Hazel Dooney
WILLIAM CREEK & BEYOND: AUSTRALIAN ARTISTS EXPLORE THE OUTBACK

by Ken McGregor and Ashley Crawford, photography by Hari Ho. Craftsman House, 2002, ISBN: 187700426X (hardcover, colour, 288 pages, 35.5 x 29 x 3.5 cm), available to buy online here.

In 2001 ten artists set out on an adventure that would take them into the heart of Australia. The tiny settlement of William Creek, perched on the edge of barren Lake Eyre in South Australia, became a studio for the creation of the important body of work now known as "William Creek & Beyond".

With their disparate styles, John Olsen, Tim Storrier, David Larwill, Robert Jacks, Rodney Pople, Mark Schaller, Jason Benjamin, Jeff Makin, Hazel Dooney and Andrew Sibley, tackled one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet.

The artists set up their base at the William Creek Hotel, on the rugged Oodnadatta Track, while a remote encampment, accessible only by a one hour helicopter flight, was established west of the Warburton Groove and south of the daunting Simpson Desert.

From Lake Eyre, a number of the artists continued on to take in the sights of Coober Pedy, Dalhousie Springs, Chambers Pillar, Alice Springs, Kings Canyon, and the imposing natural monolith of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). The journey embraced the Aboriginal townships of Papunya and Kintore where the travellers met such noted Indigenous artists as George Tjungurrayi, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Makinti Napananka.

The journey was organised by art consultant Ken McGregor who, along with writer Ashley Crawford and photographer Hari Ho, set out to document the proceedings.

Australia has had a long tradition of artists' journeys into the bush and the William Creek expedition sought to reinvigorate this tradition. The result is an aesthetic and creative tour de force; a roller-coaster ride of ideas, images and personalities; a unique physical and artistic adventure; a book about an unforgettable journey.
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