Some people call it Lake Ballard, correctly because that’s where it is. Some people call it the Gormley statues, equally correctly because that’s what it is. It is one of my favourite places in the world, and is ‘quite remote’.
A group of 51 statues created by English sculpture (Sir) Antony Gormley in 2003. The group is spread over a 10 sq. km salt lake. Each statue is a replica of one of the residents of Menzies but 2/3 in size and with no clothes or skin. As in – they are made from metal so only the main measurements are replicated. Pardon me while I get a bit guide book here because I’ll need to get the story straight.
From antonygormley.com – “The 51 works are positioned about 750 metres apart; wherever you are positioned within the field of the work there are tiny, hair-like verticals hanging from the horizon. Viewed in the heat and sharp light, they constantly draw you to the edge of your perceptual field”.
I think the question here is ‘why is it unique’? Well Antony Gormley also created a few other famous installations, probably the best known is the Angel of the North outside of Newcastle in the UK. He was initially commissioned to build a temporary installation for the 50th Anniversary of the Perth International Arts Festival, but the project turned into a permanent piece. And its made from steel, with a titanium base and ITS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.
Lake Ballard is approx. 45 km from Menzies. The closest town to Menzies is Leonora to the north (100km), and Kalgoorlie to the south (150 km). It’s a pretty good road between Kalgoorlie and Leonora and then a reasonably good gravel road from the turn off at Menzies into Lake Ballard. I’ll have to add a disclaimer here that I’ve driven between Leonora and Kalgoorlie a few times in the past few years, but havn’t been into Lake Ballard for more than five years. I don’t think it will have changed that much. Oh, and Kalgoorlie is 600km east of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, and Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world – but relatively easy to fly to.
How Some people fly into Kalgoorlie and then jump on a bus tour to Lake Ballard. Or hire a car in Kalgoorlie and drive out. I did a four day trip out from Perth one year, for Easter. My brother lives half way so I stayed with him on the first night.
Yeah – not cheap if you don’t have your own car. Could catch a train (the Prospector) to Kalgoorlie and then hire a car there, but you’d need to take camping gear if you want to get the best shots (see ‘when’). But SO worth it.
For photographic purposes it is best to be there at sunrise and sunset because of the shadows, but the trick is there is no accommodation within about two hours drive so it means camping onsite with pretty basic facilities. I don’t mind, some (my sister, my nephew) do. Probs better to be there not in summer, because it would be hottish. And if it is likely to be hot i.e. the six summer months, you’ll need a hat, sunscreen and heaps of water. If you choose to drive at dusk or during the night then beware of kangaroos and emus jumping in front of the car, they can cause major damage to the car and to themselves. During the day – beware of wedge tailed eagles eating the dead kangaroos and emus because they are fat from eating and take off slowly. Don’t worry about wild goats – they are clever. Mmm. Snakes – I didn’t see any. If you have any concerns just make a lot of noise.
Links & references:
Lake Ballard – Australiasgoldenoutback
Sculptor – Antony Gormley.com
More information about Antony Gormley’s other works – www.artsy.net