"For those who showed us what we should treasure" Top 5 Page for this destination Australia Things to Do Tip by iandsmith

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Peter Dombrovskis

In the beginning, there was Olegas Truchanas. Here was a European immigrant who not only appreciated the value of the Australian wilderness, he recorded it with his superb photographs. When they dammed a lake in the south west of Tasmania called Lake Pedder there was outrage from a few and Olegas was at the forefront, supported by his photography. Olegas' great library of photos was sadly destroyed by another Australian reality, bushfires. He set about rebuilding and had amassed yet another collection of wonderful scenes when he tragically drowned in one of Australia's most famous rivers, the Franklin, when his canoe got jammed beneath a log.
The Franklin became famous because, further downstream from where Olegas drowned, they were going to build another dam. This time there was a ground swell of anti-dam sentiment and the bulldozers were literally stopped in their tracks and Australia's outlook and perception of the value of south-western Tasmania had irrevocably changed.
One of the things that helped change it was a classic photo of the Franklin at a place called Island Bend by Peter Dombrovskis, a photographer inspired in part by Olegas Truchanas and also an immigrant, this time from Germany though of Latvian parents. Peter had picked up the baton where Olegas had left off and the world could see from the comfort of their armchairs that we had something that didn't require intervention from outside. The wilderness was stunning on its own.
On the 28th March, 1996, Peter suffered a massive heart attack while on the trail backpacking his cameras in the Western Arthur Range and died on the spot. He was just 51 years old. This is one of my favourite shots of his, of the Walls of Jerusalem. Lest we never forget what he and Olegas tried to save.
A footnote to all the above is that Wayne Papps, a New Zealand born photographer famous for his Antarctic work, died after falling from a cliff while photographing Tasmania's Bruny Island in June, 2003.

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  • Written Jul 19, 2004
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