Maps dominated my fifteen year career as a commercial and regulatory lawyer in the energy and infrastructure sectors. I met my future husband while advising on land title and transmission line easement issues for a proposed power station. These days we only visit the region to go wine tasting but I can still map out the route and rattle off the names of the affected landowners.
A year long secondment to The Cabinet Office of New South Wales to advise on the rail restructuring involved hours of poring over network diagrams with tracks, turnouts and sidings in far flung places. It was fascinating to visit the rail property headquarters to see original maps in large velum books with copperplate script. You could breathe colonial Australia in that place. Did you know that the interstate network was only converted to a standard gauge after World War II. and that signigicant variations in rail gauge still exist across Australia? Crazy but true. I don't drink tea or coffee but this mug with a Sydney rail network diagram circa 1995 is a favourite souvenir of my lawyering days.
When a US client bid for broadcasting transmission towers around Australia, I become acquainted with various country high points with evocative names such as Mt Misery, Mt Warning, Mt Disappointment and Mt Buggery. My knowledge of Australian geography was further expanded when the same client purchased hundreds of mobile telephone towers around the country. I would go to sleep listing the sites (and their legal issues) in my head like my own professional version of the classic Australian song I've Been Everywhere Man.*
With this rich resource of legal-geographical memories, I have many ideas for this challenge. However, my quilt ended up going on a quite different tangent in a couple of days of studio time over Easter. I'm looking forward to 1 May to show you.
* Lisa Walton made Everywhere inspired by this song and this work features in the Beneath the Southern Sky exhibition that I curated.
Send in the Clowns
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