educator
  • Saul Eslake – Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Tasmania, former chief economist of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia and of the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group
  • Ruth Langford – Yorta Yorta woman and member of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community
  • Richard Eccleston – Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania
  • Emma Anglesey – Tasmanian musician
  • Luke Wagner – Landscape painter

The event will be recorded for broadcast on ABC RN Big Ideas.

Places are limited and tickets can be purchased online (scroll down to book).

scroll down to book

small wonder – Gerhard Mausz and Alex Miles

Beautiful textures, colours and light, extreme and unpredictable weather, unusual and ancient plant and animal life – they all give Tasmania a unique and mystical character. This exhibition of work by Gerhard Mausz and Alex Miles is their response to Tasmania’s unique natural environment.

Alex’s bold prints and kinetic installations explore the things we feel (wonder, curiosity, anticipation, trepidation) when we’re immersed in a wild place – small figures in a big landscape. Drawn from memories of family adventures and school trips to places like Maria Island, Tasman Peninsula, Dove Lake and Mount Field, her colourful, pattern-based work is made with a young audience in mind (and the young at heart), inspiring them to get outside, embrace adventure and imagination, and discover and value Tasmania’s special places.

The fluid forms of Gerhard’s Hammerschlag Series and terrazzo sculptures reflect his fascination with Tasmania’s marine life encountered while snorkelling, surfing and camping. His natural curiousity compels him to explore. These sensual forms evolved from pushing the boundaries of his practice – using a ball hammer, each object has been hit 15000 to 27000 times to give a unique, sparkling hammer finish.

online catalogue

Exhibition – Hanna Woolley and Duncan Meerding

Fibre and Light – Opening 5.30pm, Friday 3 June

Exhibition continues until Tuesday 5 July

view exhibition online

Hanna Woolley

Hanna mixes the age-old tradition of wet felting with a modern twist. Capturing natures’ textures and patterns using natural fibres, both her stylised and abstract pieces will lure you into a tactile experience. The hangings are layered with superfine merino wool, high lustre silk, cotton and sustainable threads such as sari silk waste and ethically sourced cocoons.

Hanna’s inspiration is drawn from beach combing, rock pools and the whimsy of lichens and mosses that are observed, thoughtfully collected, and treasured while taking walks with her family around the East Coast of Tasmania. Forest colours are highlighted and reflected throughout the exhibition.

Duncan Meerding

Through his work Duncan aims to explore simplistic forms and the way light performs around them. Whether that is the silhouette cast by the furniture piece itself, or the light cast from within. The form of each item is as important as the light cast on the surrounding surface – be it the shards of light bursting from the varying Cracked Log designs or the light patterns cast from the propellers on the ceiling and the walls.

Duncan’s work is influenced by the natural environment. Utilising sustainable, durable materials is at the core of his design process.

“Sustainability and a focus on the environment are present in every step of our process. The majority of timber is sourced either from waste materials or else from faster growing robust timber varieties. Marrying traditional, hand-made techniques with modern manufacturing technologies, small-scale production ensures that each object is built to last. All items are designed and produced in Tasmania, keeping in mind sustainability and social responsibility through out the whole process.”

Wild Island supports ethical and sustainable use of Tasmanian timbers.

Tarkine Lodge Rainforest and Aerial Photography Workshop

Join Rob Blakers and Loic Le Guilly for four extraordinary days of photography within and above Australia’s biggest rainforest wilderness!

We will combine ground-based rainforest photography at the superbly sited Tarkine Wilderness Lodge with big picture aerial photography over the rainforests, ranges and coastline of the magnificent Tarkine, using chartered helicopters.

There are spaces for just six people at this unprecedented event, which will be closely customized to the interests of participants.

Enjoy luxury accommodation, some of Tasmania’s largest rainforest trees at our doorstep and fantastic sunrise and sunset aerial photography across the Tarkine.

