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Sun kissed - our doorway complete

Posted by Nicole Mickle

As I look out onto the still marine of Geographe Bay, the connection with this environment feels immense. Our South West Coast is a beautiful place. And to have spent the last two weeks working outside under just one of its bird-filled canopies has been enormous.

The doorway complete and accessible to visitors near the Layman Road picnic site, artist Nicole Mickle in collaboration with the local community (Photo Craig Walsh)The doorway complete and accessible to visitors near the Layman Road picnic site, artist Nicole Mickle in collaboration with the local community (Photo Craig Walsh)

The first magpie warble of early morning makes for restless as our days get longer. With this I rise & take the short drive to our Layman Road site and get to work. Yes, this is a creative project, but for now it is work. The collection of sticks and small branches to be sorted makes for sweaty preparation as the morning light bites hard. We have chosen our first week of 30+ degree heat, which always gives the body a little shake up. I have been gob-smacked at the vast amount of small timbers needed to complete this work. Peppermint, Eucalypt and Tuart branches are the predominant wood. The secautaurs battling to get through even a thumb size piece of Tuart, one of our hardest of native timbers, we soon have to upgrade to hand saws and mini chainsaw. Must say our quality control became quite sophisticated in the stick department!

As we wired our timber runner sections and problem solved methods of supporting the shape of the outside walls, the Doorway evolved. Funny, it mwas the problem solving that bought us all closer together! Up the scaffolding one day with Samara and Christine, trying to work out how the fishing line drops would sit as we battled tangles in the wind was a sight! Felt like a little kid on a big jetty. No fish to be found, only stories and laughter. Sorry girls, but three days later when the work was nearly complete, I chopped all the line down and removed the suspended cabling. The idea of the sticks hanging was to give an idea of a change in space. We had collected many small branches with a bend like a bird in flight. They were to hang like a thick flock around the top of the Doorway and thin out as they gained height. Unfortunately, the man-made line cheapened the rest of the structure and after many a frantic phone call for advice from the girls and with great satisfaction, I chopped them all down. Aahhh! All that work and with a snip they fell.

Many heads, hearts and hands have welcomed this project into their lives. Thanks to all that have informed It. That have shared their insights and stories. To the hands-on makers and creators, a big big THANKYOU! Thanks for sharing your time and your beautiful children. Our biggest day we had eight women, five kids (ages one to three), six Year Seven students from Yallingup Steiner School and a flying visit from Angie dropping off afternoon tea!  We accomplished a great deal that day ... not to mention a reminder that some kids are happiest when they are covered in dirt and running amok in nature (as we were, too)! The kids were so busy, the mums actually got a heap done ... even had time for a picnic under the trees. This was my early vision for this project – a reminder that nature is always calling us away from our busy lives. We just need to stop, listen and make time.

The happenstance of moments shared on this site here on the Ludlow Forest fringe has made this project special. We did see our Rainbow Bee-Eaters towards the end of our last day of install and I can't remember ever seeing a pollinating pussy willow! We learned that lichen spores take 100 years to populate an area and that there are legends of Portuguese ships grounded deep inland.

We had many visits from locals who began to take interest in the project as they drove by and watched its progress. In awe that something so interesting and with such a presence was being slowly built within their community! This project has been drenched with connections. Connections between new friends and old. Connection with new skills and experiences. Connections with the history of this locality. Most importantly, connections between people and place.

This Ludlow Doorway has just begun its life here. It may be short. But in the meantime, it will continue to bring people together – to get people talking and enhance what is already a very special place.


Comments (2)

Barbara Taylor

Yes I saw the same photo and helped with the project along with my student class. I am in the picture and have been trying to get a copy of it. I am also a FIFO wife!


I saw an article about Five in an InFlight magazine, showing a picture of the Doorway in Busselton. My partner and I recently moved back to the area and are having our engagement and wedding photos at this site. It really struck a chord with me as we are both FIFO at the moment and very soon I will become a FIFO wife, seeing the other side of the life. X.

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