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thegrandsection thegrandsection

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The Grand Section  A year long bicycle and architectural odyssey studying how where we live effects how we live in Aus, slowly along latitude 25.

https://www.thegrandsection.com/talks-shiz/

Whilst in Meekatharra, WA we were lucky enough to spend some time with a bunch of locals who were taking it upon themselves to start recycling in their town.
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Initially working in a shed with a dirt floor this intrepid band has now got two machines to crush bottles, cardboard and cans which is a huge effort and absolutely fantastic!
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They have even started a "tip shop" to try and reduce stuff going to landfill. .
We were always blown away by what was actually happening in "the middle of nowhere"

Whilst riding across the country we were told several times by people in cars that, "it's all flat out there". You begin to realise when you go slow that's it's not actually the case. You pick up details of topography and undulations you don't feel or notice in a car. Almost nothing is flat on a bicycle, there were however a few times where it was 'actually' flat.
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This is one of those. On the road to Meekatharra, WA giant flat intermittent lakes stretched both sides of a seemingly never ending flat. Where there was water, it was salty, leaving a white crust at it's edges and a stillness that was unsettling. Still though supporting life, birds, fish and inquisitive journeymen. Huge man made mountains erupt occasionally in a diesel powered search for gold. .
The only tree provided shelter for lunch.

Some call him the King of Flames....others just run.
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One of the things we really enjoyed about camping out across the country was the intimacy you gain after spending a bit of time. Cooking on fires means we had to begin to learn which timbers burn better/hotter/smokier than others. Mulga (Acacia aneura) burns super hot but isn't great for cooking on, however Gidgee (Acacia cambagei) burns hot but breaks down into beautiful coals that can be pulled around to make the perfect conditions for a killer damper.
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Along the road we heard folklore of Bushies and Aboriginals who could make a fire out of not much, to boil a billy and then leave no trace. Seemingly, the better the firemaker the smaller the fire....
Maybe, the better the architect the smaller the house....?
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Owen is clearly still in training with flames crutch high
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#thegrandsection

A Grand Section Flashback...
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As we rode through cold winds and spitting rain into the small town of Leonora, WA, there were a few things that caught our eyes. A sign for "famous sausage rolls" and a shiny new building...Having a poke about we were lucky enough to get to have a look inside this paint smelling structure. .
As it turns out this was built for government services. Designed in Perth the rent they were asking was even too much for the government services it was built for. Needless to say the ample free parking in main street was preferred to the paid parking out the back.
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Examples like this show us how important it is to be present, to talk to locals and to actually visit a site.
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However...there was a nice courtyard.
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#thegrandsection

We had the pleasure of seeing the #sevensisters exhibition today in sunny Canberra. A parable more ancient than anything we know, yet so familiar in many ways. It is humbling to learn more about a journey that is so close to us yet has so much more depth than we can begin to perceive.
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The first picture is a painting of the story across the continent. A west to east journey that goes through a lot of familiar territory, resonating with our red section line through the guts. Work by artists we had met, and from landscapes we grew familiar with. .
An incredible exhibition....the only thing missing though was a few dogs, kids and a bit of chaos.

Regram from @five_mile_radius - WHAT'S OUT THERE 02 - Gear up for classic FMR hospitality, spoken word therapy and a wheely good time 🚌 .
The Grand Section have been invited back....would you believe it to our wonderful friends and renegades HQ in Brisbane.
So if you are around or feel like a long drive come and hang out and have a ball!!!

