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Nillumbik Shire Council

The Shire of Nillumbik is located less than 25 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, and has the Yarra River as its southern boundary. It extends 29 kilometres to Kinglake National Park in the north. The Shire stretches approximately 20 kilometres from the Plenty River and Yan Yean Road in the west to Christmas Hills and the Yarra escarpment in the east.

The Shire covers an area of 431.94 square kilometres and has an estimated population of 64,219 who live in close-knit communities which range from typical urban settings to remote and tranquil bush properties. There is also over 300 hectares of nature and recreation reserves, which does not include some areas of the Kinglake National Park in the north of the Shire.

Contact Information

web
http://https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Living-in/Arts-and-Cultural-Development/Art-Collection
phone
+61 9433 3131

Contact

Opening Hours

8.30am to 5.00pm weekdays

Entry Fee

Free

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Nillumbik Shire Council holds an important Visual Art Collection of over 400 works of art of contemporary and historical interest. The focus of the collection is on works of excellence that reference local content or are works of excellence from artists who live locally. Some notable artists represented within the Collection are Clifton Pugh, Rick Amor, Deborah Halpern, Matcham Skipper, John Young, David Wadelton, Walter Withers, Sue Ford, Adriane Strampp and George Baldessin. Nillumbik Shire Council also holds a Memorabilia and Public Art Collection with sixteen sculptures located in various public places throughout the Shire.

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425 items

425 items

Painting: Tony Harkin (b.1938 Aus) - Bush Study

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Landscape painting of "a pool of water" and its surrounding Australian bush landscape. May be a reference to the Black Dam near Dunmoochin, Cottles Bridge.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signed and dated lower right corner "Harkin 1982"

Prints (solar etchings): Christine JOHNSON (b. 1959 AUS) - Voyages Botanical

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Charcoal solander box with artwork title, artist name and flower motif in silver lettering bottom centre (edition 4/5). Catalogue: 52 colour pages. Solar plate engravings x 30; ink on paper. Series A: Ten multi-layered solar plate engravings (edition of 12); Series B: Ten flower images drawn from living specimens (edition of 12); Series C: Ten details from early botanical art engravings (open edition)

Historical information

Johnson undertook this project with a State Library of Victoria 'Creative Fellowship' in 2012, drawing on early botanical illustrations by Sydney Parkinson, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Ferdinand Bauer and others from the Library's 'Rare Books' Collection. Johnson printed this series in 2013 while working as artist in residence at Baldessin Press, St. Andrews.

Significance

'Voyages Botanical' celebrates the untamed treasures of Australia’s (Nillumbik) vast native flower garden. The work speaks to Nillumbik's natural environment and colonial heritage in the context of our national story.

Inscriptions & Markings

Charcoal solander box with artwork title, artist name and flower motif in silver lettering bottom centre. Solar plate engravings x 30: Series A, B: all prints have edition number '4/12' to bottom left of image, artwork title () centre and artist signature 'Christine Johnson 2014' to bottom right of image. Series C: all prints have artist initials signed 'CJ' bottom right of images. All inscriptions in pencil.

Sculpture: Augustine DALL'AVA - Still Plane

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Lynn QUINTAL (b.1952 Aus) - The Fleet

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Brian ARMSTRONG - Duet

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Oil on canvas painting depicting a 'Duet' scene with two children. One is shown playing the flute whilst the other is playing the piano. The painting is fashioned in sombre colours and muted tones, with alternating tones of violet prominent.

Historical information

Brian was born in Melbourne in 1949. Early life was spent in the stimulating bush environment in Montrose. Ramon Horsefield saw a spark and Brian began to paint in oils at the age of thirteen. He contunued tuition with Graham Moore, in class and at night classes. An Art Diploma at Swinburne was not completed. This did not crush his creative spirit and he resumed tuition with Graham Moore. Within a few years he was winning prizes. Many and varied jobs allowed him to survive whilst aspiring to become a full time painter and bring up his growing family. In 1977 Brian resigned from his last employment as a picture framer. He leased a shop in Main St, Mornington and set up classes. Brian taught painting and had his own studio behind the school. Later he was to move and build his "bushland gothic" home in North Warrandyte. Here he developed his reputation as a painter. Brian had his first solo exhibition in 1979. Many more were to follow. He has won many prizes, was a finalist in the 1992 Moran Portrait prize. The Alice Bale Scholarship which he won, entailed a year traveling and studying in Europe. Brian returned home in 1996. Sharing his skills with many students over the years, he taught privately and at various art societies. His oils, pastels and charcoals capture the light of landscape, portrails and nudes. In 2012 it will be thirty-five years since Brian has had a "real job". At times this has been really difficult. He is now semi retired after suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis for a decade. Now he paints what he loves to. His portraits capture the very essence of the sitter. In 2009 he remarried and moved back into the bushland of North Warrandyte.

