The fact that I live only walking distance away from where gold was first discovered in Bendigo is not lost on me as I continually scan this area to make pictures. The sites that I photograph are laden with the weight of the history of white settlement and I am compelled by the physical and psychological experience of living near these former mining sites, to make something of them.
Bailey’s most recent series pictures the wastelands that lie on the perimeter of the city of Bendigo in Victoria. The former gold mining sites near Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk have a spooky countenance born by the unsettling history of 19th century settlement there. Guided by the original names of the places – Diamond Hill, Beelzebub Gully, Whipstick, Golden Gully, New Moon, Christmas Reef – Donna links the history of the sites with her contemporary perspective. The representation of childhood and adolescence is integral to Donna’s artistic practice. She has pictured her children and their friends over a period of more than a dozen years. In this series she deliberately distances the young figures and their playthings, against the mullock, skeletal forests and barren floors of the eerie, early Victorian goldfields.