Man O War - Glen Davis Shale Mining Ruins - The HDR Experience

Philip Johnson

Newport Beach, Australia

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SOLD! – Framed Medium Size Print

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


Artwork Comments

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