The old Dalmorton Butchers
More than a 1-hour drive along a narrow dirt-road winding its way through river-valleys lined with eucalyptus trees sits the deserted township of Dalmorton. Once a gold-mining town boasting 13 pubs Dalmorton is now a small collection of abandoned buildings whose facades are barely surviving the elements and mindless actions of some visitors.
There under the unrelenting midday sun an old butchers shop and residence begged to be recorded …
Inside the butchers
The heat was oppressive inside the old butchers shop. I definitely didn’t want to spend much time there. Quickly scanning the room I saw some rusting metal rings from which meat once hung. They looked an ideal place to connect a contact microphone. The metal transported a definite thumping sound. A loose sheet of corrugated-iron roof was flapping in the barely existent breeze.
Next door an old residence baked in the sun. Although it had survived decades of abandonment visitors had at some stage kicked in the walls and windows. In a room to the left a tree branch scraped against a sheet of iron. My recording was cut short by the intense heat. The space or sparseness of the sounds caught in the recordings somehow reflected the slow pace of the empty township.
Walking around the remnants of the old township it is easy to forget that a a river runs through the valley. The sounds of life by the riverbanks were in direct contrast with the town. We entered its fresh water contemplating the place Dalmorton had once been. Questions were asked:
How had the land shaped those who once lived there? How could a town big enough to host 13 pubs all but disappear? What emotional attachments did residents have to Dalmorton in order to call it home? Did the local soundscape help form a connection to the land? What sounds had since been lost?
We floated in the water, no answers came …
3 thoughts on “Sounds from a Deserted Town: Dalmorton”
The contrast of sounds between the abandoned city and the river is amazing.
I love how you have captured the harshness and oppression of the heat in the town compared to the refreshing flow of the river. They feel like completely different universes, one where life was a struggle and is now gone, and one where life is abundant and easier.
Thanks for your feedback Allysse. Yes it was an odd experience, one full of contrasts, barren and lush, hot and refreshing, quiet and sonically diverse, the past and the present.
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