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Backyard Photography Magazine | Queensland Issue


Issue 2 – Queensland


Welcome to the second issue of Backyard, an online photography magazine.

Backyard showcases the work of photographers who love to explore and capture their neighbourhoods. After a fantastic response to our inaugural London issue we’re now visiting Queensland, Australia.

This issue has been curated by Backyard co-founder Mark Burton and Queensland photographer Man Cheung, who is currently based in London.

We’ve deliberately stayed away from the typical stereotype of kangaroos, sun, surf and beaches. Queensland might be a relatively new state in a new country, but it’s a much more complex place than the mirage created by the tourist industry and beer commercials.

In fact, the theme that has emerged from this issue is one of history. In part, this is because the majority of the people portrayed are from an older generation. However, after looking at the work in this issue we hope you will have seen ‘history’ portrayed in different ways. There is the rich sense of history migrants bring from their homeland; there are the personal and familial histories of Queenslanders; there is an international perspective with a look back to the Second World War and there is of course the ancient (and contemporary) history of the Aboriginal peoples who were in Queensland long before Europeans arrived.

We see Queensland as a place where the histories of many different people combine and converge. This collection of ‘Backyard’ photographers have all used different approaches to create their images – from an academic rigour to a more relaxed method of point-and-shoot. However, what we hope all these projects have in common is that they are interesting and insightful stories.

Man Cheung and Mark Burton

March 31st 2012

Isaac Brown

Isaac Brown’s intimate portraits of a bereaving family are inter-twined with hauntingly beautiful images of the surrounding landscape. His work is testament to the trusting relationship he built with his in-laws. They have invited him to document their loss while also becoming part of the healing process.

© Isaac Brown
© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown© Isaac Brown

Swamp Country – My Country

Michael Aird

© Michael Aird

At first glance Michael Aird’s work looks like blokes on a fishing trip. But look again and deeper meanings are revealed. Michael reclaims images of his aboriginal ancestors that were originally taken by European photographers. And the places he goes to fish and camp with his friends have been home to his forefathers for generations.

Courtesy Jimmy Yuke CollectionPhoto by Jimmy Yuke© John Oxley Library© Michael Aird© John Oxley Library© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird© Michael Aird


Man Cheung

© Man Cheung

Man Cheung’s straightforward, but acutely observed portraits of his old primary school teachers take us on a journey of personal discovery. In the process of creating these photographs he builds a new, adult relationship with the people who once taught him as a child.

© Man Cheung© Man Cheung© Man Cheung© Man Cheung© Man Cheung© Man Cheung© Man Cheung

State Library of Queensland

John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 104176

Did you know there was a Battle of Brisbane between Australian and US serviceman in WW2? With images from the State Library of Queensland and excerpts from a book on the subject by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin we get an insight into what life was like in Brisbane in the early 1940’s.

Mark Muller, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 99847John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 104019John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 99804John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 105721John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 190364Mark Muller, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 99823Mark Muller, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 99856John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 102776John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 99716John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 105266John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 64349John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 195071John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 73427John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 104176John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 149216John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 106222John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 105718John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 43463John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 43466John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Neg: 43464

Of Another Time

Ana Paula Estrada

© Ana Paula Estrada

Ana Paula Estrada’s collection of relaxed portraits document the experiences of the over 70’s in Queensland. Ana photographs her subjects in locations that reveal additional layers about their personality and life experience. These photographs are accompanied by a moving series of interviews in which personal histories become part of Queensland history.

© Ana Paula Estrada

Arthur Hockey

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 2 / 22 ]

I will be bloody 80 in two months; I grew up in a place called The Milwall, the east end of London. It was a disaster area, it was. The pits and slums of London, it was bloody dreadful.

When I was a kid I didn’t have any toys; there was no money for food let alone for toys. I went out and stole things, that’s the way life was.

My mother was in a sanatorium because she had tuberculosis and this is where she died when she was 27. I wrote a few letters for her when she was in hospital: “Dear mummy; I hope you are all right I am all right too” from Arthur.

“Evacuation” they called it, when the war started September the 3rd 1939, two days after my 9th birthday they sent buses for all the young children to try get them out of London. They took me to a small country place, where I had to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to feed the pigs and the chickens and if I didn’t feed them then I didn’t eat so I ran away and I went back to London. The houses were falling down all around, there were people and friends getting killed every day, it was just about waking up in the morning and see if you were alive at night. It wasn’t a very good time. I wish childhood could have been very different.

