Skelter Shelter 2021

01 Jan 2021 : Parks in Katoomba and Leura, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The faux-rock cement-rendered steel and mesh picnic shelters (or grottoes) of the Blue Mountains are found predominantly in Leura, Katoomba and Mount Victoria and are maintained by Blue Mountains City Council. They were constructed by Tom Adam with depression-era labour during the period 1932-1935. Adam previously built animal shelters at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. The shelters are remembered by generations of children who played in them. I thought of them as bizarrely “Flintstonesque”. The shelters hold and create a tension between the natural landscape, beauty and scenery of the World Heritage Blue Mountains, the notion of natural versus artificial shelter, and the history of dispossession and of pre-colonial and contemporary occupation and ownership of the land by the Idigenous Aboriginal communities and tribes who did and still do live here. This project is dedicated to the generations of picnickers who have and still do travel up from Sydney to enjoy the mountains air and scenery.

Acknowledgement: This work was made in the Blue Mountains within the Country of the Darug and Gundungurra peoples.

The artist Hayley West has undertaken research and projects in the grottoes of the Blue Mountains in work pre-dating this video.

Project Details
Dates 01 Jan 2021
Duration 11 minutes
Collaborators Concept : Alan Schacher Camera and editing : Samuel James
Producer Alan Schacher
Category video
Credits Performers: WeiZen Ho, Phillip Mar, Phillip Mills, Katia Molino, Alan Schacher ; Soundtrack excerpts from the composers Rik Rue and Boris Baberkoff; This project is supported by the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Quick Response Grants Program 2020