Matthew Newton

Moonbird boy.
Skullbone Plains, Central Tasmania.

A forest activists surveys the scene of a logging coup that has been clear felled and burnt in the Southern Forests of Tasmania, Australia. These forests contain the tallest hardwood trees and flowering plants on Earth, some more than 20m in girth and more than 90m in height.

Clearfelling, involves the complete clearing of logged areas, first by chainsaws and skidders, and then by intense firing started by helicopters dropping incendiary devices made of jellied petroleum

Former Greens Senator Bob Brown beside the stump of a giant Eucalyptus regnans in a clearfell logging coup in the Southern forests of Tasmania. These forests contain the tallest hardwood trees and flowering plants on Earth, some more than 20m in girth and more than 90m in height.

Moonbird boy. Mutton birds, also known as moonbirds, have been harvested by the Tasmanian Aboriginal people for hundreds of years. It is a time for the Aboriginal community to come together and connect with country. This portrait shows Shay Maynard carrying birds toward the processing hut on Big Dig Island in the Furneaux Group, Bass Strait.

Skullbone Plains, Central Tasmania.

An Activist from the group Still Wild Still Threatened blocks a logging road into Tasmania’s Southern Forests by locking her arm into a block of cement placed on the road.

Police form a blockage line to prevent activists entering an area where a new logging road is being build into the Southern forests of Tasmania.


Tasmania is a heart-shaped island at the bottom of the world, redolent of history and myth – a place where the government once paid its inhabitants to shoot into extinction a majestic animal known as the thylacine or Tasmania tiger. A place where today the largest flowering plants on the planet, the mighty Eucalyptus regnans, are reduced to tiny woodchips and sold for questionable profits. A place where the discovery of ancient aboriginal artefacts is seen as a problem to be solved rather than a gift celebrated. Despite this, for me, Tasmania remains unique in its unspeakable beauty and inherent wildness. The question is: Will this wild and special island retain the free agency that entitles it to love and wonder, or is it to be reduced to the mere banality of artefact, no more or less than any other abused and broken scrap of the globe?


MATTHEW NEWTON is a photographer / cinematographer based in Hobart. He has shot numerous documentaries that have been broadcast nationally as well as feature documentaries for festival release. He has worked on shoots in over a dozen counties, often in remote locations, and has worked as a second unit director on many of these. His work is regularly chosen amongst the countries best and exhibited in the nations premier photographic art prizes. He has been a finalist in the National Portrait Prize, the Moran Prize for Contemporary Photography and the Bowness Photographic Prize on a number of occasions. Matthew has also received several awards and accolades for his work. He regularly photographs for editorial and news publications throughout Australia and has been recognised for his work documenting the struggle for Tasmania’s forests over the last decade, as a finalist in the Australian of the Year awards and the Walkley awards for journalism. Matthew was a founding board member of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy established in 2001, a not for profit, non government, community based organisation that protects land for biodiversity in Tasmania. Through his images, Matthew has assisted the organisation in growing into one of Tasmania’s largest private landowners protecting Tasmania’s important natural areas.