When I was 17 the army came and knocked at my door and I had to go to the war. I went two years, awkward beauty actually; I used to eat three times a day which never happened before and that was lovely, really nice, lovely. And then I came out, played a bit of football and then I started working.

But I didn’t have a life until I met Mary, yes that was it. I was just a bloody waste of space. I met Mary and then we had beautiful Sarah. I enjoy everything now, it's magic now. You couldn’t ask for anything else, could you? Beautiful. Magic.

England is my old country, but not anymore. I am not attached to anything from my past, I really don’t look back on my past because most of the times I don’t enjoy what I see. This is where I am and this is it.

© Ana Paula Estrada

Charlie & Lynne

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 4 / 22 ]

We will be married for 31 years this year. It’s been good years, isn’t darling?

[Yes, I don’t complain about anything] Charlie said.

It was in the winery, my boyfriend owned and Charlie was a guest. I remember Charlie walking in with a group of friends while I was serving wine behind the bar and eventually he asked me if I would have a dance and I said: “We don’t really mix with the guests.” Few days later Charlie rang my work and finally asked me if I liked to go out.

[And for my surprise, she said YES, why not?] Charlie said.

I was curious but I had no idea that Charlie was that age, I am 65 and he will be 85 this year. Although I was in love with Charlie, I got married to Peter, because I thought the age was a big issue. I said to him, “You have to be away from me, this is not going to happen” Then I was pretty unhappy almost all the time. We were working almost all of the time so it was kind of dysfunction, It has to be more in life that just material and when you realized that, you find out that it has to be something that holds all together. So Charlie rang up because he was going to do some renovation in the bathroom, he asked me for some advice in terms of colors.

[I needed some females advices that‘s it] Charlie said.

So I left Peter, told him why, I told him it was somebody else. I said to Mum and Dad, “Look I am going to move in with Charlie, he is 60 or whatever and I can’t wait around anymore I have to find out if we can live together and see how it is” so that’s what happened. And we lived happy ever after.

My aunt used to say: “Be careful because he might be looking for someone to look after him, a younger woman” We both laughed but there it is.

So that was it.

© Ana Paula Estrada

Emmanuel Cosmo Comino

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 6 / 22 ]

I was born in Queensland, Australia the 8 of April, 1930 but my parents were from Cythera, Greece.

In Greece there were two different kinds of Comino, some of them were rich and the others were poor, my mum was one of the rich and my dad was poor. So they got married and my mom never had to change her name.

I grew up in a country town in Queensland; it was a farm district, a wonderful town. My dad had a news agency. We came over here to Caloundra when I was 11, My Dad opened a milk bar café, he was a master drink maker and he taught me how to make all kind of drinks and ice creams. My mum was always here, she was a very good housekeeper, the best cook; ohh beautiful great Greek dinners she made! My favorite was her beautiful roasted lamb. I had a good life when I was a boy; my bike was my favorite toy, I went riding everywhere, swimming, fishing. Nice time, lovely.

In 1961 I joined the navy. I went off for 6 years, became a soldier. And after that I came back to work here in the shop. Dad had got rid of the Greek milk bar café shop next door.

I have been working at this shop since then, “Comino’s Drapery at 26 Bulcock Street” founded in 1946, I sell drapery, linens, fancy and craft work, hats, bottoms. My dad had the shop before me and I inherited from him.

It’s been a really good life, very casual not busy, just nice and easy. But life is so different now, the kids don’t do the same things anymore and it is all changed, especially the beaches; the sand bars and trees are all gone, all washed away by the cyclones and the rain, but still a good place.

I've been here 70 years, so I can’t complain, can I?

© Ana Paula Estrada

Florence Comino

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 8 / 22 ]

I was born in Gladstone, Queensland in 1940. When I was 4 we moved to a wonderful place in the bush called Blackall, in the Central west. My Mother’s family was from Germany and my Father was born in Cythera, Greece.

My Dad was self-educated, he learned to read and write by himself. He was in the army but when he came out he was able to purchase the central cafe in Blackall. He made his money working very hard during all his life.

We didn’t have much money so my mother used to make all the toys for myself and my three brothers; she made me an old fashion pea doll, which I loved. I really miss her.

My first job was with Mom and Dad at the shop. Being there when we weren’t at school was part of our life.

You can say my mother was a housewife, although she worked in the shop with Dad every single day of her married life she always had dinner ready for night time. It was very hard on those days, they didn’t have any modern conveniences, Mom did all the cleaning and washing by hand, she had to get on the floor and scratch, very hard.

My parents were a good and lovely couple.

