George & Charis Schwarz - Highlights of the Road

Exhibition: 30 June to 31 July, 2004

George & Charis Schwarz

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In 1965 George Schwarz & his partner Charis bought a BMW R50 motorbike and rode it 45 000 kilometres across the world. They carried only spare parts and a sleeping bag each, sharing shirts and one toothbrush. Most of the time they slept outside or in abandoned houses.

Throughout their journey George photographed the people and places they encountered. Now, almost 40 years on, these images capture the spirit of the times and of adventure. They have a wonderful 1960's colour palette. When George and Charis appear, clad in leather, with their customised bike (nicknamed DU after its numberplate) they seem incredibly sexy and ahead of their time.

Now approaching their 70's and still riding the same veteran motorcycle Charis & George drew on a cache of old records and a revitalised fund of precious memories to self-publish an account of their journey Highlights of the Road. The memoir, written by Charis with photographs by George takes the reader from the little Spanish village where they met, through the East to Melbourne, from Port Said to Tangier and from Montreal to Buenos Aires. Their words and images describe the narrow escapes, near disasters, joys and raptures of their journey.

Du, the infamous bike, will be featured as part of the exhibition.

The profits of this venture will go to a fund for the rehabilitation of motorbike accident victims to be administered by St Vincent's Pubic Hospital.