A trip to Tasmania’s Bathurst Harbour with environmentalist Bob Brown inspired the composer’s piece for Diana Doherty.

In mid 2016 I was invited by Bob Brown, one of Australia’s leading environmentalists, to accompany him on a visit to Bathurst Harbour; a pristine waterway on the South West Coast of Tasmania contained within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Almost completely devoid of modern human intrusion, the area was the home of the Needwonneepeople for many thousands of years and is accessible only by boat, plane or foot.

Nigel Westlake and Bob Brown

It is a magical patchwork of button-grass moorlands, heathlands, and estuaries, bordered by jagged peaks, wild rivers and rugged coastlines.

My introduction to this place of exquisite beauty became the backdrop to my next project, an oboe concerto commission for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As I pondered the ensuing collaboration with soloist Diana Doherty (SSO Principal Oboe), the memories and significance of my expedition with Bob continued to infuse my consciousness, leaving fingerprints on the concerto score in subtle and mysterious ways.

As a young boy, my parents had introduced me to the wilds of Tasmania and I am...