I met Emmanuel when I was not quite 13 because Greek families always use to get together. His family was always really nice with us, Emmanuel’s father was a real gentleman, he used to bring my Dad the newspapers coming from Greece. The 14th of June, 1961 we got married by the Orthodox Church, we had a real traditional wedding, we ended up with 500 guests. It was great although I didn’t know many people of myself.

We had two children, one girl and one boy. We have been working in the shop in Caloundra our whole married life.

The moment of the day I enjoy the most is after school time when I can have my grandchildren around. The most important thing in life is being with the family and having peace of mind.

© Ana Paula Estrada

Desmond James Dwyer

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 10 / 22 ]

I was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1933 but all my lifetime memories are really associated with Caloundra; I have been here for 73 years.

There was no power when we first came here, it was only a very small village, didn’t get power until the Second World War started. There was only one school in the bush with two rooms and a verandah; I still have friends from then. It was a wonderful place to live in, everyday was full of activity because it was all different kind of animals and birds, whatever you wanted to see was here, so every day when we had free time we went out exploring.

My father was from Victoria and my mother from central Queensland. I have one brother younger than me and for a time there was also one girl who my mother raised because her mom died, so she used to consider us some kind of brothers.

Nobody had much money in those days but my mother always had good meals. She did a lot of traditional dishes and hot meals, she was a great cake maker. For my birthday she always made a beautiful sponge cake with strawberries and cream on top, I can remember that.

My Dad originally sold real estate, but when the war came all real estate sales stopped, so he ended up running an army truck from a supplier store in Landsborough up to the farms where they used to put all the war prisoners to work.

In Christmas holidays I used to work for a week or two at one of the grocery stores, refilling bottles with candies and sugar. That place is gone now, there is a new building replacing it.

It was great for me growing up and living here, I was lucky that I found a job to make a life here.

I am married but separated, we have 9 children and most of them live around here. We had been always associated with the beach; we passed a lot of time on the beach when they were kids. I still go to the beach sometimes.

What’s the most important thing in life? You cannot enjoy life if you don’t have reasonable health, family is extremely important, be able to pay your bills because that keeps your nose clean and being involved in the community; the difficult thing is trying to balance that in life.

© Ana Paula Estrada

John Norman Thun

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 12 / 22 ]

I was born in Nundah, Brisbane the 6th of September in 1934. Dad was a delivery truck driver; my memory goes back to the war years when transport was a violent service. He spent a lot of time carrying things for the army. I liked going with him on Saturdays. My mom was a housewife, she didn’t have a job, well, she was a nurse before she was married but in those days the mothers didn’t work. Her name was Una Dulcie Jane and she was always ashamed of having three names. I have an older sister Lynnette and as a last thought my parents had another baby; David who is 12 years younger than me.

When I was a kid I loved to have “weet bix” in the mornings and I used to ask my mother for desert for breakfast. But I hated cauliflower and cabbage and still detest them! I liked to make things; I always got in trouble for grabbing my father’s tools. I used them but would never put them away, but I always made little trucks and things.

In 1942 it looked that the Japanese were going to bomb northern Australia, me and my sister were evacuated to a country place in Kingaroy. It was a big change but I loved it; I really loved the country life. This changed my life. We all moved to the country and my father taught me how to trap and skin kangaroos and wombats. I was only about eighteen when I had a very good industry going on skins; my mother said it was hilarious seeing me coming back from school with a wallaby or kangaroo strapped to the bike.

I saved up 1,000 pounds which was a lot of money and that is where I started; I had some financial assistance, I went to buy my own farm at Cloyna and started growing my peanuts.

I married Ruth the 9 of September of 1961 on a very windy day. We raised 4 kids and we lived together on that farm for 41 years. In 1967 I became a Meat-works director what I did for 30 years and I was a Shire Councilor as well. I have been really successful.

But I know I am an introvert, I never liked the pictures, I don’t go to the movies, I don’t even watch TV. I like waking up very early and being on a tractor all day up the bush, bulldozing all day; I love being down here in the garage building things by myself.

That’s me.

© Ana Paula Estrada

Ruth Anna Thun

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 14 / 22 ]

I was born in Murgon, Australia the 20th of July 1941. I grew up in Cloyna which was a little village; where there was a country school, a post office store, a butcher shop, a carrier, the garage, a railway and a Baptist Church. My father was the owner of the garage, he was a self taught mechanic and then he did engineering and employed 4 or 5 men.

My mother had a very busy life being the wife of the proprietor of the garage; she did a lot of volunteer work caring for stranded travellers. I used to ride a bike a lot, up the hill, after it rained we always went for a paddle I remember doing that, enjoying that. Mom used to have a cow for house milk, when my older brother David got a job it became my job to bring the cow in.

