Fisherman’s still life with Air Jordan 4’s recalls childhood and adolescent memories of growing up on Waiben in Torres Strait, a fragile yet intricate waterway that was a fisherman’s paradise teaming with a multitude of marine life. The daily fishing ritual for the Drummond family of Hargrave Street was the trips to nearby wharves, reefs, creek inlets, beaches, rocky outcrops and mudflats in search of seafood – anticipation and excitement for the day’s catch building with every passing minute.
After a couple of hours, which was usually adequate time to fill the bottom of the boat with reef fish of all sorts and sizes, we would begin the journey back home to Waiben. Back on shore, all the boating paraphernalia that was brought into the dinghy in the morning would need to be returned back to the house and yard in the manner that it came – the old wheelbarrows that were left on shore near the rock wall at Athe’s anchorage.
Stretching down the left side of the house tied between a large Tamarind tree and a large Milk tree was an inch-thick anchor rope where the cast net and drag net was slung. From this position any repairs to the rope and fishing line nets could be carried out. Hanging on either side of this rope was also old glass flotation buoys - relics from the once booming pearling industry where my Athe was employed for a number of decades.
This rope also acted as a sandal and shoe rack - sometimes used for drying wet footwear and other times for storage because shoes weren’t permitted in the house. Many hours, days, weeks, months and years were spent training, playing and coaching basketball at the Wongai Courts which were just up the road on Milman Street . . . cherished memories . . . gone but not forgotten.