44 matches for themes: 'aboriginal culture','family histories'Diverse state (198) Aboriginal culture (38) Built environment (45) Creative life (66) Family histories (9) Gold rush (11) Immigrants and emigrants (36) Kelly country (3) Land and ecology (34) Local stories (63) Service and sacrifice (18) Sporting life (8)
After convict William Buckley’s escape from a Victorian settlement he was discovered by the Wathaurang people who thought this pale, 198cm giant carrying a spear was the ghost of one of their leaders.
Buckley had arrived at Port Phillip from England in 1803 with about 300 soldiers, settlers and convicts after being sentenced to transportation for life. Before the Port Phillip and Sullivan Bay (Victoria’s first official European settlement) settlement was abandoned, Buckley escaped. He wandered alone for weeks before he was befriended by the Wathaurang people.
Over the next 32 years Buckley lived with the Wathaurang, learnt their language and customs, married and had a daughter. In 1835 he finally emerged to meet Batman’s colonising party and tried to work as an intermediary between settlers and aborigines, but felt he wasn’t trusted by either.
His name lives on in Australian slang with the ironic saying “you’ve got Buckley’s chance” or “Buckley’s hope”.
Further material can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site:-
William Buckley's Escape
Buckley and the Aborigines
Buckley's return to European life
The Dreamer & the Cheerful Thing
Some months after my grandfather Bob Snape’s death in 1977 I collected two old trunks full of memorabilia from his last home, in Sandringham.
What a treasure it turned out to be: jammed full of papers, comprising correspondence, diaries, short stories, a poem or two, much of it typed, some of it hand-written, some official-looking documents and some music scores roughly sorted into manila folders, and a variety of souvenirs and ephemera. There were also half a dozen ordnance maps, aerial photographs of some Western Front battlefields and some battered old albums containing postcards, of WW1 France and Belgium, but also of England and Wales. These have since been catalogued on the Warrnambool RSL Victorian Collections page.
Bob’s treasure trove tells the story of his experiences during the war, and that of his younger brother Harold who also fought. Bob was a prolific correspondent and diarist, whilst Harold’s own tiny pocket diary alone ran to approximately 40,000 words. Near the end of his life, Bob told me, “You can burn the lot for all I care. You decide when I’m gone....”
Walter J.R. Barber
Images of Melbourne
Explore Melbourne through selected works from the National Gallery of Victoria.
These artworks capture phases of the city's development, and offer a portrait of the people, places and streetscapes that define it.
Rippon Lea Estate
"Do you remember the garden in which you grew up, or the part the backyard played in your family life? Imagine if you had actually grown up in one of Australia's finest gardens.
Created in the English-landscape tradition which traces its roots back to Capability Brown and Humphry Repton, Rippon Lea is one of Australia's most important historic homes, exemplifying the lifestyle of wealthy families living in 19th and 20th century Australian cities. Although its architecture and that of its outbuildings is impressive, it is the mansion’s gardens, which are truly remarkable, both for their landscape qualities and because they have survived many threats and changes in the past 130 years.
Today, the amenities offered by a typical garden are still greatly valued: a safe place for children to play, somewhere to dry the washing, a plot for vegetables and a flower garden that adds colour and produces blooms for the home. Today as then, the scale differs but the experience of owning a garden - with its balance of utility and ornament - is essentially the same.
The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) now runs Rippon Lea as a museum, conserving the architecture and the landscape, and presenting the social history of the owners and their servants. Visitors to Rippon Lea enter a mansion preserved as the Jones family lived in it after their 1938 modernisation. In the pleasure garden the Sargood era is evoked by the staging of a range of performing arts events including opera, theatre, chamber music and outdoor activities."
The text above has been abstracted from an essay Solid Joys and Lasting Treasure: families and gardens written by Richard Heathcote for the publication The Australian Family: Images and Essays. The entire text of the essay is available as part of this story.
This story is part of The Australian Family project, which involved 20 Victorian museums and galleries. The full series of essays and images are available in The Australian Family: Images and Essays published by Scribe Publications, Melbourne 1998, edited by Anna Epstein. The book comprises specially commissioned and carefully researched essays with accompanying artworks and illustrations from each participating institution.