We didn’t have electricity then, we had 32 volt electric light because Dad had an engine running all the time. The house had an underground tank for storage and a higher smaller tank, so when we needed water for the toilet Mom, my brother and I used to pump the water up by hand, we did it for years, until one morning we said: “Right Dad, it is your job, your turn!” So he went and hooked up an engine to pump it up! “Why didn’t we ask Dad to do it years ago?”

I probably learnt the basics of cooking at rules school. Rules school was a pre-grade eight. Boys had different subjects they did wood work, tin work and drawing, while girls did domestic science.

John came to Cloyna and bought a farm, I heard plenty of comments about him and I thought “ I just want to see this fellow and see what he looks like” We got married the 9th of September of 1951, it was a windy day, I had a satin dress my aunt made, when we headed out there was confetti, boots and tins, rolls of toilet paper tied on to the back of the car and we drove down the road with “JUST MARRIED” plastered everywhere!

We had two girls and two boys; Sue, Robin, Bruce and Colin. Tragedy struck on Robin’s 38th birthday. We called her at 6:30 in the morning, wished her happy birthday; she said she was going shopping. John heard at 11 o clock that there had been a horrific accident; we had hoped she wasn’t involved but she was. That was a Monday and she was taken off life support on Saturday.

Nighttime is my favorite time of the day, after all the work is done and I can sit back and do a Sudoku.

© Ana Paula Estrada

George Fredrick Moll

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 16 / 22 ]

My name is George Fredrick Moll, I was born in Longreach, QLD Australia on the 3th of February, 1920. I grew up in the central west of Queensland. My grandparents on my mother side were English and on my father side were German. Both grandparents came to Australia on the sailing ships way back in the 1800's and somehow they settled in western Queensland.

My father worked on repairing the railway line but mainly in isolated areas and that is why I had a really poor education. In the depression years only the rich or those who were lucky enough to be born in bigger towns were able to go to high school. I mean, I can read a book, I can write a letter, I can do most things but I just never did qualifications on paper, which I found later in life was a very big handicap, very big.

My mother was a housewife, nearly all women were at home in those days and they looked after the family. I had three sisters and a brother. Toys were pretty limited in those days, I used to build things. I grew up quite quickly because I went to work when I was only 13 years of age.

I joined the army and went to fight the Second World War. They brought us back from the Middle East to rest, I only had one week at home and in that time I went to see my major who was put in hospital in Towoomba and the woman who became my wife, Chloris Weronga, was attending to him, she was a nurse in the army. I met her and then romance was born. I went back to fight but when I knew the war was coming to an end I wrote a letter to her father to ask his permission to marry his daughter. So I came back and we got married two days later. We had three children; Carole, Bruce and Linda.

I think anybody who puts his life on the line for 6 years for his country should be given the privilege a little bit here and there to speak, I know one of the reasons why I went to war is that we could think for ourselves and have some freedom of speech as well. Sadly that has been taken from us now, which worries me.

There is a world of difference between life now and how it used to be. My favourite moment of the day is when I meet my friends and particularly my children; they are really good to me.

© Ana Paula Estrada

May Haupt

[ 18 / 22 ]

I was born in Hunchy, QLD in 1927. My mother’s family was originally from New Zealand and Dad’s family was from Germany. We were 9 children in the family and grew up in a dairy farm in Hunchy.

We didn’t have time for sports, maybe we played cricket down on the playground, but we all had to do the floors, wash and polished them. There was always something to do. There wasn’t that thing of today’s children “that room is mine” we were three in a bed, and let me tell you, that kept us warm in the winter; we all looked after each other.

My mother was a good cook, of course she didn’t have time to make fancy things but we had good solid food, we used to walk 3 miles to school and 3 miles back and sometimes when we got home she had a bunch of hot scones with plenty of butter which she made by hand. Life was wonderful.

Three of my brothers and one sister went to the war. One of them was killed in the Middle East and I became a man to my Dad in the dairy farm where I learned to do all kind of things. When I was 17 I decided I didn’t want to milk cows anymore and I went to Nambour and found a job and a house. I got married when I was 20 and we had two daughters. Now I have 5 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

I worked several years in the Big Pineapple, I also opened a few shops in Brisbane, I was 64 at that time, thought it was time to come home. Now I come every Saturday to look after my granddaughter’s shop, I don’t work hard but I still like contributing in some way.

