All in Portraits

Dr Harry in Carnarvon

It seems the whole of Carnarvon knows Dr Harry Sneddon. For many years he was the town’s vet treating creatures great and small. A quietly spoken, gentle man - a gentleman in its truest sense - it’s not hard to imagine him tenderly handling someone’s fur child at his practice in town, or horse whispering out on a cattle station. More recently he’s owned and operated the general store just out of the town centre to keep himself busy in his retirement.

Bryan at Gascoyne Junction

While we were hanging out with Spags, we also met Bryan. Spags seems not to have a care in the world. His mate Bryan though has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now after losing everything in a fire a month ago. Bryan had been living in his caravan inside a big shed at Spags’ place. He was working out bush when he got a call from a mate to say the shed had burnt to the ground. “It was April Fool’s Day”, Bryan said “I thought they were pulling my leg.”

Camping at Wooleen Station

We set off on our meander through WA with no set time frame and no planned route. There was however a couple of places we knew we wanted to go which gave us a rough skeleton of a plan when we left home on the south coast of WA. Wooleen Station was one of those places. We’ve visited Wooleen a few times before, in fact we photographed Frances and David’s wedding a couple of years ago…

Yuin Station in the Murchison

We first met the Foulkes-Taylors, owners of Yuin Station, when we photographed Frances and David’s wedding at Wooleen Station two years ago. Since then I’ve been following Emma on Instagram - @outbacklarder - in awe of the fresh produce she manages to grow in this dry and dusty land. On our way through to Murchison Settlement for the Anzac Day ceremony we spent a night at Yuin where three generations now call home…

Stan at the Yalgoo Hotel

The pub at Yalgoo is quite spectacular when seen for the first time hot pink and glowing in the late afternoon sun. However, it’s the paint job inside that’s the show stealer - the liberal use of a garish green the likes of which I’ve never seen before, certainly not in nature, but somehow, in this setting, it actually works. The walls are largely bare except for a couple of jokey 80s-style alcohol-related posters, a collection of old Yalgoo number plates, and an upside-down Exit sign.

Retired stockman in Yalgoo

Their father was a stockman and their mother also “worked the cattle from the back of a horse” - it was only natural for Patrick to follow in their footsteps. He spoke fondly of his memories, mustering by day and gathering around campfires in the middle of nowhere at night before falling asleep under the stars…

Wheatbelt mother and son

Neighbours to Robin and Robert, Margaret Scally lives in Goodlands, on the northern edge of the Wheatbelt in Western Australia with her two sons. It’s not the easiest place to find but we spotted their ‘mailboxes’ next to the road sign bearing their name. Standing at her back door with views across to ‘the hills’, Mt Singleton and Mt Gibson, Margaret told us of her earliest memory - aged around five, being given the last rites by the priest when she had “the black measles”.

Wheatbelt father and son portraits

Now 77, Robin’s life has not always been easy but it’s been full of love. Emerging from the school principal’s office after getting “the cuts” for wolf-whistling at her, Robin first saw his “Princess”, Kaye as she walked across the schoolyard. “You know when you’ve seen an angel” he told me. Knowing he’d got a keeper, Robin asked her father if he could marry her six times before he gained approval…

Family portraits in the Wheatbelt

We’ve had a blast the last few days camping on fellow photographer Jo Ashworth’s family farm on the northern edge of the Wheatbelt. Jo really wanted some portraits of the family that truly reflected them day-to-day so between exploring the farm, photographing some wonderful characters in the district, and sharing stories around their kitchen table and our campfire, we squeezed in this photo session.

Living life differently in the Wheatbelt

“You’ve got to meet Ann and Three” we were told. “They’re living their life differently.” School teacher Ann and retired firefighter Three realising life was short, made the decision to sell up, buy a caravan and head off on an adventure around Australia. They left Bunbury, had a night in Narrogin and then drove to Mukinbudin, a tiny Wheatbelt town, three and a half hours drive from Perth. That was nine months ago. They’re still in Mukinbudin.

Wilma aged 89 at the Mukinbudin BP

Wilma Geraghty, 89, and her son Peter own the Mukinbudin BP. She still works five and a half days a week because “What else would I do?” As well as working in the office this diminutive lady whose skin belies her years told me “I pump fuel, do the gas cylinders but I gave up carrying the 20 litre drums quite some time ago though…I’m the dog’s body! I do everything and anything but I’m the master of none.”

Artist and designer Robert McCaffrey

It’s a week ago today we found ourselves in the small country town of Kellerberrin on the Great Eastern Highway. One moment we were standing on the dusty pavement as a road train trundled past on its way to Kalgoorlie, the next we were in a room, grand in its scale, and opulent in its contents, with warm hues, 14ft high ceilings and Mary and Joseph towering above us either side of the antique sideboard. We were in the home of artist, menswear designer and TAFE lecturer Robert McCaffrey. His home is a work of art in its own right - eclectic and diverse, it was an outward expression of all that is Robert.