Last Saturday evening I had the best seat in the house at the Australian Canoeing Awards Dinner
… I was the MC.
One of the awards was made to Terry Bolland. The award was presented in honour of Olegas Truchanas.
During the evening I learned that one of the attendees at the Dinner, John Borojevic, had met Olegas when John was seven years old. I spoke with John about him and was enchanted by Olegas’s story.
I am profoundly disappointed that I had not heard about Olegas’s story until then. The National Library of Australia holds a collection of Olegas’s Lake Pedder pictures.
Dan Sprod’s biographical entry on Olegas can be found here. (I have discovered that Dan is a friend of John so this really is a small world story!)
I found this excerpt from a speech Olegas made in 1972:
Tasmania is not the only place in the world where long-term, careful argument has been defeated by short-term economic advantage. When we look round, the time is rapidly approaching when natural environment, natural unspoiled vistas are sadly beginning to look like left-overs from a vanishing world. This vanishing world is beautiful beyond our dreams and contains in itself rewards and gratifications never found in artificial landscape, or man-made objects, so often regarded as exciting evidence of a new world in the making.
The natural world contains an unbelievable diversity, and offers a variety of choices, provided of course that we retain some of this world and that we live in the manner that permits us to go out, seek it, find it, and make these choices. We must try to retain as much as possible of what still remains of the unique, rare and beautiful. It is terribly important that we take interest in the future of our remaining wilderness, and in the future of our National Parks. Is there any reason why, given this interest, and given enlightened leadership, the ideal of beauty could not become an accepted goal of national policy? Is there any reason why Tasmania should not be more beautiful on the day we leave it, than on the day we came? We don’t know what the requirements of those who come after us will be. Tasmania is slowly evolving towards goals we cannot no%y see. If we can revise our attitudes towards the land under our feet; if we can accept a role of steward and depart from the role of conqueror; if we can accept the view that man and nature are inseparable parts of the unified whole-then Tasmania can be a shining beacon in a dull, uniform and largely artificial world.
What a remarkable life! Making the award to Terry has given me the opportunity to contemplate Olegas’s work and legacy. Forty years on I think his message is even more important to share.
I am grateful to Stephen Downes for sharing his link to Olegas in Stephen’s 2004 Buntine Oration. Stephen found news of Olegas in Strahan, Tasmania on his visit to Australia. I sense that Stephen and Olegas are kindred spirits in many ways. I think they have a very close connection through photography.