In the Shire of West Arthur, from a large shed beside a Jarrah forest Bob Turner is turning history into art. 1920’s fence posts from the Pilbara, the wheel rim from a 1940’s blitz army truck, a spring from a 1860’s sulky cart are all skilfully incorporated into rustic sculptures of iron and timber. Bob, a timber machinist by trade uses many of the modern machines of his craft but one of his favourite tools is a 1850’s draw knife to ‘pull timber down’. Most of the historic iron used in his sculptures is gathered from stations and settlements in the Pilbara and all the timber is collected from fallen trees on his property.
My photo essay didn’t just stop with Bob’s exquisite artwork. Our fascinating tour continued deep into his shed where a wealth of treasures, experiences, and stories were revealed. Bob spoke of his time as a marine shell diver off the coast of Dampier and showed me the most amazing collection of shells I have ever seen. He opened draws of heritage tools and showed me a WWI bugle, soldering irons from the 1800’s and a kerosene cooker from the 1st world war. The line of vintage cars and motorbikes in the background seemed commonplace compared to these rarities. Aside from our enthralling discussions of past and present my favourite nugget of information was when I found out that Bob has indeed ridden the bus with Red Dog just like we saw in the movie. But that’s another story.