Significance

'Duet' by Brian E. Armstrong was donated by the Artist to the Eltham Copper Butterfly Appeal Auction.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signed- Brian E. Armstrong '87 On label - artist's name: Brian E. Armstrong Address: 844.2925 Title of Painting: Duet Medium: Oil on canvas On Frame: 82 enclosed in circle. 31 1/2. C Enclosed in circle

Pottery (pot): Geoffrey DAVIDSON - Cork Lidded Container

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (lithograph): Alice Blanch CHEHOVSKI - Dunmoochin, Pond Reflecting Pugh

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Lithographic print in black and white depicting bushland and a pond reflecting light.

Historical information

Alice Blanch Chehovski was born in Queensland to a Russian mother and Polish father. When her father died leaving three small children to bring up on her own, her took them back to Russia to visit her own parents. In the following fateful year, Stalin came into power and the family was trapped by Russia closing its borders. At the age of twenty three, 1944, Alice entered Moscow's Institute of Decorative Arts and Applied Arts to study ceramics. Neither the subject of ceramics nor the academic drawing in fine pencil inspired her. At that time Moscow was surrounded by German troops, Russian culture was inhibited by the war and generally speaking it was not the time for arts. Alice said 'My soul and my hands were needed as a volunteer, to help the wounded soldiers survive'. Alice struggled through a lifetime of hardship and triumph before returning to her native land of Australia in 1981 at the age of 60.

Significance

This lithographic print is one of a set of ten produced at Dunmoochin at the time of Clifton Pugh.

Inscriptions & Markings

Bottom left of print: ed. no. '4/10' and work title. Bottom right of print: artist signature 'Alice Blanch '04'

Painting: David WADELTON (b.1955 VIC) - Looking

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Herman PEKEL (b.1956 Aus) - Queenscliffe Shop Study

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Doug WRIGHT (b.1944 Ballarat, VIC) - Head in the Land (Private Persons)

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Ceramic: Clifton PUGH, technician: Geoffrey DAVIDSON - Leda and the Emu

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Flat red background, black foliage. Leda is naked and sleeping with head resting in hand. Emu is to the left watching Leda. Drawing style is typical of Pugh’s work: linear, flat and gestural.

Historical information

Geoff Davidson arrived at Dunmoochin around 1968 and began living and working as an apprentice to the potter Robert Main, who was working in a studio rented to him by Clifton Pugh on the Dunmoochin property. When Robert left, Geoff moved into the studio and began collaborating with Clifton Pugh on many projects for a period of 25 years whereby Clifton would decorate pots made by Geoff. Geoff produce the ceramic panels for Leda and the Emu. He mixed and identified the glazes for Clifton, then fired the panels once he had finished painting. Three or four murals were produced in this way, one of which was purchased by Don Dunston (ex-Premier of South Australia) as a gift to his dying wife.

Significance

Dunmoochin derives its cultural and artistic heritage from the collaborative efforts of a group of artists who purchased land in Cottles Bridge in the early 1950’s. These artists (Pugh) pioneered one of the first artistic communes in Australia and created a lasting vision of how a community can gain knowledge and inspiration from living in a close relationship with nature. Pugh had explored the ‘Leda and the Swan’ mythological themes previously during the sixties in etchings and paintings, although he was more interested in referencing the original myth as allusions to other truths. Pugh was drawn to the Greek myth ‘Leda and the Swan’ in which Zeus transforms into a swan to seduce Leda. Pugh Australianised the myth so that Zeus transformed into an Emu rather than a Swan, and makes a gentle satirical comment on the sexual behaviour of the Australian male, whereby he sees a parallel between this and the proud yet awkward movements and naivety of our national bird. This particular theme was prevalent in Pugh's work right through the 60s and 70s. Leda and the Emu is a work by two prominent local artists (Clifton Pugh and Geoff Davidson) with a national and international reputation.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signed 'II Clifton'

Pottery (pot): ANONYMOUS - Cork Lidded Container (green)

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Public Art: Aleks DANKO - Not Just a Pretty Place

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Sculpture: Tony Trembath (b.1946 Sale, Victoria) - The Fences Act 1968 - Location: Edendale Farm (entrance) 30 Gastons Road, Eltham

