Islands of Innocence

Islands of Innocence was a media installation encompassing projection and audio in the old asylum ward replica at the North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerribah August 12, 2018. 

The islands of Cassim, Lord Howe, Morovo Lagoon in the Solomons and Minjerribah were land and sea scapes chartered over a period of three months in late 2018 by curator and researcher, Jo Kaspari. The media itself references a rich research ecology undertaken over 24 months evident in this Small Islands Blog.   

Islands of Innocence followed the 2017 Two Island Tribute installation which explored a development plan intending to build 3500 units over reclaimed land on Nandeebie’s (Cleveland) foreshore. In so doing the intertwined island ecologies of Cassim and Sandy would be dessemated.  The underwater geologies, ecological diversity and integrity of Cassim and Sandy Islands are such that they were included in Ramsar zoning of 113 314 hectares of Moreton Bay in 1974.  

In the face of the ever-present threat of development, the art work in Islands of Innocence some 12 months later explores global-wide threats to islands and related habitats which include mining, over population and indeed development. 

Notions of innocence, ancestry and aesthetics explored in this multi layered media installation are qualities which here stand in the face of these threats;  a poetic, an aesthetic disruptor to the bureaucratic monologue about an 'economic transition strategy' away from mining on Minjerriba and $444 million grants to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Since 1949 sand mining has been active on Minjerribah. Its impact on people and Country is spoken about in Oodgeroo Noonukul's poem Time is Running Out. The poem was published in the 1970 publiciation My people: a Kath Walker collection.  This poem along with audio recording of Uncle Bob Anderson that speaks about mining's end is included in this installation.

In 2011 the then state government made legislation to action Native Title in the region, extend national parks and put an end to mining on Minjerriba. After a change in government and subsequent High Court challenge mining the island is set to end in 2019.  

The High Court of Australia ruled in 2017 to overturn legislation to prolong sand mining, as the extension of mining leases on the  island brought into question the rights of Native Title holders across the Country.   

Similarly, to allow foreshore development of Toondah Harbour and Cassim Island on reclaimed land of the bay in an internationally recognised Ramsar site, contravenes precisely what Ramsar Convention was set up to achieve: the protection of these locations. 

Threats to island habitats are largely born of human centric practices. 

Mapping (and mining) the Bay has been a prolific undertaking by many and various individuals and entities in the last 70 years.   

Embodied in the maps depicted in this installation, are the imagined underwater geologies from the Last Glaciel period, charting of Moreton Bay by sea farers, political zoning by governments and bird habitats - to name but a few. Included is a map of Native Title over MInjerribah which has created it's own complex divisions in the community and a Jandal language map of Minjerriba. 

The north wall projection references mapping, mining and development in the Bay. Development is depicted in the 3D rendering of the intended Toondah Harbour development.  

Mining Downunder Sibelco QLD was a film generated by Visage Productions in 2012 at the time of controversial over turning of mine closure.   'Mining has stolen the foot prints of my ancestors' is a theme often articulated in audio recordings with Uncle Bob over the past 24 months. In this installation he speaks of the significance of song and dance. And of walking Country to Aboriginal people and walking once again on the lands (currently still under mining lease) denied them. 

The pristine waters of Morovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands were depicted on the south wall; it's corals untouched by ocean bleaching and marine inhabitants diverse and prolific as seen in footage by travel companion Dave Hannan of Ocean Ark Alliance, deep water cinematographer and sometimes island resident. Over laying this is original music composed by 16 year-old Leon D.N. - it’s mood one of wonder and journeying. 

Lord Howe island is one of a few breeding sites for the sotty tern on the east coast of Australia. Their isolation and sheer volume leave their time immemorial routine unperturbed by human contact, . Children visiting this site in breeding season are pictured here harnessing something of the innocence and reverence essential if we are to preserve earth's natural habitats.  

The media installation explored the idea of innocence and innocence lost be that through; mining, development or human’s prolific presence in the terrain. 

The projections themselves are not limited to a single small screen. Instead they overlay the human centric and pinned histories of the island on the white walls of the old asylum building’s interior. North and south wall projections contrasting very different depictions and also decimations of ‘innocence’. 

Ecologies of Art

“Formed in 2017, the collective features five leading artists - Jan Baker Finch (movement), Renata Buziak (photo media), Erik Griswold (composer), Vicki Kelleher (poet) and Vanessa Tomlinson (musician). They have previouly presented work as part of Easter@Harrigans Lane (Granite Belt), Contexts Ephermeal Art Festival (Poland) and theLines in the Sand Festival (Minjerriba). Through these projects, Bloom Collective explore the potential of art to pay attention to place, expanding our ability to listen, see and engage”.

