A walk through the Pekina Hundred

O'Malley, Glen
Production date
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Object Detail

A walk through the Pekina Hundred
Production date
digital photography, stab bound
box: 31 x 42.5 x 5.5 cm; book: 30 x 42 x 4 cm (closed), 30 x 85.4 x 1.5 cm (open)
Object type
Interpretive text
These pages document a walk in South Australia, around the Pekina Hundred. I hope I have also depicted the experience of any walk – an unfolding relationship with a road. In the 1800s South Australia was divided into 100 square mile blocks. The Pekina Hundred, north of Adelaide, is a rectangle on a map. The town of Pekina is within its boundaries. Since 1975 I have exhibited photos. However a side project led to this book. In the ‘90s, I was a member of online artist collective Nervous Objects. From all over Australia we made art together online. In 1999, we came together for two weeks, in a stone dance hall at Pekina to produce a live online performance. From different areas of art, we shared an interest in then new technologies. My photographs would become integrated into the performance. Unlike the Queensland rainforest where I live,
the land was harsh and dry but beautiful. I looked at it with unfamiliar eyes, but also educated by early Australian painters who gave me a lifelong appreciation of this nonEuropean landscape. The idea of arbitrary
divisions on a map was fascinating. I determined the boundary to walk its perimeter. I wanted to get to know this little used road by photographing precisely each half hour. Despite tidy rectangles on maps, terrain contains creeks and ridges. Roads formed first by horse and carts follow the easiest path. My walk was not rectangular; I occasionally cut in and out of the border. The road served me well. I saw Slippery Corner and Bully Acre. No movies screened at the corrugated iron Tarcowie Drive-In, but I had a few beers at the pub. I walked in stages, dropped off each day where I had stopped the day before. I walked 75 km in hot weather. I always planned to turn this experience into a book, each page to show the half hourly photo and relevant data. On returning home I completed one page. New projects took its place. I recommenced 15 years later. I scanned negatives and tried to make sense of information scribbled in a notebook. I re-lived an experience more important to me than I had realised. Some footsteps were hard to remember. Finishing the book coincided with a trip to Adelaide 15 years on. I revisited Pekina.The landscape was still Australian; the road still unfolded. I retraced the walk, this time by car, stopping to look and to record coordinates with new technology. Some places were easy to find, some harder. I was pleased the Wynflete church was restored, and disappointed there was no beer at Tarcowie. The pub had shut. I re-acquainted with my road. We had got to know each other well, with its assuring underfoot murmurings, its twists to take me an easier way, or to find a photograph. It encouraged me not to take up with other roads but twice suggested I followed fence lines for a short cut. It was there at the other end. This book is about that.
Glen O’Malley 2020

[INTERPRETATIVE] A walk around the Pekina Hundred documents a trail the artist walked near Pekina, southwest South Australia, in 1999 over multiple days. It features O’Malley’s signature black-and-white photography of the road he travelled, alongside a date and time, maps, compass dials and graphs related to the walk’s ground elevation and other data. The walk is depicted as a lone journey, taken for the purpose of photographing and otherwise capturing the road.
Credit line
Mackay Regional Council Art Collection, purchased through the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Fund 2020.
Accession number