Trevor Dickinson speaks about the inspiration behind his book: The Book of Taree.

My first experience of Taree was over twenty-five years ago, passing through on the Pacific Highway heading to Byron Bay. I was on holiday from England and had heard of Taree because it was the home of the surf company Hot Tuna, and I probably expected more of a beachy vibe. On the way back, we stopped for a meal, followed by possibly the worst instant coffee I had ever tasted in my life. Taree had lodged itself in my memory and I was curious to go back and get to know it better.

In Taree I found a rarely celebrated side of Australia.
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When I was invited to take on the Book of Taree project I had no idea what the end result would be like. I deliberately did not research, as I try to preserve the viewpoint of a visitor discovering a location for the first time. The choice of what I draw is random: I drive, cycle and walk around looking for anything that I think worth recording. I know that once the drawings are assembled, a clear perspective will emerge.

In Taree I found a rarely celebrated side of Australia.

It doesn’t have gorgeous beaches, there’s not a great deal of beautiful architecture, and it’s far from the traditional Aussie outback cliché.

Taree holds its own treasures that aren’t so obvious, but still deserve recognition. This book is a snapshot of a distinctly Australian town.
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I hope that the Book of Taree will encourage locals to see their town with fresh eyes, and maybe notice details that have become invisible through familiarity. Even the most ordinary and seemingly banal locations are backgrounds to countless experiences, and this makes them worth recording. Just like the memory of a bad coffee can trigger the pleasures of a road trip from a distant past.

Finally, as someone who enjoys drawing Colorbond and 1980s brick walls, I’d like to thank Jane Hosking and Rachel Piercy from the Manning Regional Art Gallery for giving me the opportunity to take this project. It was an honour

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The Book of Taree is available to purchase at the Manning Regional Art Gallery or at Trevor's online store.

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