HERE WE GO!!
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We're busy reclaiming unwanted, faulty and ready to be disposed tents to repurpose and construct our exhibition from. We got our first ones today!
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The structure will rove nationally from May/June, pop out of the back of our bikes and activate public city and regional town spaces
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Stay tuned and follow along as the journey continues! If you've got any unwanted tents in the meantime, send them our way!! .
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#tentexhibition #thejourneycontinues #tgsexhibition

Talks, talks, talks!!!!
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We've got lots of bits and bobs to share about The Grand Section journey and all we've learnt along the way. We will be cracking around over the coming months talking all about it!
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We might be coming to your neck of the woods, so check out our line up (link in bio)
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Beginning end of May we'll be beginning the national roving exhibition and talking circuit 'round the coast and back through the guts. Stay tuned for all of those details!
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Our first talk last week was on the rooftop of @metro_cycles last week in Newcastle. We talked about the journey, slowness and cycle touring. Thanks to Lyn, Bernie and Gus for the great pic and having us!....also for EVERYTHING they've done for us over the course of the entire Grand Section journey... absolute legends! .
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Share it round, ask your mates and come keep us company at these talks!
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#talkingarchitecture #australianjourneys #slowness #metrocycles #beginningthetalkingcircuit #hopefullywelookbetterthanher

It seems to be a relevant time to be thinking about pilgrimage and landscape in Australia. The history of the country is founded by journeys on foot and the power of the Australian landscape.
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@andrewharperexplorer a contemporary walker of the Australian deserts and practitioner of 'slowness' has felt and knows the power of both
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As we were coming out of skirting the western edge of the Simpson desert towards Alice springs, Andrew was heading off on his desert walks, stopped and showed us great generosity in the form of chocolates!
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Andrews quote resonates; "The desert deserves to be approached gently, so its mood is revealed. The way people have always approached the desert was on foot, as we have done today. That reveals the country - the continuum of country."
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The reality of the country doesn't exist on the cushy coast where the 85% of us live. But out where the red gibber plains are like under Andrew and the camels foot.
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Get out and slow down. .
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#slowness #slowdown #pilgrimage #australianpilgrimage #andrewharper #gibbers #inspiration #andrewharperexplorer

Carnarvon, the final stop on the mainland of Australia for The Grand Section is experiencing an incredible sight! The Gascoyne river stretching approximately 900km's inland, is the life blood of much of the country surrounding this area in WA and thanks to cyclone Joyce has joined the river with the Indian Ocean
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The aboriginal name for Carnarvon appropriately is "neck of water", here you see the power of the junction, the meeting of many things and understand why the name
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We sit in awe as we are constantly reminded of the absolute power of australian landscapes! .
Thanks to ABC North West and Ryan for sharing! Incredibly footage folks. .
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#themouth #carnarvon #gascoynemeetstheindianocean #powerfulscapes #neckofwater

Ye olde Meekatharra Hotel, a throw back from the road of WA.
There was a consistent underpinning to the towns we'd go through, aspirational buildings dating from the early 1900's when industry and pastoralism was prosperous. Towns would invest their shared vision and aspirations into civic buildings, notable workmanship and good quality materials have seen many of these beauties see the century out well. Today though, it's a different story... industries are dying or dead, places are no longer prosperous and sustaining where the centre is becoming ever more dominated by dongas. Shipped in from elsewhere, they're the economical option for now, not responsive to place and lasting merely 30 years!
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Folks, there is some serious yearning for critical and creative problem solving outside of the coast! Bring back the parapet!
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Why not jump on the bus, and just... keep going? Step out.
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#opportunitiesforagency #bringbacktheparapet #aspirationalbuildings #architecture

The thanks go on... .
What an incredible way to transition back into life by being in the company of some absolute superstars and people we admire dearly; Adrian, Fran & Ruben Welke, Sandra and @jaimemayger. Having us at their Esperance home to bring in the New Year, we exchanged stories of the power of the centre of this country, decades after their journeys similar to ours. No explanations or justifications required, the kind of company you need, that is a foothold pushing you ever further. .
We think it's important to recognise the people that help you get there, so thanks you brilliant folks! .
Straight out from Cape Le Grande NP was Antarctica. Up to neck in water, feet crystal clear on the chilly sandy bottom. Just incredible. .
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#goodcompany #support #thepeopleofthejourney #troppo #southofthewest

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