I lived my era, I am 84 I can tell life has changed. The family has changed darling, I am not saying that they don’t love their kids, but I don’t think the time is there for them. Now both parents think they have to work hard to get what they want, there was no such thing when I grew up. They have more things now and they don’t know what to do with them. The values have changed. These new technologies and communications have changed our world. To love one each other is the most important thing in life; show love and understanding. Stop and smell the roses, find the time to smell the roses.

© Ana Paula Estrada

Merv Hodgson

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 20 / 22 ]

My name is Mervyn Hodgson, I was born in 1946 in Maleny, QLD. I grew up in Caloundra which was a terrific town; everyone knew each other because the population was only about 650. My age group was born at the end of the world war, so all the dads were coming back home.

My father ran a boat hire for a few years; by the time I was 3 years I nearly drowned 4 times. Dad, my grandfather and uncle were always across checking the boats out for hire and I always followed them; we just walked across the sand dunes and we were in the passage, we were always in the water. And my mother was a housewife - I can’t say she was a good cook, but she cooked good meals for us, the one I enjoyed the most is what she used to cook on Christmas day.

I got washed out to sea across the Caloundra bar when I was 10, someone rescued us and when we went to say thank you, he said something that I have never forgotten “Sea fellows have to stick together, we have to look after each other” that stuck with me all my life.

I joined the navy and became a sailor. Then I moved to Sydney where I got married and had 4 kids. I drove a truck for 40 years, which is my profession. I almost killed myself in a truck accident; demolished all the right hand side of my head and left half my brain hanging on a tree. I was three months in a coma, I spent 12 months in hospital and it took me two years to get back to work. I went back to work but just to collect the paperwork. But one day after 6 weeks my boss John said, “All the drivers have got a virus and none of them can come to work, you are the only one here who can drive” we argued for three hours in the end he said “Pick up your bag and walk out or get in the truck and drive” All the other drivers weren’t sick, they were sitting in their cars around the corner. He got me back on the road!

All my age group had to leave town to find work but some of us came back here to die, which I don’t plan to do for another 30 years! The thing I enjoy doing the most is just helping other people, give me vision and give me movement. A lot of people helped me when I was down. Now I do it for others. I am a coastguard and I enjoy it. The most important thing in life is looking after your family and those who need help. That is what I reckon is the best part of life.

© Ana Paula Estrada

John E. Perrett

© Ana Paula Estrada [ 22 / 22 ]

I was born November the 11th, 1932 in Roma, Queensland. My first memory is of me with Dad and Uncle Charlie building a windmill, I was in charge of putting the matching nuts on the bolts. I was 3 ½ years old at that time.

Dad was English; he was a shearer, butcher and bush worker, he has no religion but he was a very good man. Mom was a Catholic housewife.

I am glad I grew up in the bush, there were no toys and we had only whatever our parents had. It was a different time; it was all about hard work, effort and LOVE. There was no telegraph office, we didn’t have electricity and if we had to go somewhere we went by horse. There was no radio until the end of the war, I remember my parents and friends listening to the radio to get the news, the war was at everybody’s lips in those days.

Dad became very ill with heart trouble; I was 18 when I took after the butcher shop. Dad died in 1952 and I still think of him every day. Unfortunately Mom married again to a bad man who only married her for money.

One morning I saw the most beautiful girl, Marcelline, I fell in love with her right on the spot and I said to her “you are for me”. I asked her to marry me about ten times at least, and she said “No John, No John” But in the end she said yes. We had three lovely girls together Leigh, Judy and Kim.

One day Marcelline’s skin went grey; she had a problem with her kidney. After a long wait she had a transplant operation and the next morning we walked in to see her and she was sitting there like a princess, she was hungry and happy. That was a miracle. Now we all are organs donors, I think that people don’t realize how much difference you can make. There is a wonderful world out there but we have to help each other.

I am all right now but I am not what I used to be. I used to play all sports, tennis, cricket and football. I have always lived a clean life if you put it that way, I have never been a drinker or smoker, I have never been out with bad women, I just had one woman in my mind and she and I were a really good team.

Memories are made of this you know? Are made today. I wrote a book called Growing up in the Bush in South East Queensland. Did I try? Did I succeed? Did I make my Dad proud?

My Home My History

Suzanne Goopy, David Lloyd and Angela Blakely

© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd

Anthropologist Suzanne Goopy teamed up with photographers Angela Blakely and David Lloyd to document the experiences of Italian migrants in Australia. This inter-disciplinary project combines different skills, professional practices and insights.

© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd© Suzanne Goopy, Angela Blakely & David Lloyd