Nillumbik Shire Council,

The work is an installation of wood and metal, approximately twenty five meters long. The design is very informal and rustic and runs the full width of the fence-line. It comprises groups of recycled tree trunks fitted with metal caps (chrome-nickel 'salt pots' that are shaped like tall bowler / top hats). Metal rods protrude from the trunks and some of these rods have metal birds. Two larger, sentinel-like stumps at the two outer ends have metal flame-like wings, which bend inward. To the left of the entrance, a simple architectural element indicates an isolated farmhouse. The rustic fence runs between the groups of tree trunks with native planting in clumps along it. The fence-line incorporates a functional engineered double gate and post and rail fencing. There may be many interpretations of the work and the intention is to stimulate interest and imagination rather than alienate. Interpretation is based on the personal experience that a visitor brings. The artist recommended that no explanation of the design logic be positioned with the work.

Historical information

Eltham Council (now the Shire of Nillumbik) commissioned this work in 1989 to create an entrance / gateway to Edendale Community Farm. It was also aided by a grant from the Ministry of the Arts (now Arts Victoria). The former name of this work was "Gateway to Edendale Farm". Edendale Farm is a demonstration farm modelling sustainable environmental practices, providing support to the local residents of Nillumbik. Established in 1986, the land was purchased in 1970. It was previously an English gentleman's residence and was used for grazing. It consists of 5.6 hectares, with the Diamond Creek meandering through the property. The Victorian Fences Act 1968 governs liability of occupiers of adjoining lands to fence, and deals with disputes between neighbours regarding boundaries fences and costs. This work took into consideration ideas and suggestions from residents and committees, who required the use of recycled materials and that the work celebrate man's relationship with nature, animals and the earth, as well as relate to the fence-line on the far side of the carpark. Trembath also absorbed significant aspects of local history, making references to Eltham's agricultural past, the clearing of the land, the destruction of trees, the ruthless pruning of trees by suburban Councils and incorporated such Australian features as the post and rail fence.

Significance

'The Fences Act 1968' is significant for aesthetic, historic and social reasons at a regional level. It makes prominent the historical and social significance of Edendale and the rural aspects of Nillumbik. The use of existing tree stumps and salt pots in the work explores the iconography of the countryside such as the isolated farmhouse, pioneering farming practices, post and rail fencing and the regrowth of lopped trees. The title of the work, as well as the extensive community involvement in its creation, also makes reference to the Victorian Fences Act 1968, which makes neighbours jointly responsible for the cost of construction and maintenance of fences in the partitioning of land for settlement. 'The Fences Act 1968' has been classified as of regional significance by the National Trust of Australia.

Inscriptions & Markings

N/A

Drawing (mixed media): Denise KEELE-BEDFORD - Artist Footprint 4

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (Lithograph): John BRACK (b.1920 - d.1999 Melb, AUS) - Nude in Profile '78 - The Bodford Terrace Suite

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Ceramic sculpture: Stefan SZONYI (b.1945 GER, arrived.1948 AUS) - Oh Henry

Nillumbik Shire Council,

ceramic (earthenware), glazes, music mechanism

Print (etching): Michael LEUNIG (b.1945 Vic, AUS) - ‘Pilgrim’ from 'The Baldessin & Friends' commemorative folio

Nillumbik Shire Council,

one colour (yellow) etching on Somerset paper. Thick lines weave in and out to produce a figure reminiscent of his 'curly flat' characters holding a long stem flower/vine.

Historical information

Michael Leunig is an Australian cartoonist, poet and cultural commentator. His best known works include The Adventures of Vasco Pyjama and the Curly Flats series. Leunig was declared one of Australian Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia in 1999. George Baldessin (1939-1978) was a printmaker and sculptor who built his bluestone studio at St Andrews (Nillumbik) in 1971 with his partner Tess and the three Hails brothers, Rob, Doug and Don. Made of recycled materials the studio today contains all of George’s equipment including the large press, which he modelled himself with the help of Neil Jeffrey (Enjay Presses). George won many prizes throughout his career and is represented in many of Australia's public art collections including his famous 'Pears' sculpture in front of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. In 1975 he represented Australia in the Sao Paulo Biennale, before living and working in Paris until his return to St Andrews in 1977. In 1978 George was killed in a car accident aged 39 years. In 2001 Tess returned to St Andrews to reclaim the run-down studio and reconstitute it as The Baldessin Press & Studio - a printmaking retreat. It operates in George’s memory, so that artists may continue to create, perpetuating the generous spirit of George.