Quote taken from The Wrong Kind of Beauty exhibition statement dated September 5, 2018.

Another alegiance forged during Lines in The Sand Festival of 2014, was that between Renata Buziak (photomedia artist) and Carol Swarzman (writer) who conceived and curated Art in Soil in 2017.

“Let’s Get Dirty is an Art in Soil initiative by the Queensland Branch of Soil Science Australia informed by the arts industry. Both art and science are carried out as cultural acts valuing their environments and creativity, harnessing sense, and seeking to provide change via abstract models of our world. Let’s Get Dirty will follow numerous Artists' journeys over a six month period creating a piece of art inspired by soil”.

Retrieved from

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Jandai Language Map of Minjerriba

Quandamooka Language Map

Scientific evidence indicates that Quandamooka country has at least 20,000 years of Aboriginal history and less than 200 years of non-Aboriginal history. Yet, colonisation replaced most of the names that Aboriginal people used for places.

As a first step in reclaiming local place names, the Museum researched and produced a beautiful map showing the Jandai language words for various locations around the Island. The map is prominently displayed in the entrance of the Museum.  

The map is the product of many months of research and consultation with Quandamooka families.  It is also due to staff and volunteers from the Island and Museum having the opportunity of attending the State Library of Queensland’s Indigenous Language Research Workshops and the access to resources provided by Desmond Crump, the SLQ’s Indigenous Languages Coordinator.  A bequest from the family of Aunty Colleen Costello has enabled the production of the map. 

You can download a copy of the map here. Please feel free to print the map and share (for non-commercial purposes only.)

Retrieved from August 26, 2018

Wetland Wanderer

Wetland Wandere aims to inspire engagement with the environmental, cultural and aesthetic values of wetlands.

Drone footage and audio taken from "lacustrine wetlands or lakes, palustrine wetlands or swamps, and estuarine wetlands or mangroves and marsh", in Queensland make for an extraordinary aesthetic experience. 

Quandamooka Man Joshua Walker audio recording is remarkable

Virtual Oceans

Long discussion has happened on Minjerribah about a learning centre, part of the Economic Transition Strategy away from mining set to end in 2019. Talk in the community is that QYAC Native Title Corporation is likely to build a Whale Learning Centre up at Point Lookout on the old tennis courts. Other than the skeletal remains of a hump back whale, the centre is likely to host information about oceans. 

Ocean Ark Alliance is an island based entity concerned with deep water cinematography and capturing the world endangered ocean life.

August 12, 2018 Ocean Ark Alliance and Jo Kaspari shared insights into what is going on with the digital depiction of underwater realms in public places across the globe.

Plankton Productions Pty Ltd is an Australian based specialist media production & services company creating & contributing to a wide range of screen projects from Feature Films, TV Documentary, Education to Marine Video Art and Displays.

Of virtual oceans Plankton Productions states 

"Ocean covers more than 70% of our planet.

Australias coastline stretches 35,000 km, one the longest of any country in the world, and to the north lie many 1000's of islands and reefs in the area known as The Coral Triangle ... No other area on earth hosts as many marine environments and associated species ranging from tropical to temperate as our region ...Nature and life itself happen in 'real time' in a natural ebb and flow and literally endless variety in moods and countless magical moments, brought to the screen it becomes a Virtual Ocean".

Innovations in digital depictions of ocean habitats are happening with entities such The Cube -   $3.5 million dollar installation at Garden's Point, QUT and or iDome at the Edith Cowan University

On the east coast of Australian aquariums exist at a number of locations namely; (Sunshine Coast) (Great Barrier Reef aquarium, Townsville)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk  made announcements of a World-class $100 million aquarium for South Bank. In 2018 she revoked this decision at about the same time as Treasurer Jackie Trade handed over $11 000 000 to QYAC, on world environment day. Jackie Trad said the funding was on top of $20 million allocated to the North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Strategy in 2016.

Reef virtual realities are indeed a way for people to experience reefs without destroying them. But innovative technologies become quickly antiquated.

Large scale and immersive projections of reef can be a more economical way to share reefs beauty as with Yadegar Asis's 2015 exhibit at the Asisi Panometer ini Germany with a 1:1 scale installation of the Great Barrier Reef projected on cloth strips. 

