A Spotlight on the Piners – Artist Statement
“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” Franklin Roosevelt
Bold, audacious and enterprising, the Piners recognised ‘opportunity’ when they saw it! As tough, strong young men, they rose to the challenge and; with determination and hard work, made a living by harvesting Huon Pine in the Gordon River system.
Working conditions were wet and dangerous, and all equipment and supplies had to be rowed upstream by punts. They were isolated for months at a time as gangs of men felled, hauled, cleared and collected logs to supply the timber mills in Strahan.
Horses, blocks and tackle, canals and tramways were used. In steep country, logs could be ‘shot’ from the stump straight into the river, but it could take up to three years before a flash flood washed their branded logs down to the lower Gordon for collecting and towing to Strahan. Piners could make good money but were only paid on receipt of the timber at the mill.
My inspiration for this latest body of works came from watching the DVD “Two Men and a Punt” by Gary Kerr and hearing old Piners telling their tales in their own words. They really were tough in those days! I do hope you enjoy “A Spotlight on the Piners”.