William KELLY (b.NY, USA) arrived in Aus - Still Life with Blocks and Ball

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Pottery (jar): Bruce Davidson - Lidded Jar

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (acquatint): David ARMFIELD (b.1923 Melb. AUS-d.2010 AUS) - Silverton Cemetery

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Alan MARTIN (b.1923 - d.1989 AUS) - Eltham North

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Ceramics (jug): Tom SANDERS (b.1925 - d. 2007 AUS) - Jug - True love is never having to say Art-Politics

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Pottery (vase): Elsa ARDERN (b.1918 NZ-d.2006 AUS) - Purple Vase

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Piers BATEMAN (b.1947, Perth - d.2015, NSW) - Blackboys

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Oil on canvas painting. Detail of three grass trees resting on the side of a mountain/hill. Green and gold palette throughout depicting the colours and light of the Australian landscape.

Historical information

Piers Bateman was a local artist, held in very high esteem by his peers and community. He was born in Perth in 1947, moving to Eltham in 1955 as a young child with his family. In 1966 Bateman moved to London for eighteen months to develop his craft. In 1969 he settled in St Andrews, where he built a studio. The St Andrews locale is said to have been a strong influence on his work. Bateman’s talent was such that he was promoted and mentored by such ilk as Charles Blackman, Clifton Pugh and Arthur Boyd, among others. Bateman’s work is an intimate dialogue with the environment, renowned for his paintings of the outback, wilderness frontiers and the sea. He spent a year in the mid-seventies sailing the Greek Islands and the French canals to Amsterdam. In 1980 Bateman and Marcus Skipper embarked on a trans-Australian venture to the red centre and across northern Australia from Cairns to Broome. In the mid-eighties Bateman returned to the Mediterranean, before returning to the Australian outback in the late-eighties. His international career continued on an upwards trajectory between the Australian outback and European seas, providing a unique contrast throughout the course of his career. Bateman's work questions our relationship with the natural world, and in particular, reconciling our colonial heritage with our indigenous past. This line of questioning and his genuine response to place is the key to Piers Bateman’s work, for which he is lauded and celebrated. On September 4th 2015, Piers Bateman died in a boating accident on the NSW coast line.

Significance

Piers Bateman was an instinctive painter whose inspiration came from nature. He reworked and scraped off the paint, moving it around until forms and colours of the landscape took shape. Although Bateman lived in Spain and Italy, his time in Europe made him aware of the contrast between the two continents and the bright clear light that defined the Australian landscape. At the time of this work, Bateman was living in St. Andrews, but travelled regularly to New South Wales and South Australia on painting trips. The ‘Grass Tree’ Xanthorrhoea johnsonii (commonly known as ‘blackboy’) is indigenous to these areas. It is a uniquely Australian, slow growing plant with twenty-eight species growing within Australia. Old examples of this tree are survivors of many wild fires, which can cause their blackened trunk, of one to two metres, branch into two or more heads. These heads consist of thick, rough corky bark, surrounded by long, wiry leaves and flowers that produce seed capsules with hard black seeds. The tree’s ability to be one of the first to flower after a wild fire ensures a food source for many insects and birds.

Inscriptions & Markings

Hand written, low right in capitals: 'BATEMAN'

Collage: Elizabeth GOWER (b.1952 SA, AUS) - Cycles 11

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Kaleidoscope pattern of multiple segments (logos-Purina 'fancy feast') from commercial (food) catalogues on commercial packaging (cardboard - round lid).

Historical information

The 'Cycles' series is an extension of two large scale provisional installations '150 Rotations', Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, and '356 Rotations', AC Institute in New York, which also re-purposed and aestheticised multiple paper units into hundreds of circular motifs.

Significance

The immediate tactile connection with the material excesses and detritus of contemporary consumer culture informs the theoretical framework and conceptual understanding of Gower's practice, and associates her work with ideas of recovery and re-purpose, sustainable practice and thrift strategies that critique excesses of mass production and the notion of impermanence. This series was made ‘in transit’ during the artist’s recent studio residencies at Point[B], New York and Laughing Waters, Eltham, and at three temporary studios in Rome, Berlin and Collingwood.

Inscriptions & Markings

No inscriptions and markings

Photograph: Sue FORD - Clifton, Marlene Pugh, Dunmoochin

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Pottery (jug): Lesly MARTIN - Small kaki jug, brush decoration

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Pottery (terrine): Joan ARMFIELD and David ARMFIELD - Terrine with Lid

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Ceramics: Linda DE TOMA - Pods (set of two)

Nillumbik Shire Council,