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Artwork - Panoramic View of Kew and Abbotsford from the garden of Rockingham, 1952 / by V Maloney

From the Collection of Kew Historical Society Inc 1 Civic Drive & 188 High Street Kew Victoria

View of Abbotsford from the garden of Rockingham (1952) was created by V Maloney, whose vantage point was the garden of Rockingham, one of two mansions overlooking the Yarra owned by the Syme family. The artwork depicts a number of sites - especially factories - that have since been demolished.
Object Registration
rockingham red cross convalescent home, hospitals - kew (vic), rosemary lade, art therapy
Historical information
The extensive formal landscaped gardens of Rockingham had been created in the 1860s, and by the 1950s remained bordered to the south by the Barkers Road cutting, and to the north by Blytheswood, the neighbouring Syme family property, By 1940, the Syme family were no longer the occupiers of Rockingham. John Herbert Syme had died in October 1939, and by August the following year, his wife had made the house and garden available, rent free to the Red Cross as a convalescent home for Australian soldiers injured in the Second World War. At the time, the house was described as containing twenty rooms, including a ballroom and a billiards room, with a garden of eight acres overlooking the Yarra. The task of renovating the house to conform to its new function as a convalescent home took a year, finally opening in August 1941. Community support for Rockingham was widespread and included the decision by the National Gallery of Victoria to loan pictures from its collection to decorate the walls. Calls were made for women around Victoria to donate fruit and vegetables from their gardens, which the railways agreed to freight for free. Other local support included the work by a team of boys to establish a three-acre vegetable garden within the formal terraced gardens. From the beginning, occupational therapy formed a key component of the rehabilitation of psychologically injured soldiers. This is confirmed by contemporary newspaper accounts of weaving, ironwork, leatherwork, basketry and gardening by patients. Numerous photographs, held by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the State Library of Victoria (SLV), record the importance of these rehabilitation activities. The painting of the view across the river to Abbotsford may have been painted in one of these occupational therapy sessions. For many decades it hung in the occupational therapy room. It must have been on view following the sale of Rockingham by the Syme family to the Red Cross in 1955, and subsequently, until the house was demolished and its grounds finally subdivided in 1977.
When Made
Made By
V Maloney (Maker)
The artwork is an historically significant representation of the skyline of Abbotsford and Melbourne in 1952. It is also significant as it is probably a work of art by a former soldier undertaking art therapy in a program in a Red Cross convalescent facility. The painting was donated by a former occupational therapist who worked at Rockingham.
Inscriptions & Markings
Signed by the artist, lower right "V Maloney"
Last updated
26 Jan 2020 at 11:17AM