Hugh McLachlan sculpts, paints and creates beautiful jewellery from his rural haven in Tasmania.

Story + Photos Andrew Bain 

It could be almost any farm shed in the country. Inside its corrugated-iron walls, tools lay strewn on a wooden bench near an anvil, and a dartboard hangs beside a welding mask. All that sets the shed apart is a large stainless-steel sculpture that seems almost to drip from a workbench in the style so characteristic of its creator, Hugh McLachlan. 

For days, Hugh has stood over this bench, polishing the sculpture to achieve a gleam more akin to silver. “And that’s working like a tradesman,” Hugh says of those days. “In doing this, you have to think like an artist and work like a tradesman.”

It’s a mix of skills that doesn’t feel unusual to this son of a country blacksmith, who grew up as practical as he did artistic, a combination that permeates almost everything he touches.

From a series of studios on his 20-hectare property just outside the northern Tasmanian town of Deloraine, Hugh designs and creates high-end jewellery, as well as sculptures and paintings. He constructed the studios himself, including almost everything in them, and rebuilt the property’s old farmhouse, which he and his wife Mary inherited as a run-down shell choked with blackberries from one of Mary’s relatives in the late 1970s. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #114

Outback Magazine: August/September 2017