Nullarbor by Motorcycle, 1986
When I was 22, I set off on an adventure: alone across the Nullarbor, by motorcycle, from Perth (Western Australia) to Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) and further afield. It was a remarkable experience that has always stayed with me.
These are some of the few photos taken, featuring my beloved Yamaha XV750 Midnight Special. Now long gone and still missed.
I first hitch-hiked across and back in 1981 (a Western Australian adolescent’s rite-of passage to go ‘Over East,’ experience the exotic climes of Victoria and New South Wales – and grow up a bit); then again in 1983 (for romance, in pursuit of a ballerina – it didn’t work out – but I had a great adventure); drove a VW Kombi across to Sydney there and back in 1988 with a bunch of friends. More recently drove I across in a nice Saab convertible in 2007 – and in 2011-12 an amazing Hobart-Exmouth return road-trip in my 4WD (there’s much footage of that to edit into a movie one day – especially 4WD, off the beaten track): a kind of personal psychogeography, embedded in this place.
The hitch-hiking adventures were many and varied (and scary at times), but above all this formative motorcycle adventure sticks in my mind: there was something amazing about being so young, so alone, so remote, in the time before mobile phones and GPS – you could feel really lost in the middle of nowhere, in this vast inhuman expanse, this sublime landscape.
In a sense – being lost has become lost to us. I am conscious of being there and no-one knowing where I was.
The Nullarbor is somewhere that you traverse – it reminds us that there still places without ‘humanity’, like Antarctica: it is a vision of indifferent emptiness, over millennia. There is something wonderful and important about that. Defeating all the noise. Being itself through deep time: the intractable tracts.