Black as Coal, White as Snow

nature student

Much of Union Bay, on the shores of Baynes Sound, is not a natural landscape but a living legacy of coal-mining days of over 100 years ago, when the community was the port for coal mined in nearby Cumberland and shipped to destinations around the world.

After transport to Union Bay, the coal was washed, using water diverted from Hart Creek (hence the alternate name of Washer Creek) then loaded onto ships. The waste or ‘slack’ ( small pieces and dust from the coal) was dumped at the estuary, a practice which would be unthinkable today. The black coal slack formed an industrial landscape that is gradually revegetating.

Black & white seemed a fitting way to portray the somber landscape of black ground & grey skies. Vegetation is sparse in the black coal slack. In this composition the paths through the grasses lead the eye to the islands in the…

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