Weekend Wanderings: Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement
Last week when I was up in the Mallee it was hot and while I think taking photos when it’s hot is okay it really isn’t fun. When we realized one of the days was going to be hot we thought a trip to Swan Hill on the Murray River in Victoria’s north might be nice.
I have to say Swan Hill was disappointing. For a town or city that was founded in 1846 they have done their best to make it look new. I grew up around there and I know there were historical buildings, but many of them are now gone. The city looks like it began in the 60’s. I don’t understand the mentality.
They are missing an opportunity. People think of tourists as people who will take photos of anything, but what about the tourists who are photographers? As photography gains momentum they want to travel to places to take photos. I wouldn’t recommend Swan Hill, it is ugly now, there is no sense of the place as it was. I love old buildings, and it is hard to see any.
We also went to the Pioneer Settlement.
I haven’t been there for about 30 years, but it is still very much like it was. There were some differences. The paddle steamer in the above image used to be the entrance. Now they have a shiny new building that is in stark contrast to what the place is meant to represent as the entrance.
The settlement is like a little town set back in 19th century. You can see what the shops looked like, and homes, see how people lived.
You can walk inside to many places. Though, it was sad to see how some things were set up. Like old cash registers with the keys facing behind the counter, the most interesting part of them and you can’t see them.
This is a dunny, what Australians would call it anyway. A toilet outside in a little room like this.
There is a paddle steamer that you can go for a ride on as well. You can’t see it here, but they have put air conditioning on it and right on top of the boat are the ventilators for it, so ugly and makes photography of something that is meant to be authentic, completely unauthentic.
It was a strange place. It was almost like it was meant to be old, but they didn’t really like old, much like the whole of Swan Hill. If you want to photograph a historic river town I would recommend you go to Echuca, they have hung onto their past.
I have a gallery of more photos and you can see what the place is like. It might have been nicer if it wasn’t so hot and humid, but I don’t know that I would go back again. I do understand now why the photographers I see from up there do more landscapes.