I was recently fortunate to visit Emerald, Queensland, tasked by Camerata – Queensland’s ChamberOrchestra with composing a new work inspired by my journey. While Emerald the town is distinct, it isEmerald the community that most resonated with me. I must thank Renée Anderson, Paul Bell AM, Patricia Bock, Katerina Hatzipanagiotis, Peter Maguire AM and Bronwyn Reid for their incredible generosity, insight and good humour. I think I have never truly met such friendly people.
My activities were varied. I visited Fairbairn Dam with Katerina and, after much practise, operated asiphon tube with Renée. I confess that I exceeded the bounds of my charge and with Patricia ventured deep into The Gemfields. The rugged geographies of Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale have been difficult to shake from my mind. There seems to me to be a kind of beauty in rusted machinery scattered across the desert. Man’s interaction with nature in this manner is, I think, terrifying – in the biblical sense.
At the conclusion of my Central Queensland adventures, I returned to Brisbane via the Spirit of theOutback. The train departed Emerald’s historic station at seven o’clock in the evening; after dinner, Iretired to my cabin, doused my lamp, and watched as hundreds and hundreds of lights slowly lumberedtheir way through the night.
In composing Central Highland Rounds, I drew on my experiences, and on what memories I have ofthe Central Highlands’ landscapes and stories. I am grateful to both Camerata – Queensland’s ChamberOrchestra and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation for affording me an opportunity to explore Australia.
There is nothing quite like a setting sun over a cotton sea (whilst sipping ginger beer).