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For the past two years, I’ve been working on a long-term documentation of work in Australia. (This Working Life is the featured portfolio in the summer edition of 40 South magazine).

On Monday night, while driving into the city around 8.30pm, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted some workmen working under lights in Antill Street, Hobart. Thinking this might be a good opportunity to photograph some night work; I drove around the block and parked.

Grabbing my camera, I positioned myself on the opposite side of the street, by the service station and began shooting some available light pictures of the general scene.

I’d only got off about a dozen frames, when I was challenged by a belligerent, hard-hatted member of the team striding across the street to confront me: “Oi! What are you photographing?”

I began to explain politely about This Working Life , but was cut off by a rant along the lines of, “You can’t take pictures here, this is the NBN, it’s a federal project. It’s illegal to photograph it. It’s illegal to photograph us without permission and you can’t photograph these vehicles.”

The federal project mantra was repeated several times.

When he drew breath, I attempted to argue the toss: public place, on the other side of the street, not in the way, right to photograph street scenes etc. From his tone, I knew before I started, that arguing my rights was a waste of breath. A couple of the other workers joined him. It began to feel a little intimidating.

Mr Hard-Hat continued on in the same vein, reiterating the illegality of what I had done and adding “You’ll have to delete your pictures”.

I decided to ignore this and diverted the discussion from deletion by ploughing on with my arguments, until his chest-beating, faltering momentarily, I muttered, “Illegal eh?”, turned on my heel and walked away. He threw a parting “Yes, it’s illegal!” at my departing back. I still had my pictures.

Maybe it really IS illegal to photograph the NBN roll-out, but if so, it would be good to know under what law.

All about Rob Walls: Worked on assignment for major international publications including Newsweek, The New York Times and Time Magazine. Have also written travel stories for airline in-flight publications and traveled extensively throughout the world on editorial, corporate and travel assignments. Founding member and director of the highly successful Australian photographers’ co-operative, Rapport Photo Agency. Now living in Tasmania, Australia’s island state, shooting stock photography and working on assignment for mainland clients. Currently working on an extended project to, backed by Jobs Australia, to photograph the nature of work in modern Australia. Specialties: Corporate, editorial, travel and stock photography and the production and design of corporate audio-visuals. From Rob Walls’ blogspot, This Photographer’s Life, here

• Get Connected: East Tamar residents out in force to greet NBN

October 26 promises to be a big night for Dilston, Swan Bay and Windermere communities.

That’s when the NBN Rollout Engagement Group, headed by Lalla Mackenzie, Lead Community Account Manager,comes to make a special NBN presentation and answer questions from residents and local businesses, such as orchardists, vineyard and tourism operatorsand specialist high-tech small businesses.

It also highlights the social face of NBN as the occasion ties in with the popular Friday food and wine night at Windermere Café.

Get Connected organised this special event. “We campaigned to get high-speed fibre-optic broadband when this part of the East Tamar was originally assigned ‘fixed’ wireless broadband, “ said Get Connected spokesperson Trixie Gillard. “77% of people living herevoted for it,”she added.

The community appreciates the support of local politicians representing the political spectrum. “We’re expecting MLC for Windermere, Ivan Dean and Greens’ Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, both of whom live in the area. And Brian Wightman, Labor Member for Bass, State Liberal MP Michael Ferguson and Greens’ Member for Bass,Kim Booth have also said they would be there,”Trixie Gillard said. Launceston City Council will also be represented.

TGIF runs from 5.30 to 7.30 p.m. The NBN presentation will be at 6.30 p.m.
WHERE: Windermere Corner Café, 2 Windermere Road, Windermere, TAS 7252
WHEN: FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER

• Friday: East Tamar residents out in force to greet NBN

Tonightpromises to be a big one for Dilston, Swan Bay and Windermere communities.

That’s when the NBN Rollout Engagement Group, headed by Lalla Mackenzie, Lead Community Account Manager,are coming to make a special NBN presentation and answer questions from residents and local businesses, such as orchardists, vineyard and tourism operatorsand specialist high-tech small businesses.

It also highlights the social face of NBN as the occasion ties in with the popular Friday food and wine night at Windermere Café.

Get Connected organised this special event. “We campaigned to get high-speed fibre-optic broadband when this part of the East Tamar was originally assigned ‘fixed’ wireless broadband, “ said Get Connected spokesperson Trixie Gillard. “77% of people living herevoted for it,”she added.

The community appreciates the support of local politicians representing the political spectrum. “We’re expecting MLC for Windermere, Ivan Dean and Greens’ Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, who both live in the area. And Brian Wightman, Labor Member for Bass, State Liberal MP Michael Ferguson and Greens’ Member for Bass,Kim Booth have also said they would be there,”Trixie Gillard said. Launceston City Council will also be represented.

TGIF runs from 5.30 to 7.30 p.m. The NBN presentation will be at 6.30.
WHERE: Windermere Corner Café, 2 Windermere Road, Windermere, TAS 7252
WHEN: FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER