Salamanca Dreaming

Salamanca Place, Hobart, Tasmania

If you find yourself wandering around the Hobart dockyards — and you really should if you visit Tassie — then you are sure to see the elegant Georgian Salamanca warehouses, built solidly in sandstone along the central wharf in the 1830s. They were once used to store the bountiful farm produce of the island: fruit, grain and wool, as well as whale oil and imported goods. These days the warehouses are home to a range of boutique shops, art galleries and cafes.
I was visiting the Saturday Salamanca Market with my partner and her daughter during a visit to Tassie in autumn 2017. The famed weekly market is held alongside the old warehouses and has an amazing array of stalls with wonderful food, crafts and art — not to be missed on any visit to Tasmania. We had reached the southerly end of the ranks of stalls and in a spare moment, while I stood quietly contemplating the simple symmetrical design and the chiselled golden walls of the warehouses, I was struck by the luminous reflections of trees and sky in the old windows.
Now a photograph is always a framed view of the subject, showing only what fell in the photographer’s viewfinder and for ever excluding the surrounding world. Windows do the same in life, only revealing a limited view of the world outside. But in this case the reflections gave me, in a way, both the outside of the building and the view from inside in one view. I was also struck by the thought that the warehouses had a life and a solid presence of their own, far more durable than the Convict builders who painstakingly chiselled the heavy sandstone blocks nearly 200 years ago. And then much longer again than all us busily milling around in the market that day. And I felt all those neat symmetrically placed windows were its eyes looking out at the slowly changing view.
For further information about the warehouses and the Saturday market see here …

words & image © Keith Mallett 2018