This is a Border (Town)

24. 07. 2016

1000 years of experience versus the Windmill gang

They stand alone in the Windswept Paddock, Mostly silent apart from a wind driven whirring or a squeaky protest due to lack of lubrication, some have bits missing, some are held together with fencing wire.

Iconic, Silvery, Rusty Sentinels, Givers of life, Bringers of Water


They stand together in the shed, never silent, Chatter, Laughter, Banter, Aches and Pains discussed, some have bits missing, and some are held together with stainless steel screws and wire.

Iconic, Silvery, Rusty Sentinels, Givers of life, Fixers of Windmills



Tatiara = “The Good Country”. Yes it is a Beautiful part of the country, Leviathan sized Redgums,    Yacca’s, Mysterious “Runaway Holes”, Grain crops and sheep, lots of sheep all reliant on the pristine water pumped from the subterranean aquifer. The summers can be brutal with Drought a real and Tangible Threat to Humans, Animals and income producing crops, enough to make a Tough Hardworking Bloke Sad……..Real Sad….End of the Track Sad….

My Residency within “This is a Border (town)” sets out to address Mens Mental (And Physical) Health specifically in a Rural context. I have the pleasure of working with the Blokes from the Tatiara Mens Shed in Bordertown (I am now a Member). The shed is well equipped for woodworking, metalworking and generally fixing and making just about anything. The Blokes have diverse “Previous Lives” Farmers, Engineers, Railway workers, Bankers, salesmen, even a Lumberjack, the pool of knowledge is immense, the stories are BIG and embellishment is encouraged.

Metters, Varcoe, Southern Cross; These are some of the Australian made brands of Windmill, Beautifully made ,Delivered to the farm in “Flat Pack” kit form and Bolted together on site and erected over the well hole. Put to work, powered by Nature, Water is brought to the surface. It is a Sublime Process.

Technology is overtaking the humble windmill, solar powered pumps are popular and require little maintenance (Climbing a windmill tower, in pissing rain, in the dark, is not fun). Central supply tanks with electric pumps are now popular as well. The obsolete windmills stand forlornly in the paddocks, their working life done…..finished & forgotten….see ya later, thanks for everything.

What if we could bring the Sad Windmills together as a Group? Maybe re-invent them, give them new purpose and meaning, a reason to be, a new set of work clothes, Surely a shed full of clever blokes and a sculptor could make this happen.

Watch this space, give thanks to the windmill!

Southern Cross

Mark de Nys


1 Comment

  • Malcolm says:

    Hi Mark,

    That’s a lovely post. Windmills are indeed wondrous things, except, as you say, for the person up a ladder trying to fix a busted-up old one with a bit of fencing wire in blustery conditions.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you and blokes from the shed come up with…



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Artist Residency


James Dodd, Mark de Nys, Malcolm McKinnon



About the Artist

Malcolm McKinnon

Malcolm McKinnon is an Australian artist and filmmaker working mainly in rural communities. Over the past 25 years, his work has encompassed oral history, urban planning, public and community art projects, critical writing and exhibitions. His current practice is mainly focused around documentary filmmaking and social history, motivated by an appreciation of living memory and local vernacular.

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About the Artist

James Dodd

James Dodd is an artist who has a strong interest in public space and often works on mural scale and community oriented outcomes. He has a multi-faceted visual arts practice that embraces a range of painting and sculptural approaches. He exhibits regularly across Australia and has had his work collected by major institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia. Dodd is an educator at Adelaide Central School of Art and is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide.

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About the Artist

Mark de Nys

Mark de Nys is a Limestone Coast based Visual Artist ,Educator and Musician,with a background in Engineering and Design, he has worked on large scale public artwork throughout Australia, taking energy from things never before made, re-inventing and re imagining always questioning, Why? This is a Border(town) offers the rare chance to engage with local Blokes via the Men's Shed along with industry and council members, the outcome is organic and fluid embracing Men's mental health, there may be Windmills! Hope to see you on the Journey.

Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.