Russell Falls

 Gouache, 8.27 × 11.69 inches

'Horse Shoe Falls' & 'Russell Falls' 

'Russell Falls is the most photographed waterfall in Tasmania, and will give you a real taste of Tasmania's magnificent wilderness,' - or so says the booklet I have in my right hand. I have just walked down a short, slippery path cut from a flashy visitor's centre to the 'natural wonder'. A man made lookout is just below the falls, constantly bombarded with droplets of water. One man, distinguishable from the tourists only by a small 'National Parks' badge, informs me the flow is heavier than normal because the snow is melting. It doesn't look very heavy to me - although by now I am drenched.

'Yeah,' he says, 'it's pretty wet.' 

I hear one woman say it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. I've certainly seen worse.

It's the atmosphere that makes a place. Here, the serene view is perfectly juxtaposed by waist high wooden beams. There are more underfoot, but these are naturally camouflaged by mud. Shelves of rock lead my eyes to a metal structure with a sturdy frame. The robust form has a geometric pattern that I've never seen growing from the ground before - nor have I seen such a bright orange flower that appears to say 'KEEP OUT. MAINTENANCE.' Despite these wonders, the thing that really moves me is the harmonious chorus from a chainsaw motor. It fills the air and resonates deeply within all who hear it.

Isn't nature wonderful.

Hayley Steel