By JACINTA CUMMINS
A MURAL showcasing the connection between the natural gas industry and the town of Wandoan has taken pride of place at the local O’Sullivan Park.
“Pipes In Space” was taken by Spiecapag’s Phil Woodhouse and depicts the pipes stockpiled under the night skies outside Wandoan before they were buried in the ground.
The photo won the 2020 In.Site Photography Competition, which uses photography to show how the natural gas industry and local community can work together successfully.
Part of the prize was the image being made into a mural for the area where it was taken.
Phil’s first foray into the natural gas industry was as a labourer in Wandoan in 2011.
As he spent more time in the industry he realised he could have a bigger influence in a safety role, so he returned to Wandoan in 2018 as part of Spiecapag’s Safety Team to work on the project that built the main pipeline for Senex Energy’s Atlas natural gas project.
The pipeline, owned and operated by Jemena, transports Senex’s natural gas to domestic customers, powering homes and manufacturing and supporting jobs.
Phil was always interested in photography and videography, but he first learnt about astrophotography from a colleague in a mining camp near Mount Isa.
“This particular photo was a labour of love taken with a long exposure about three in the morning to show the pipes which transport the gas but are unseen underground,” he told the attendees at the mural unveiling, which included a delegation of students from the Wandoan State School.
As a work of astrophotography the image speaks for itself but Phil said it also has a much more profound meaning for him.
“To capture this image and now have it displayed in Wandoan, the country town which gave me my first opportunity in this industry, really reignited my passion for photography,” he said.
Phil’s message for the students at the opening was a simple one.
“The stars in the sky not only show the gorgeous view here, but they represent the opportunities which present themselves to us as we move through life.
“Wandoan is a great community and there are many opportunities here if you are open to them.
“If I could encourage you to do anything, I would say seize any opportunity you are offered and make the most of it.
“When I first came to Wandoan, I was a labourer and now I’m here in a totally different capacity and it’s all part of my journey.”
Senex community relations manager Trevor Robertson said the mural would remind both community and industry of how they complement each other.
“Work is an integral part of life in Wandoan and district, so this is a fitting acknowledgement of how our industry fits in here,” he said.
“Senex is proud to connect with the landholders and communities where we operate to contribute to the vibrancy and sustainability of the local community.”