The Working Port

On the Waterfront

I was "Artist in Residence" on the Darling Harbour Wharves while it was an operational port from early 2005 until the final departure of the stevedores in October 2007. I painted on the wharf itself almost every day, and sometimes at night as well. I saw my subject, not from a distance but in the midst of all the bustle of port activities.

Port Activity
'The P & O Forklift'  2007 oil on canvas 41 x 31 cm
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The Ships

"The Tamerlane in the rain" 2005 oil on canvas 75 x 100 cm.

The 'Tamerlane' was one of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen fleet. The" Wilhelmsen" (originally Norwegian) ships were red and all their names began with the letter "T" eg "Toba", "Tortugas","Trianon" and of course the notorious "Tampa". The "Wallenius" ships (originally Swedish) ships were dark green and were named after Italian operas eg. "Tosca" "Madame Butterfly" "Don Giovanni" etc

"Lifting container 'Oceania Chief'" 2006 oil painting on canvas 25 x 20cm 
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Positioning a container on one of the "Chief" ships at DH3. The container, attached to a yellow "spreader" has been lifted by one of the 3 red cranes andthe stevedores are waiting to put it into its final position on one of the black-hulled "Chief" ships. The scale of the men compared to the containers shows how dangerous stevedoring could be. I painted this as a little tribute to the unsung courage and tenacity of the waterside workers. There were no fatalities at Darling Harbour during my stint as "Artist in Residence", but a dockworker was tragically killed in early April this year at Port Botany. I have heard of yet another tragic fatality in July 2010, this time in Melbourne.
A view from the Bridge
 'Miller's point from the Bridge of the 'Talabot' Diptych-' 2006 
oil on canvas 31x61cm each  
Total image 31 x 122 cm SOLD 
A panorama of the East Darling Harbour Wharves painted from the bridge of the MV Talabot, one of the fleet of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ro-ros. This gives an idea of the enormous size and scale of the area. Shed 3,  the former home of the Customs Division, is to the far left. Shed 4, former home of P&O, is the shed directly beneath me in the centre . Shed 5, to the extreme right, was the former home of Patrick Stevedoring and Patrick Defence Logistics, and my usual headquarters. During the last 18 months of port operations, I was allocated the old Port Captain's office as a place to keep my ever-increasing stockpile of paintings.