I visited Lake Cooloongup, situated south of Perth, many times during my final year of study. The name Cooloongup is derived from the word Koolangka which is the Aboriginal, Nyoongar (Draper, 1997) word, meaning children. Lake Cooloongup holds special Dreaming significance as a place where the Sea Waugal laid her eggs.(Walley, pers.comm,.2002)
Lake Cooloongup is shallow and water in the lake is saline. When dry, the stark, white landscape stretches across the plain and reflects the whiteness of the salt back to you. It is superficially a place of beauty.
It is also a place where signage warns us to “take care – tortoises crossing”.
There were hundreds of tortoise shells discovered during my many visits to the lake, but they were all hollow, a stark reminder of the fragility of the environment and the effects of salinity on living organisms. This lake, once a place of fertility, is now a barren wasteland.
In “Salinity” the empty tortoise shell dominates the picture plane. It is an indicator that the biophilia of the region is unhealthy and the red stitching line represents the tenuous thread that connects us all.
Fiona Rafferty – “Reminiscence” – (Ethel Creek, WA – October 2015)