Another year and here we are back on Cockatoo Island to begin the annual inspection. I have been unable to locate Ted Wilson and will have to escalate the situation if the impass persists. A pleasure to see John and the other staff we have come to rely on to complete our work.
Yesterday Laura and her team reported that some of the staff were concerned that the smells noticed in the vicinity of the cavernous areas where we set rat poison several years ago were an indication that these pests have returned. This has made the situation with Ted Wilson whereby we are prevented from inspecting these areas untenable. I spoke with John who tried to reach Ted and found him on the ferry headed home. It appears that Ted has become increasingly erratic and spends much of his time in the ‘cave’, even sleeping there. The staff consensus was to forcibly remove the lock and enter in order to conduct the inspection, but nothing had prepared us for the experience that ensued.
Even as I write about this tonight I find myself immersed in the mysteries of this cave, reliving the experience as if I were still there. The sweet smell of beeswax mixes with the odour of fertile, humid soil. My eyes resist the dimness of the cave and I rub my face. I look around in this uneasy environment and see a workspace, crammed with tools and a section of soil in the back. It looks like an excavation. The walkway I am on leads me past buckets, tubs and tools, piles of slabs of beeswax and a makeshift desk full of uncleaned, earthy artefacts. I find myself standing in front of a honeycombed section of soil, at eye-level with cavities and tunnels that branch deep into this earthen wall. The hollows compose a larger form, something like a mould of a human female figure. Am I the only one who is seeing this? What is going on here?
I’ve been very busy with assignments but managed to get back to Ted’s cave this weekend. Since the lock was broken I can basically get in any time I want, though I don’t want to attract too much attention or they may lock it again. I also don’t want other people going inside and removing objects or rearranging things before I’ve had a chance to explore. It’s hard to know what could be in the mind of the person who made all this stuff. They feel like religious objects of veneration or the means to a ritual, but it is so foreign that it’s hard to image let alone visualize what is going on.
As I wander about I often find myself in a maze of twisty little passages, all of them different, as if I were in a colossal cave.