The Tarkine Lodge Rainforest and Aerial Photography Workshop features:

  • Intensive rainforest and autumn fungi photography at the iconic Tarkine Lodge
  • On-site helicopters for tailored flights across the Tarkine wilderness
  • Tasmanian Devil viewing from the on-site ‘Devil Hide’
  • Instruction tutorials on equipment and settings, image-making and processing, focus stacking and stitching, 360 panoramas, medium format digital and more
  • One-on-one instruction and small group discussions
  • The opportunity for images from the workshop to be used in the ongoing campaign for protection of the Tarkine.
  • Night sky and, with luck, aurora photography
  • Discounted rates for couples and non-participating partners

Cost – $3950



Workshop details

With the iconic Tarkine Lodge as our base we will explore Australia’s biggest rainforest wilderness, on the ground and from the air.

Photographic opportunities abound, and will include on-ground rainforest exploration, Tasmanian Devils and other wildlife and extraordinary aerial photography of rainforest, rivers, mountains and wild coast.

What to Bring

Warm clothes for 4 days. Remember, this is autumn in Tasmania and we will be out early and late, at night-time, in mountain rainforest and in an open helicopter! The following list details clothing and other equipment that is required for the workshop.

  • Lightweight lace-up walking boots, walking shoes or robust runners with treaded soles and with ankle support if preferred
  • Goretex or other good quality rain jacket
  • Waterproof over-trousers for rainforest photography
  • Down or synthetic ‘duvet’ jacket
  • Thick polar-fleece jacket (preferred) or thick woolen jumper
  • Polar fleece pullover (for wearing under the polar-fleece jacket)
  • Polypropylene thermal underwear – 2 long sleeved tops and 2 pairs of long johns
  • Beanie and/or balaclava
  • Thick thermal gloves/mitts
  • Thin thermal gloves
  • Shorts and/or light cotton trousers for daytime walking in dry weather
  • Warm comfortable clothing for evening lodge wear
  • Shirts / t-shirts – 2 recommended
  • Socks – 4 pairs of warm socks recommended
  • Underwear – 4 sets
  • Lightweight footwear – suitable for lodge and surrounds
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle – at least 1.5 litres
  • Umbrella – essential for rainforest photography!
  • Tripod (essential to bring although not always required)
  • Camera/s, lenses, spare batteries, memory cards, cables, lens tissue, blower brush and other photographic accessories.
  • Camera bag rucsac that is large enough to also fit spare clothes, water bottle and snacks, or camera bag that will fit within a larger rucsac. In this case, the larger rucsac should also be included.
  • Laptop for processing your photographs if desired
  • Walking poles if desired
  • Small but powerful torch and spare batteries
  • Binoculars (for wildlife spotting)
  • Personal items – toothbrush etc
  • Large rucsac and/or duffle bag to contain your clothing and equipment during transport.

What we Provide

  • A desktop computer for processing images
  • A laptop computer for processing images
  • A small selection of camera gear for loan during the workshop
  • Free vehicle transport from Hobart and Launceston to the Tarkine Wilderness Lodge, and to rainforest destinations during the workshop
  • Up to 3 hours helicopter aerial photography
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages. A selection of Tasmanian beer and wines will be available for purchase whilst at the Lodge.
  • Full participation in the workshop, including all tuition


We will collect guests from Hobart then Launceston early in the morning on Thursday 18 May 2016. We will contact each workshop guest in the week prior to the workshop with specific meeting times and places.

We will return to Launceston by 5pm and Hobart by 8pm on Sunday 22 May.

Tarkine Wilderness Lodge

Imagine a superbly appointed Lodge, constructed from beautiful Tasmanian timber, nestled on 200 acres of privately owned land within the majestic Tarkine wilderness. Set on a hilltop that is surrounded by marsupial lawn, and encompassed by the great Tarkine rainforest, the Tarkine Lodge is unique! It is a sustainably designed building constructed of massive timber beams that have been placed at unusual angles, and set with a plethora of windows to catch the views in every direction. Rain water (some of the cleanest in the world!) is collected from the roof and supplies all internal taps and showers. The Lodge utilizes Solar Power as its main source of electricity.

At the Tarkine Wilderness Lodge you’ll enjoy delicious meals prepared with the freshest local produce. Food and wine are sourced from local suppliers and growers wherever possible, and supplements produce from the substantial on-site organic garden.

The Lodge offers luxurious accommodation and complete seclusion from the outside world.

Dietary Requirements

Food will be fresh and local. Please let us know as early as possible if you have dietary requirements or preferences that we can cater to.


Please inform us well ahead of time if you have a medical or health condition that may impact your ability to fully participate in the workshop. Guests over 70 years of age will require a doctor’s certificate.


The workshop price does not include insurance coverage for trip cancellation or interruption, travel accident or delay, baggage delay or baggage theft, medical or hospitalization expenses. We strongly recommend that you obtain travel insurance to cover these unlikely possibilities, as well as coverage for loss or damage to personal items including photographic equipment.

About the Guides

Loic Le Guilly has been a professional photographer for 20 years, focusing on nature, landscape and commercial photography. He is also a specialist in night photography and 360 degree imaging.

Rob Blakers has photographed in Tasmania’s wild places for 35 years. He is an enthusiastic advocate for nature and wilderness and is interested in the evolution of photographic values and techniques in the age of digital photography.

For More Information

Please contact either Rob Blakers (0427 232 539) or Loic Le Guilly (0414 612 716) if you have questions regarding the workshop, or email Wild Island at info@wildislandtas.com.au.

Interwoven – Exhibition by Trauti Reynolds

“With this exhibition I want to celebrate the beauty of Tasmania’s natural world. When walking in the bush with our small sons I learned to look at the often unobtrusive, small details of Tasmania’s forests, mountains and shorelines. Textures, colours and patterns catch my attention and imagination. I hope that this body of work reflects this.”

view images online

Opening 6pm, Friday 1 April
Exhibition continues until Wednesday 27 April

Trauti Reynolds Wet Eucalypt Bark (detail), 36.5x35cm, tapestry weaving with cotton threads, 2015

Introduction to Landscape Photography with Rob Blakers

This short workshop aims to set the scene for nature and landscape photography, as well as provide practical, hands-on advice and tips that will be relevant to those new, and not so new, to photography.

Come armed with questions and feel free to bring your camera.
Wednesday February 10th, 7:30 – 9:30pm. $29.50


Rock, ice, rainforest + Topophilia

Rob Blakers    Rock, ice, rainforest

Landscape photography takes us out of the studio and away from the situations that we control. It is the engagement of thought and planning, strenuous travel and intuition. It is the art of finding ourselves in places where we are drawn into subtle nature, and of seeking images that convey that experience.

This exhibition presents moments from wild landscapes in Tasmania. It comes from fine winter light on ice and mountains, elegant sand-dunes and sand-stone, and ephemeral mist in quiet forest. It is the amazing Tasmanian endemic gondwanan flora and lingering twilight over the western sea. It is a collection of encounters, mostly recent, from three decades of pursuit.

Read Rob’s opening speech below.

view images online


Olivia Hickey    Topophilia

Artist statement: I am an explorer of the outdoors with a deep and long held connection to the wild places. I am often drawn to the hidden details within the land and find myself captivated by the complexity and beauty in the small. I collect natural treasures mindfully, transmute them into silver and return them to place.

This process ensures that they are still part of the land and highlights the magic of the hidden details. I strive to capture the intangible moments and create talismans that connect people to the ephemeral elements of place so they can be worn on the landscape of the body.

view images online



Opening speech by Rob Blakers

Rock, Ice, Rainforest
Wild Island, February 5th 2016

“Almost half of the images on display tonight are in the direct line of the fires that continue to burn in western Tasmania.

The 100 and more fires that were lit by lightning strikes on 13th January have had a devastating impact on the Tasmanian natural landscape, and in particular on rainforest and alpine communities, which have no tolerance for fire. Fire has burnt at the edge of Australia’s largest rainforest wilderness in the Tarkine, and rolled around the western end of the Central Plateau, and at Lake Mackenzie and the February Plains, for more than 3 weeks. Trees, plants and organic soils that were upwards of a thousand years old have been killed. In a warming and drying climate this is a one-way process – those communities will not come back.

The loss of the highland Gondwanic endemics – pencil and King Billy pines, cushion plants and other alpine species, has been ongoing since white colonization of Tasmania. Less than half of the pencil pines that grew here 200 years ago now remain. Most of that loss has been caused by people, through fires that were deliberately lit and also through fires started inadvertently.

The fires of the last several weeks are different and mark the era in which we now find ourselves. We still have direct human folly, but the consequences of indirect human folly have, for the first time in history, eclipsed those. The fires that began on the 13th are not natural fires but are one terrible way in which climate change now manifests in Tasmania.

In the decade from 1993 to 2003 there were 17 wildfires ignited by lightning strikes in Tasmania. In the decade that followed there were 30. In the last month alone there have been upwards of 130. This, coupled with the driest summer ever recorded in western Tasmania, makes a critically dangerous situation. It is precisely what the climate change modeling predicted.

Pencil and King Billy pines are wonderful things; they have been my favorites since I first came to Tasmania. The highland Gondwanan landscapes are unique in Australia, and corresponding high altitude long lived trees are globally rare and diminishing. In light of these fires, however, I now see the alpine pine communities differently. I saw them before as an incredibly special and beautiful feature of the Tasmanian highlands. I still see them as that, but now see them also as fragile relicts that need our utmost protection. These plants have been around for 65 million years yet today face unprecedented threats. To lose them in the wild in coming decades, a very real prospect, would be a hideous indictment.

In their destructive spread the fires have cast a pall of smoke over Tasmania. They have also cast a pall over the collective mood of most of the people that I know – people who understand and care for wild places. It’s grief at the specific loss of ancient pines and deep rainforest, but it is more than that. For many of us this event has touched a dread that we have carried, not always consciously, for decades. It’s the understanding that humans have plundered the planet for selfish ends for a long time and that the inevitable consequences of that abuse are now in play.

Climate change has landed on our shores and today’s fires are a part of that, but plainly the crisis affects more than our beautiful pencil pines and rainforests. We are in a fight for the life of the planet.

The dread that we feel, and the events that are becoming increasingly apparent globally, can be powerful motivators. Faced with dire questions of our own survival, there has never been such incentive for positive change. To not fight is to plunge further into denial and despair. Our past cannot be our future.

We need to reduce our own impacts and help those either unable or unwilling, to also do so. We need to cultivate our vegetable plots and cultivate our resourcefulness, creativity and intuition.

Let’s hope that in a hundred years we can all look around and see the places in these pictures – flourishing groves of pencil and King Billy pine at Mt Anne, the Arthurs, and in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, verdant rainforest in the Weld and the Northeast, (and of course in the Tarkine National Park), all being rained bountifully upon in a repairing Tasmanian climate.”

Aurora & night-sky talks at Wild Island

Join us for an afternoon of informative and entertaining talks about aurora, stars and more…

  • How the Tasmanian aurora craze started (Margaret Sonnemann)
  • The science of the aurora (Dave Hunter)
  • How to predict and monitor auroras (Dave Hunter)
  • Introduction to stars in our night sky (John Oxley)
  • Bioluminescence in Tasmania (Lisa Gershwin)

Beginners aurora & night sky photography workshop

aurora-australis-Tasmania-1828-PozibleJoin Loic Le Guilly to learn the basics of night sky & aurora photography.

Topics covered:

  • introduction to auroras & how they work
  • where to go to see them in Tasmania
  • how to forecast and monitor auroras
  • equipment to photograph auroras & night sky (cameras, lenses, tripods, accessories)
  • the best camera settings
  • how to process your night sky images (several real examples done live, editing software is Lightroom but principles can be applied to other software)


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Win a print by Rob Blakers, Loic Le Guilly or Simon Olding (random draw every 3 months).

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