The Harvest Highway
A long, hilly section of the South West Highway also know as The Harvest Highway due to it route through Western Australia'a bread basket.
Agriculture has an extensive history in South Western Australia. For those unfamiliar with its geography, the South West corner of the state is its bread basket. Dairy products of all kinds, wheat for bread, canola for cooking oil, grapes for wine, are all grown, and produced locally as well as exported to the eastern states, and abroad. But, like so much of the world agriculture industry, it has not been without strife. Indeed, it continues to struggle immensely with some of its most fundamental root products, so to speak, while newer, artisan and niche products seem to excel in a younger, wealthier demographic that that has arisen as of late.
Dairy cows hide in the shade on this West Australian farm that advertises Brown's at the gate- a well known milk producer in local grocery stores.
While over the course of two separate road trips in early winter and early summer of 2014, I took the opportunity to photograph the South West of WA, a no brainier seeing as it is such a photogenic place in the world, but perhaps even more so for me having grown up in the heart of farming country in Ontario, Canada, not even one hundred kilometres north of the country’s financial capital Toronto. Toronto is Canada’s largest city with a population of over 5 million people. It makes up part of a chain of densely populated towns and smaller city’s that including Oshawa, Pickering and Ajax to the east and Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton to the west, as well as Niagara to the south- all hugging the shoreline of Lake Ontario- creating what’s known as the Golden Horseshoe with a population of around 9 million people. That is a lot of people to feed. In comparison, the surrounding farmland, an area approximately half the size of Victoria, directly or indirectly went toward feeding the equivalent of a third of Australia’s entire population. Farming was part of who I was. That may have been a good reason why I was so excited to visit WA’s south west. It’s rolling hills and valleys are lined with precarious, sholderless highways. While I white knuckled my way around bends that were more suited to a classic Porsche than my boxy Toyota work van, I had moments of nostalgia for rural life. Green fields in winter- the sound of Cicadas in summer, and cows, scattered around like giant brown, black, and white sprinkles on a colonial sized bowl of ice cream.
A rusty water tower in a dry West Australian field.
Check in soon for more on the Harvest Highway.