Perhaps the most innovative depiction of natural phenomena indoors happens in the hands of artists as with the exhibition entitled ‘Rain Room’ which was created by Hannes Koch, Florian Ortkrass and Stuart Wood, three contemporary artists and graduates from the Royal College of Art in London, or Swedish DJ and Artist Eric Prydz Holographic live works in concert in June 2018.

If minimising capital outlays and maximising likes and shares in situ on digital platforms count for anything, holographic innovation is the way to go.

Asylum Ward Replica, North Stradbroke Island Museum on Minjerriba

The North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum was officially opened on 22 October 1988 by the Sixth Earl of Stradbroke and Countess Rosie at Point Lookout Hall. It is now housed in a combination of original and replica Benevolent Asylum buildings.The main Museum building: the front section was built by mineral sand mining company CRL using materials from a dismantled Benevolent Asylum ward and housed two flats for the company's employees. When the mining company no longer needed the building, the Museum committee, then in a cramped annex to the Point Lookout Public Hall, proposed it be moved to Point Lookout. When relocation proved impossible, the Museum moved itself from Point Lookout to the building instead. The back section, designed by architect Chris Hills, was built in 2005-06.The replica foul ward, housing photos and artefacts from the Benevolent Asylum, was built with the help of a Centenary of Federation Grant in 1998-99.

Retrieved from August 10, 2018

Community Protest

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Retrieved from July 25, 2018

Mining Minjerriba to end 2019

There are three mines on North Stradbroke Island, all owned by Sibelco Australia Limited (formerly called Unimin Australia Limited), a Belgian owned multi-national company:-

1. Enterprise, also known as ’Devastation South’ which would run out of minerals by 2027 (at the latest) anyway, even if allowed to continue longer (see official information under ‘library/resources’ tab).

2. Yarraman (Devastation North) which runs out of minerals in 2013.
Mining at the Enterprise and Yarraman mines is for mineral sands: zircon, rutile and ilmenite. The main mining method is dredge mining, with some dry mining. These two mines employ about 100 people, only half of whom live on the island.

3. The third mine, Vance, a silica sand mine (Devastation West) employs only 13 people.


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Link to a film produced by Sibelco on their own mining work on the island of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island)...

Sky Reading


Weatherwise is the sea wo/man’s ability to read the sky and refers to lore of clouds and sky colour bequeathed by past generations of seaman and country folk and it is an art to read them



Red Sky at Night, sailor’s delight;

Red sky in the morning, Sailor’s warning.





Shine after dark on clear nights are the highest clouds found at around 50miles above earth and consist of ice-coated particles from outer space.

Cirrus (High level) clouds are the most common type of cloud then and whips meaning ground-level wind will soon strengthen.


‘mackerel sky’ clouds consist entirely of ice crystals and appear as white patches or spherical masses arranged in regular patterns like ripples of sand in the sky.  But with air movement the clouds can look to be like markings on a mackerel.




These clouds are associated with cold fronts often forming at night when temperatures are low. Appearing as rolls arranged in lines or waves.




Fleecy and seperate from each other it allows the sun to shine directly on the clouds, so they appear very white with clearly defined edges.


Most common near mountains and coasts and if at ground level it appears as fog which clears by way of evaporation of its lowest layer, and remaining fog becomes stratus cloud. Often forming overnight in fine weather especially over water.



These deep and large clouds have a menacing appearance produce thunder storms, hailstorms and tornados and torrential snow or rain. Illuminated from within by Lightning sparking.



Rolls or rounded masses of darker clouds giving a textured appearance. Converging rays of light  are created at dawn and suck with sunlight shining through any gaps illuminating dust particles.




Moon Glade

Mulmakul; Death Adder

Auntie Margaret Iselin told me that Adder Rock's traditional name is Mulmakul meaning death adder and that Adder Rock was place of the death adder.

She also said to me that the old people knew it as a "place of healing" as they would lay upon the hot rocks. Mulmakul captures winter's gabura biyigi and and the last hours of summers setting biyigi. No matter what season 'jara' captures 'budlubara' here,  Mulmakul; yanggabara.

Words and spelling taken from Jandai Language Dictionary self published by the Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders-in-Council in 2011.


Green Man

 screen grab Google image search "green man'

screen grab Google image search "green man'

"The label “Green Man”... dates back only to 1939, when it was used by Lady Raglan (wife of the scholar and soldier Major Fitzroy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan) in her article “The Green Man in Church Architecture”, published in the “Folklore” journal of March 1939.