Panorama: A question of perspective
TarraWarra Museum of Art is located in the picturesque Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia.Visitors to the Museum are afforded a spectacular, resonant and panoramic experience of ‘nature’ through the north facing windows. The view stretches towards the distant Toolangi rainforest across planted vines, native bushland and farmland.
The region is surrounded by a spectacular mountain range that includes Mt Baw Baw, Mt Donna Buang, Mt Juliet, Mt Riddell and Mt Toolebewong. As these names attest, we are situated in an area of significant Indigenous history and colonisation. Tarrawarra is a Wurundjeri word that translates approximately as ‘slow moving water’ and is the name given to the area in which the Museum is located.
The Yarra Valley sunsets, soundscapes, seasonal changes, Indigenous histories, ecological vulnerabilities and environmental challenges are in a complex and ever changing entanglement. Since 2012, the Museum has explored this context through special exhibitions and commissions, forums and performances, screenings and lectures. As such, the Museum has sought to understand the complexity of our site, and with that, the broader intersections between art and landscape. Artists provide us the opportunity to ‘see’ the landscape in a different way. They imagine it, call it into being, reflect upon it, animate it, unravel its hidden histories, and expose its ecological sensitivities.
Panorama, the exhibition, was an integral part of this ongoing conversation and imaginative exploration. Our intention was not so much to write a narrative history of Australian landscape painting. Rather, it was to be attuned to the intermingling of voices, points of view, perspectives - colonial and modern, contemporary and Indigenous – that comprise the uniquely Australian persistence to unravel the ‘patter’ of nature.
As a phenomenon to which we are all very accustomed, it is easy to overlook the simple fact that for a landscape to come into being it requires a ‘point of view’, a subjective consciousness to frame a particular expanse of the natural world. As the art historian Simon Schama remarks in his landmark survey on the genre, Landscape and Memory, ‘it is our shaping perception that makes the difference between raw matter and landscape’. [i] The centrality of the viewer’s position in constructing a vista is clearly evident in terms such as ‘perspective’, ‘prospect’, and ‘view point’ which are synonymous with ‘position’, ‘expectation’, and ‘stance’. This highlights that there is always an ineluctable ideological dimension to the landscape, one that is intimately entwined with a wide range of social, economic, cultural and spiritual outlooks. Turning to the notion of the panorama, a brief survey of its conception and infiltration into everyday speech, reveals how our way of seeing the landscape is often tantamount to the formation and delineation of our personal, communal, and national identities.
The term panorama was first coined to describe the eponymous device invented by the British painter Robert Barker which became a popular diversion for scores of Londoners in the late 18th century. Consisting of a purpose built rotunda-like structure on whose cylindrical surface landscape paintings or historical scenes were displayed, ‘The Panorama’ contained a central platform upon which viewers observed the illusionistic spectacle of a sweeping 360 degree vista. With its ambitious, encyclopaedic impulse to capture and concentrate an entire panoply of elements into a singular view, it is telling that this construction would soon give rise to an adjective to describe, not only an expansive view extending in all directions, but also a complete and comprehensive survey of a subject. As the curators Jean-Roch Bouiller and Laurence Madeline argue, these different meanings convey ‘the very essence of the panoramic phenomenon: the central role of perspective, a certain appropriation of the world that follows, the feeling of dominating a situation simply due to having a wide and complete view’.[ii] Indeed, as art historian Michael Newman reveals, the whole notion of the panorama originated in military conceptions of the landscape as a battlefield, whereby strategic vantage points are key to tactical planning.[iii] Underlying its transformation into a form of popular entertainment, the panorama is rooted in a particular form of political authority based on surveying, mapping and commanding the subject of the view.
In this exhibition, the term panorama was invoked to acknowledge that ways of perceiving the landscape have their own histories which have arisen out of particular social, political and cultural contexts. As the landscape architect Anne Whiston Spirn contends: ‘In every landscape are ongoing dialogues; there is “no blank slate”; the task is to join the conversation’.[iv]However, far from claiming to present an unbroken view or a complete survey, Panorama challenged the very notion of a single, comprehensive monologue by presenting a series of works which engaged with the discourse of landscape in a diverse range of voices. Taking advantage of the tremendous depth and strength of the TarraWarra Museum of Art collection gifted by its founders Eva Besen AO and Marc Besen AC, the exhibition was staged in two parts, with a different selection of paintings exhibited in each half. Displayed in distinct groupings which explored alternative themes and concerns, Panorama highlighted the works of key artists who have redefined, expanded and interrogated the idea of the landscape in ways which suggest that it is far from settled.
