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Archive for April, 2013

Reg Watson – Historian, Writer & Journalist

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Reg Watson

Local identity, Reg A. Watson, has authored a number of publications about Tasmanian history, including the Watson family history and an essay on our shared forebear Richard Morgan.

Reg is a fifth generation Tasmanian and a sixth generation Australian with decades of research experience. And, as his name reveals, he is above all proud to carry the family name of Watson.

Morgan’s Barn Mead would like to acknowledge Reg for the invaluable information he provides around the Richard Morgan and Watson histories. Reg’s publications include:

  • Churches of Van Dieman’s Land (a history)
  • Tasmanian Women of Achievement (co-authored with Kate Carlisle)
  • Tasmanian Crime Stories
  • They Served with Distinction: A Compendium of Tasmanian Military History
  • Lt John Bowen and the Founding of Tasmania
  • Tasmania! A Saga of a Pioneering Family
  • Watson’s Tasmania
  • The Life and Times of Thomas Francis Meagher – Irish Exile to Van Dieman’s Land
  • Heroes All
  • All Tasmanian Personnel who died during World War One
  • All Tasmanian Personnel who died during World War Two
  • The Scandalous Adventures of Captain Frederick Wentworth Watson
  • The Watson Family History
  • The Tasmanian War
  • Pioneers of Tasmania
  • Lieutenant Walter Oliphant Arnot
  • A Tasmanian Participation in a Forgotten War
  • Canadian/American Exiles to Van Dieman’s Land
  • Distinguished Tasmanian Historical Parliamentarians

Reg has also published extensively through his career in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as broadcast and photojournalism. His interests and accolades are too numerous to mention. He also speaks publicly about facets of Tasmanian history and is a staunch monarchist.

So, from Morgan’s Barn Mead, we salute our family historian Reg A. Watson. If you would like to read his essay The Historic Rosny Barn & Richard Morgan and Family at the cost of $10 (posted within Australia) email

Intimacy of Space with Small Pictures

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

There is a certain WOW factor with large photographs on a gallery or museum wall. But the older I get the more I’m drawn to the way small pictures (8″ x 10″ prints and often half that size) draw me into that intimate space where the experience of the photograph seems to be heightened.

Yes, a landscape can make your jaw drop when it spawns from the bowels of a large format camera and spread as a vista in its own right across a gallery wall. And so can a portrait where every pore of the subject’s face gets bared for the viewer. But sometimes, many times, I’m left with a feeling that if size is needed to awe me into submission then perhaps the photographer has missed the point. The simple beauty of that landscape as a contact print, for me, is usually enough.

Everybody else might be happy. I just have a sneaking suspicion large photographs make us go WOW because we don’t see them often.

An example jumps to mind… A few years ago I was a jury picked finalist in a mixed media art award (not something I’m normally interested in doing) and the winning image from a room of wonderful paintings, jewellery, sculpture and etching just happened to be a deadpan perfect digital print of a photograph – a top view of a clean kitchen sink. Had the photograph been smaller, would it have got the time of day; let alone $10,000 prize money for a professional studio? Did it impress because it took nearly half an end wall in that limited space?

And I see this quite a bit at galleries and art school exhibitions. Girl sitting on the side of a single bed, sullen, twenty feet across the image. WOW. But as time goes on I’m quietly thinking “And so bloody what!?” Surely there’s more to photography than being able to afford $1000+ printing costs.

I’ve grown fond of the idea that anything can be used to photograph anything as long as the photographer is intuitive enough to play to the strength of the technology in hand.

But mostly I’m fascinated by how a well crafted small photograph can draw me into its space on a gallery wall and talk to me as an individual. This is akin to the intimacy of a kiss. For just a little time I’m the only one. Yes, I know how corny and crappy that sounds; but, in contrast, many of those super-sized gallery prints seem to be only average photographs – gratuitous masturbation of wall space to impress the WOW-crowd. If it’s big, it’s awesome.

Occasionally I see big and awesome. Don’t get me wrong. But that’s a rare photograph. And when I’m walking the boards around a gallery with a red wine in hand I’m after a sweet kiss, not a strip joint neon sign overselling their value proposition.

Although, perhaps I’m just getting old, cynical and grumpy. That happens, too.

Old Film:: Elvie, Len & Betty (1950s)

Friday, April 19th, 2013

I’m really not sure about the type of photograph (it seems to be low quality and grainy) but the subjects are my Auntie Elvie, my grandfather William Lionel (Len) Clark and Auntie Betty. It must have been made in the late 1940s-1950s by my grandmother, Elvie Ruth Bonner. My aunties were great great great great granddaughters of the First Fleet convict Richard Morgan (1748-1837) and great great granddaughters of Brereton Ross Porter Pemberton Rolla Watson (1804-1877) of the family line to Rockingham Castle, Jutland. My grandfather survived years of trench warfare in France in World War 1 and ended his service after armistice a Sergeant in 14th Battalion.

Elvie Len and Betty

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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