The most common... interpretation of the Green Man is that of a pagan nature spirit, a symbol of man’s reliance on and union with nature, a symbol of the underlying life-force, and of the renewed cycle of growth each spring. In this respect, it seems likely that he has evolved from older nature deities such as the Celtic Cernunnos and the Greek Pan and Dionysus.


Several other ancient cultures also had green deities, often with some features in common with the Green Man. These include: Humbaba, the ancient Sumerian guardian of the cedar forest, as well as Enkidu, the wild man of the forest in Sumerian mythology, both of which date back to at least 3000 BCE; the Egyptian corn-god Osiris, who is often depicted with a green face representing vegetation and rebirth; Attis, a Phrygian god of vegetation and Nature; the Tibetan Buddhist deity Amoghasiddhi; the Hindu demon Kirtimukha; Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, fertility and water; and several others. Some of the features incorporated into ancient representations of these gods reappear centuries later in the Green Man. For example, the “Face of Glory” of the Hindu Kirtimukha is usually shown with a mouth issuing leaves, notably missing a lower jaw, and there are several similar representations of a jawless Green Man in Europe.


Many modern Neo-Paganists and Wiccans, partly as a result of the influential work of Margaret Murray, see the Green Man as a variant of the pagan Horned God, which is in turn a syncretism of several older nature and fertility deities, including the Greek gods Pan and Dionysus, the Roman Silvanus, the Celtic Cernunnos, the Hindu Pashupati, etc (both Dionysus and Cernunnos were sometimes portrayed with hair composed of stylized leaves and vegetation).


The very fact that images of the Green Man have appeared historically in such disparate and apparently unconnected locations have led some commentators, notably Roweena Pattee Kryder and William Anderson, to suggest that the figure is part of our collective unconscious, and represents a primeval archetype (in Jungian parlance) which is central to our relationship with Nature.


In the same way, the modern resurgence may have been triggered by the environmental crisis we are currently living through. In its modern revival, in the wake of James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis and the birth of the modern Green movement, the Green Man can be seen as the archetype of the “conservator”, whose brief is to counsel us to take from the environment only what we need to survive and to conserve the rest, and to remind us of our responsibilities for the stewardship of the natural world. A quote from Mike Harding succinctly summarizes this position: “If anything on this poisoned planet gives us hope of renewal it is this simple foliate head that has been there in one form or another since the beginning".

CONCEPT: Islands of Innocence

TITLE: Islands of Innocence - A multi media exhibition
TIME: One night only June 6pm - 9pm, 2018


The projected imagery and audio included in this exhibition elucidate emotive regard for islands such as innocence and reverence; qualities essential if we are to preserve the environmental integrity of islands, the ecologies they support and their surrounding habitats.

Still and moving imagery from the Quandamooka, Lord Howe and Solomon Islands will be projected onto suspended screens in the North Stradbroke Island Museum Foul Ward over static displays of human centric histories contrasted with fluid imagery and audio of innocence and dis/respect.

Iconic Shore Line Imagery from the Seventh Seal

"Disillusioned knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) and his nihilistic squire Jöns (Gunnar Björnstrand) return after fighting in the Crusades and find Sweden being ravaged by the plague. On the beach immediately after their arrival, the knight encounters Death (Bengt Ekerot), personified as a pale, black-cowled figure resembling a monk. The knight, in the middle of a chess game he has been playing alone, challenges Death to a chess match, believing that he can forestall his demise as long as the game continues. Death agrees, and they start a new game...

All scenes except two were shot in or around the Filmstaden studios in Solna. The exceptions were the famous opening scene with Death and the Knight playing chess by the sea and the ending with the dance of death, which were both shot at Hovs Hallar, a rocky, precipitous beach area in north-western Scania....

As it was written in a program note that accompanied the movie's premier "It is a modern poem presented with medieval material that has been very freely handled...The script in particular—embodies a mid-twentieth century existentialist angst…”


Melvyn Bragg interviews Ingmar Bergman (1978)

On the seventh seal...

Melvyn Bragg

"The film starts with the knight on the shore playing chess and then death turns up rather like a monk, why is…"

Igmar Bergman

“Or a clown if you want it…"

Melvyn Bragg

"You decided to make him a man…rather than a presence?"

Igmar Bergman

"Yes Because that is the fascination and the majic of the stage or the cinema or the picture. I think it’s marvellous".


Colour of Sound

BBC radio documentary programme on the relationship between sound and colour explores Isaac Newton’s “optickal” theories...

"Music in the 17th and 18th centuries and long before wasn’t just the sound we heard, it was a bigger binding idea of a universal system of proportions, and ratios that connected the cosmos together".

