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Man O War - Glen Davis Shale Mining Ruins - The HDR Experience    by Philip Johnson
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I call this Man O War because it reminds me of a old battleship or galleon.

The former oil shale mining town lies at the end of the spectacular escarpments of the Capertee Valley, the largest enclosed valley in the southern hemisphere.

In its heyday about 2,500 people lived in the township. Vertical sandstone cliffs stand guard over the crumbling vegetation covered structures lending a surreal impression.

The site backs onto the Gardens Of Stone and Wolemni National Parks which are part of The Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

Between 1939 and 1952 National Oil Proprietary Limited extracted oil from shale at their Glen Davis works in the Capertee Valley approximately 120 miles west of Sydney. The plant was built using much equipment salvaged from the closed Newnes shale oil works nearby. Although regarded as strategic for Australia’s wartime oil supply, the venture was plagued by technical, financial and political difficulties, and anticipated production was never fully realised. Viability of the shale mine and oil works were always questionable and they closed after a short and troubled life.

This shot shows the Retorts Brickwork of No.1 Retort bench still stands, but little remains of No.2 Retorts. Shale was fed from above and moved downward through the firebrick tubes as it was heated and burnt. Oil gases were released via side off-take flues, and ash was drawn out the bottom by rotating screws.

Gradually nature is reclaiming the buildings as we watch Australias history disapear….why?

Equipment: Nikon D300, Nikon 18-200mm lens
Technique: HDR 5 Bracketted Images processed with Photomatix Pro

Framed

Philip Johnson is a Photographer located on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Specialising in HDR photography his works have been shown in galleries,published in Tourism campaigns. His work will also be available as Jig Saws through Crown & Andrews

Winner of the Art Unlimited Photography prize 2011

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Comments

  • Bev Woodman
    Bev Woodmanalmost 6 years ago

    This is great Philip – the image and the history makes me want to pack the car now and head off. Its totally fascinating. I read up on the old shale mine at Murrurundi recently but there is little left of that, which reminds me I have a shot to put on – tomorrow will do. Thanks for the history Philip this is brilliant.

  • ive wanted to do gllen davis for ages , it didnt disapoint

    – Philip Johnson

  • Smudger
    Smudgeralmost 6 years ago

    wow that is amazing Phillip

  • Well looking at this photo the building is quite large, but if you look at Guardians Of The Valley you can see this building in the foreground… it shows just how large the valley is as this building is dwarfed

    – Philip Johnson

  • Craig Watson
    Craig Watsonalmost 6 years ago

    …great accompanying information!

  • jinney
    jinneyalmost 6 years ago

    WOWE-its JI-NORMOUS!
    ..how amazing..the detail!
    I DARE-NOT ans the WHY on Australias history as Im a kiwi…But the econimic climate..here-it
    was different after the war..and by ’52 manpower was still being used for most of the labour!
    -but with computors and more modern teck/equiptment..this type of the good old fasion-way has gone!

    YOUR PICS ARE SO MAGESTIC-its hard to comment on!
    there all awesome!
    -jinney

  • Well looking at this photo the building is quite large, but if you look at Guardians Of The Valley you can see this building in the foreground… it shows just how large the valley is as this building is dwarfed

    – Philip Johnson

  • David Robinson
    David Robinsonalmost 6 years ago

    What grandeur! Marvellous image and thanks for the background info, it really adds to my appreciation of the building. It’s always sad to see such historic buildings gradually slipping away.

  • maxy
    maxyalmost 6 years ago

    Wow! Huge structure – very impressive angle! Excellent work – the sky is amazing!

  • Mrswillow
    Mrswillowalmost 6 years ago

    Thank you for this Phillip…great imagery and fascinating reading.

  • sassyskink
    sassyskinkalmost 6 years ago

    superb Philip!

  • margotk
    margotkalmost 6 years ago

    Fantastic shot and your composition really presents this building as an imposing structure indeed.

  • ej29
    ej29almost 6 years ago

    Wonderful color….Very well done!!!

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