From vibrating beds to infinity mirrors: motels that never left the 70s photo essay

Theres a sleazy relationship to a summary motel, and photographer Kate Berry has seen it her mission to capture regional Australias finest

And Victoria's Nathalia Motel

Picture the road trip: a Kingswood wagon or maybe a Fairmont. Olivia Newton John in the strip deck. Mum and Dad smoking in the front. The marginally cranked-open window only serving to corral the smoking into the back seat. When you pull up at a small-town motel, the race be participating in and start from one single couch to another is sweet succour from the past five hours of travel sickness.

Thirty-plus years later, you’re in the grip of a quite different various kinds of sickness- nostalgia. In the 19 th century, it was considered to be a malady so severe it might get you dedicated. But it’s the lifeblood of Kate Berry, the Melbourne-based the founding fathers of OK Motels: an Instagram account- and, more recently, a gig serial- celebrating and documenting the unique world of the regions Australian motels.


  • Werrigar roadhouse and motel, Warracknabeal, Victoria.

There’s a sleazy relationship to a summary motel, which is why they’re been a staple of Australian movies over the decades, from 1981′ s Roadgames, to 1997′ s Kiss or Kill, 2010′ s The Clinic and 2014′ s The Rover. Berry sets on gigs in these far-flung roadhouses. She had the idea on tours with her kids, when she discovered that numerous motels- and indeed townships- remained unchanged since her childhood.

” My father had a classic 1980 s occupation of photographing display residences ,” she says.” At that time they were in municipalities that no one wanted to go to- Traralgon, Moe, Shepparton. My brother and I would battle one another for the keys, to be the first one to envision the room .”



  • L-R The Murray View motel, Motel Dimboola in Victoria.

The idea to archive her own photos in the OK Motels Instagram account began on a holiday to Kangaroo Valley in 2012.” The first motel that became me stop in my racetracks was in Gundagai ,” she says, of the quintessential New South Wales country town most famed for its Dog on a Tuckerbox statue. Berry and her kids were immediately considered like family by the late owned of Auto Cabins, Marjorie Annetts, who took to calling Berry ” Strawberry “. The motel is a former petrol station,” so freaking original my nerve leaped out of my chest ,” says Berry.” I’ve scoured for motels in similar original circumstance since .”

Berry takes photos on her iPhone, for purposes of spontaneity.” The owners and administrators are a little wary of my passion to start with ,” she says,” but it doesn’t take long for them to see my desire is very and they get a real kick out of testifying me round and sharing stories .”





Berry is at anguishes to point out that she’s” not taking the piss” out of places the 70 s never left. Rather, she’s troubled by the idea of once-thriving country towns marooned by brand-new routes- a number of problems quite sinisterly expanded on in Shaun Prescott’s novel The Town, in which a writer sees the neglected spots of the central west of New South Wales and receives they are literally disappearing.

Her favourites include the El Toro Motel in Numurkah, Victoria, a Hacienda-style building with grey stucco exterior and an outdoor spiral staircase. It’s her dreaming hotel, she says, in a city 30 times outside of Shepparton that’s all 1950 s shopfronts. And Victoria’s Nathalia Motel& Holiday Park shortened her to weeping when she stepped into her area.” Everything is as it was, even the coin-operated vibrating couch ,” she says.” The little clue said something like’ To melt your perturbs away ‘. It was the noisiest thing .”

Then there’s the Charlton Motel. You can’t go past a bedroom with a spa incorporated into the wall, bookended by infinity reflects. There’s also a function room that has fallen into disrepair- and that triggered a new idea.


  • The Charlton Motel in Victoria

In August 2018, Berry took the bands Tropical F* ck Storm and Bitch Diesel to Charlton. Those were unfortunate identifies, she admits, for a Victorian municipality( popping: 1050) slightly suspicious of latte-sippin’ blow-ins. But despite selling no tickets to locals in advance, a good number of them slipped in through the kitchen of the Charlton Motel and wound up enjoying the action that way.

The bulk of the audience was made up of road-trippers from Melbourne, and Berry makes a level of advising them on sights the work requires interpret on the way:” Bridgewater has an ace op shop. Inglewood is full of extraordinary secondhand storages and it has an IGA for some snacks and travellers. And for the specific characteristics suitors, head up Mt Korong, just outside of Wedderburn ,” she posted on the website.

Next morning, punters were acted classic motel breakfasts on trays- tiny packet of cereal, eggs on toast, half a grapefruit- make use of Berry and her crew in the motel kitchen. No wonder people were keen to buy a commemorative shirt.

Read more: https :// artanddesign/ 2019/ impaired/ 19/ from-vibrating-beds-to-infinity-mirrors-motels-that-never-left-the-7 0s-photo-essay

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