His mum grew up in Warracknabeal, a small country town in the Wimmera, Western Victoria. She remembers with great fondness a childhood playing amongst the beautiful eucalypts that line Yarriambiack Creek, which runs through the town. He is close to his wonderful Mum and the trees became a symbol of their relationship and her connection to family history. So, he asked if we could somehow incorporate them on his wedding ring.
Despite the small scale a surprising amount of detail can be expressed within a ring. The concepts are often represented abstractly because there is not enough room for a whole image, or the full breadth of an idea but the wearer needs only a gesture in the design to enlighten the full story.
He proposed flying us to Warracknabeal in a small kit plane that he and his Dad had recently assembled.
How small can an aeroplane be? The answer is “very small”!
I wasn’t wild about the scale of the plane but the opportunity to see the Wimmera landscape from above was too enticing to allow fear to force us on to four wheels, as it is a very long drive. I rock climb with this renaissance fella and I know he’s safety conscious and an experienced pilot, so I blame my door not properly closing for a white knuckled takeoff. I did eventually prise my hands from the door handle and ignore the draft to marvel at the extraordinary freedom that small aeroplane travel affords.
I adore the region’s flat semi arid plains of mallee scrub and broad grain and sheep farms punctured with the breathtakingly beautiful Grampians and Mount Arapiles. I have driven the long roads after western Victorian desert hikes, aside railways with towering grain silos, watching thunderstorms roll across huge skies lighting up vivid yellow canola paddocks, but it gave me a whole other appreciation of the district from the air. The Australian continent is vast, and perhaps because the mountains have worn down over millennia to relative nubs, our vantage is mostly eye height. It was beautiful to fly in open blue sky over the soft sun-bleached colours of Western Victoria and witness the region’s expanse from every direction.
We flew low along country roads looking for a tractor with an attached windsock, to indicate a large-scale newly ploughed paddock owned by Jim, a childhood friend of his Mum, which was our DYI landing strip and re-fuel pit stop.
Following farmhouse tea, sandwiches, chats and kelpie rubs we were in a borrowed car and on our way to nearby Warracknabeal and the Yarriambiack Creek gum trees. We wandered along the crackling-dry creek bed with screeching galahs and cockatoos under midday sun until we found a stand of eucalypts with lovely shaped trunks; perfect for kids to scamper up. I brought a small sketchbook along with me to draw the eucalypts and I figured a horizontal slice of the distinctive trunks would read pictorially within a wedding band.
I carefully transferred the quick sketch of his mum’s trees into a gold band, thus gently weaving family history into a new wedding ring poised to grow a fresh family branch.
It was an incredible day I will never forget.