The Old Scout Hall

When I lived in Mount Gambier, I got into the habit of exploring the town to find interesting things to photograph. Back then I was right at the start of my interest in photography, so was keen to try out photographing whatever I could.

On one particular early morning, I came to a local abandoned hall. I seem to recall it used to be for scouts. Having already explored the old hospital, my interest in abandoned places was peaked.

On entering I found the hall to be a little disappointing. There wasn’t much light since the windows were boarded up, and it lacked the sense of presence of the hospital.

Nonetheless, I took photos as best I could. I came across one room, with a sofa, a chair, a table and some letters scattered about, mainly on the floor. It was apparent someone had used the space to at least sort through their correspondence. I got the sense that someone had, at least for a short time, been sleeping in the room. The letters were still crisp, with no sign of mound or damp.

Looking back on the photo it is very poor. Awful glare and badly lit. Even the composition seems limited. Still, the image conveys the main sense of the room. There’s a sense of incompleteness, as though whatever denizen resided here intended to return. I wonder about the mindset of the person, what would cause them to open their mail here. Were they homeless, did they want privacy? Were they here for drugs, and in the midst of using got focused on more mundane issues? I find the latter, in my experience, just as likely as any other.


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