Kadinsky later in the 20th century wrote

"Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul".

Pictured is Composition V11, 1913 by Wassily Kandinsky. 






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Darwin and Plutichik's EMOTIONS

Plutchik proposed that 'basic' emotions of anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. are biologically primitive and have evolved in order to increase the reproductive fitness of the animal. Plutchik argues each of these emotions are a trigger to behaviour with high survival value, such as the way fear inspires the fight-or-flight response.

Plutchik's psychoevolutionary theory of basic emotions has ten postulates.

- The concept of emotion is applicable to all evolutionary levels and applies to all animals including humans.

- Emotions have an evolutionary history and have evolved various forms of expression in different species.

- Emotions served an adaptive role in helping organisms deal with key survival issues posed by the environment.

- Despite different forms of expression of emotions in different species, there are certain common elements, or prototype patterns, that can be identified.

- There is a small number of basic, primary, or prototype emotions.

- All other emotions are mixed or derivative states; that is, they occur as combinations, mixtures, or compounds of the primary emotions.

- Primary emotions are hypothetical constructs or idealized states whose properties and characteristics can only be inferred from various kinds of evidence.

- Primary emotions can be conceptualized in terms of pairs of polar opposites.

- All emotions vary in their degree of similarity to one another.

- Each emotion can exist in varying degrees of intensity or levels of arousal.

"Basic Emotions--Plutchik". Retrieved 1 September 2017.

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Darwins The expressions of the emotions in man and animals was a landmark work which is still used as a source.[2] The following list is taken from the chapter-headings in the book.

  • Suffering and weeping
  • Low spirits, anxiety, grief, dejection, despair
  • Joy, high spirits, love, tender feelings, devotion
  • Reflection, meditation, ill-temper, sulkiness, determination
  • Hatred and anger
  • Disdain, contempt, disgust, guilt, pride, helplessness, patience, affirmation and negation
  • Surprise, astonishment, fear, horror
  • Self-attention, shame, shyness, modesty, blushing.

The book is famous as being the first scientific book which used photographs as a major part of the evidence. Emotions, he decided, were behavioural traits which evolved. Darwin pointed out how the human face is adapted to show many of these emotions: it has muscles for facial movements which are not possible in other mammals. On the other hand, other mammals do have ways of showing many of these emotions.

Retrieved from March 18, 2018

Colour of Emotion

Wisdom, communication, love, wisdom and logic, sexuality and identity, anger.

Call to Action March 7


TAG - Call to ACTION

To all Members (and friends) of the Toondah Action Group (TAG)

This Wednesday morning our Council will consider the community petition to stop the Toondah PDA. That is the time to rally (from 9am) and exercise our democratic rights to inform Council what we think about their stance on Toondah.

This action was foreshadowed last week and we asked TAG members to "pencil in the date, place and time so we can show Councillors the level of community anxiety and opposition to the Toondah scheme.

The council is considering what can only be described as a feeble report on the petition.  The Report has been complied by the Redlands Investment Corporation and does no justice to the matters at hand or for the Councillors supposedly considering a community petition, a petition signed by over 1400 people.

The stop Toondah rally will be on Wednesday....7th March 2018.
When: 9- 9:30 am (in advance of the actual meeting)
Where: In front of the Redland City Council Chambers, in Bloomfield Street Cleveland
What to bring: a pair of Gum boots or walking boots (or even old shoes) to wave  and show we want to give Walker's the BOOT (a good photo shoot).

Who should attend:  Any one concerned about the 3600 apartments planned for Toondah Harbour, the delayed upgrade of the port facilities, the impacts on the Ramsar area and other environmental values, the traffic and congestion in Cleveland and impacts on the existing CBD and so much more. 

Further the deceitful consultation and the poor planning that underpins the current development scheme should be dealt with now to re-start the planning process in a modern and transparent way.
The Toondah Development has been poorly planned since its inception but the Report to Council clearly shows the secrecy and commercial commercial-in-confidence arrangements have been used to keep the community in the dark on so many aspects of the scheme.

Color, noise and movement is the order of the day from 9am until 9:30am.  Those wanting to witness the performance of Councillors should then proceed to the Council Chambers.  Other members of TAG may adjourn to Bloomfield Park for a debrief, conversation and a coffee.

Help stop the rort, and fix the port! 

Come along Wednesday for 30 minutes or so! Make a stand our Councillors can't ignore. 

Steve MacDonald
President Redlands2030