[i] Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory, New York: Vintage Books, 1996, p. 10.
[ii] Jean-Roch Bouiller and Laurence Madeline, Introductory text for the exhibition I Love Panoramas, MuCEM and the Musées d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva, 4 November 2015 - 29 February 2016, URL: http://www.mucem.org/en/node/4022
[iii] See ‘The Art Seminar’ in Landscape Theory, (eds. Rachael Ziady DeLue and James Elkins), New York and London: Routledge, 2008, p. 130.
[iv] Anne Whiston Spirn, ‘“One with Nature”: Landscape, Language, Empathy and Imagination’ in Landscape Theory, 2008, p. 45.
Lorraine Northey Connelly
Once a symbol of cultural survival, traditional crafts have in recent years become a means of reaffirming cultural identity.
In the hands of Waradgerie artist Lorraine Northey Connelly, this rich tradition undergoes further reinterpretation. She transforms woven string baskets and coolamons into contemporary colonial artefacts, using rustic materials, synthetic paint, ochre painted on sheets of corrugated iron, scrap metals and wire netting: expressive of a shared history and her own heritage of mixed cultures.
Over the past fourteen years Lorraine has been re-discovering her childhood environments, namely the mallee and riverine, acquiring a knowledge of local native and introduced plants and their cultural uses. Lorraine's personal interest in the protection of the environment and equality for all is represented in her art, through the use of recycled materials and symbols of reconciliation.
Land and Spirit
Land and Spirit are inseparable, providing the foundation of all that sustains us.
The videos include excerpts from "Lady of the Lake"- Gunditjmara Elder Aunty Iris Lovett-Gardiner's accounts of Lake Condah Mission and Indigenous experiences there and excerpts from the film "Wominjeka (Welcome)", "Baranjuk" about Uncle Wally Cooper a Yorta Yorta Elder and Colin Walker senior.
Further material can be found at the State Library of Victoria's Ergo site: Native Title and the Yorta Yorta claim
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images of deceased persons and images of places that could cause sorrow.
From Here and There
From Here & There is a cultural exchange and story telling project through making.
The project connects contemporary art and design practice with traditional Indigenous cultures and artefacts to tell a story that explores the past and the present; dislocation and home; community and identity.
Designer & artist, Philippa Abbott engaged with two Victorian indigenous weavers – Master weaver Aunty Marilyne Nicholls & Journey woman Donna Blackall - to learn their process of weaving. The process entailed going out on to Country to collect materials, visiting their homes and families and tracing current cultural identity through understandings of place, of recent family movement, clan lineage and through the weaving technique itself.
By learning the weaving technique the collaboration then looks to develop a new artefact together that explores current and future story creation.
The process was a collaboration with, and documented by, Greta Costello – a Melbourne based photographic artist working in cross-cultural dialogues.
The McIntyre Family
The First World War was an event that involved the whole world.
Thousands of Australian troops were sent into battle in support of Britain and France. Among them were two brothers, John and Jim McIntyre. John McIntyre's experiences are particularly well documented because he brought back many objects from all the places he visited. He also sent many postcards home to his family during the war.
John Lachlan McIntyre was born at Beeac, Victoria in December 1890. He enlisted in the 1st AIF in July 1915. John fought on the Western Front, taking part in the battles of Fromelles and the 2nd Battle of the Somme. He was severely wounded at Fromelles and spent 12 months in hospital in England before returning to the front.
Meerreeng-an Here Is My Country
The following story presents a selection of works from the book Meerreeng-an Here is My Country: The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art
Meerreeng-an Here is My Country: The Story of Aboriginal Victoria Told Through Art tells the story of the Aboriginal people of Victoria through our artworks and our voices.
Our story has no beginning and no end. Meerreeng-an Here is My Country follows a cultural, circular story cycle with themes flowing from one to the other, reflecting our belief in all things being connected and related.
Our voices tell our story. Artists describe their own artworks, and stories and quotes from Elders and other community members provide cultural and historical context. In these ways Meerreeng-an Here Is My Country is cultural both in its content and in the way our story is told.
