I have many fond memories of the Stockton Beach growing up. Located about an hour-and-a-half from Sydney, access is 4WD only. It’s one of the few beaches along the coast where you can drive along the sand and, to a smaller extent these days, the dunes.
Amongst the dunes is a strange settlement of ramshackle structures known as Tin City. At first, rising from the sand, you expect to see a Stormtrooper and a droid, perhaps an Interceptor, but it’s actually the last legal squatters settlement in Australia.
The ‘city’ started in the early 1900s as tin shacks for shipwreck survivors. In the 1930s it grew out to around 36 huts, around 11 of which stand today, and yes, people were here the day I visited. As I understand it, the huts cannot be sold, but are sort of passed down from generation to generation. Since my last visit 20 years ago, many had been repaired and added upon, some looked pretty well sorted! Fishing seems to be the predominant pastime.
It didn’t stop raining all day, which meant we did have the beach to ourselves, but it did make photography difficult. I was initially disappointed, hoping for blue skies and strong light for the high key style I use these days, but on reflection I like the way the rain added an ethereal mood to the images. It actually gels very well with the subject matter—lone buildings left out in the elements.
I also shot some of the dunes, focussing on some timber fencing that had fallen (read: been run) over. I like the minimalist feel of these images and hope to return to take more. Of course, the famous wreck was another shoot hot spot but it was, drum roll, underwater when we arrived. Next time.
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