Angus Craig, Christine Johnson
Soundscape and Landscape The Troopships of Anzac, a poem by Mallee botanist Eileen Ramsay, née Couve
Visual artist: Christine Johnson
Sound artist: Angus Craig
The soundscape and reading of the poem are a contemplation of a possible aspect of the emotional life of Mallee botanist Eileen Ramsay; of the profound grief and loss she is said to have experienced when her two brothers, Alan and Tom were both killed at Gallipoli in 1915. In the poem she imagines soldiers on the voyage from Albany, Western Australia, bound for Anzac Cove. Every Anzac Day, Eileen Ramsay was known to retreat to the bush, to seek solitude and to remember her brothers. She wrote The Troopships of Anzac while living in Red Cliffs, where her family moved after World War I.
The soundscape takes us with Eileen as she goes out in her old car with her two dogs before dawn on Anzac Day. She walks into the bush along the banks of the Murray, stopping to sit and wait for the sunrise. We hear sounds of the bush at night which slowly shift to early morning birdsong. We hear Eileen’s voice as she recites the poem to herself.
Two landscape paintings hang opposite one another. At first, the images appear to closely resemble each other; in fact, they are depictions of locations on opposite sides of the world.