Historical information

Bob Kelly paints landscapes of culturally significant sites along the Mornington Peninsula and depicts these locations as he imagines they originally were before colonisation. Using traditional Western painting techniques, Kelly records the underlying spirit of the Peninsula from a Wathaurong perspective.

Chinaman’s Creek in Capel Sound (Rosebud West) was an important watercourse that originally ran from Wonga (Arthur’s Seat) down through Tootgarook Swamp into Port Phillip Bay. It was a great fresh water and food source and home for many Boonwurrung people. Since settlement over 170 years ago, the creek has been drained, blocked, reconstructed and damaged. Kelly depicts a lush green landscape in which the clean creek water winds through the surrounding vegetation of spinifex grasses and gum trees, the background hills are abundant with trees, untouched from man's intervention.

Using painstaking detail, Kelly records each blade of grass and ripple on the surface of Chinaman’s Creek. His attention to detail serves to powerfully reimagine this important cultural site, returning it to its former pristine state, and reinvigorating its role as a key place of sustenance for the Indigenous populations of the Peninsula.

Chinaman's Creek was a finalist in the 2017 Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize.

Physical description

oil and acrylic on canvas