The past policies and practices of European colonisers created an historic veil of invisibility for Aboriginal communities and culture in Victoria, yet our culture and our spirit live on. Meerreeng-an Here Is My Country lifts this veil, revealing our living cultural knowledge and practices and strengthening our identity.
The story cycle of Meerreeng-an Here Is My Country is presented in nine themes.
We enter the story cycle by focusing on the core cultural concepts of Creation, Country, culture, knowledge and family in the themes 'Here Is My Country' and 'Laws for Living'.
The cycle continues through ceremony, music, dance, cloaks, clothing and jewellery in 'Remember Those Ceremonies' and 'Wrap Culture Around You'. Land management, foods, fishing, hunting, weapons and tools follow in 'The Earth is Kind' and 'A Strong Arm and A Good Eye'.
Invasion, conflict and resilience are explored in 'Our Hearts Are Breaking'. The last two themes, 'Our Past Is Our Strength' and 'My Spirit Belongs Here', complete the cycle, reconnecting and returning the reader to the entry point by focusing on culture, identity, Country and kin.
Visit the Koorie Heritage Trust website for more information on Meerreeng-an Here Is My Country
New Arrivals and Diaspora
From Colonial Settlers in the 1800s, to recent arrivals; from expatriate artists to artists that grapple with identity, politics and place: these works from the National Gallery of Victoria explore one of the great themes of Australian Art, revolving around the migrant experience, distance, identity, race and nationhood.
History Teachers Association Victoria / Heide Museum of Modern Art
Yingabeal: Indigenous geography at Heide
Yingabeal is the name of a scarred tree in the grounds of Heide Museum of Modern Art in the suburb of Bulleen, Victoria.
Before Heide became an art gallery, it was the home of John and Sunday Reed. They were patrons of the arts who arrived at the property in 1934 and created a place where artists could come to work. After they died, their house became the Heide Museum of Modern Art, a gallery that displays Australian art, including the collection that the Reeds built up in their lifetime.
But for thousands of years before the arrival of the Reeds, the land belonged to the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. Scarred trees are those that have been permanently marked by Indigenous communities using their bark to make tools or equipment.
Koorie Heritage Trust
Indigenous Stories about Sport
Less well known is the fact that the first Australian cricket team to tour Britain was an all-Aboriginal team in 1868.
Against the express wishes of the Board of Protection of Aborigines, the Aboriginal 11 was smuggled aboard a ship bound for Sydney and then Britain. Between May and October 1868 they played 47 matches in Britain - they won 14, lost 14 and drew 19, a creditable outcome. A non-Aboriginal Australian team did not tour Britain until ten years later.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons, and images of places that could cause sorrow.
From the nuclear to the extended family, from groups of close friends, communities and neighbourhoods, to one on one relationships: family means many different things to different people.
Family describes our most cherished, and sometimes most difficult, relationships. In this collection of digital stories and videos, Victorians share their family stories.
Family stories include stories of immigration; disadvantage and survival, indigenous life, stories of sickness and health; life and death; childhood and old age.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that some of the videos in this story may contain images of deceased persons and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Possum Skin Cloaks
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are warned that this material may contain images and voices of deceased persons, and images of places that could cause sorrow.
Continuing the practice of making and wearing possum skin cloaks has strengthened cultural identity and spiritual healing in Aboriginal communities across Victoria.
Embodying 5,000 years of tradition, cultural knowledge and ritual, wearing a possum skin cloak can be an emotional experience. Standing on the barren escarpment of Thunder Point with a Djargurd Wurrong cloak around his shoulders, Elder Ivan Couzens felt an enormous sense of pride in what it means to be Aboriginal.
In this story, eight Victorian Elders are pictured on Country and at home in cloaks that they either made or wore at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
In a series of videos, the Elders talk about the significance of the cloaks in their lives, explain the meanings of some of the designs and motifs, and reflect on how the cloaks reinforce cultural identity and empower upcoming generations.
Uncle Ivan’s daughter, Vicki Couzens, worked with Lee Darroch, Treahna Hamm and Maree Clarke on the cloak project for the Games. In the essay, Vicki describes the importance of cloaks for spiritual healing in Aboriginal communities and in ceremony in mainstream society.
Traditionally, cloaks were made in South-eastern Australia (from northern NSW down to Tasmania and across to the southern areas of South Australia and West Australia), where there was a cool climate and abundance of possums. From the 1820s, when Indigenous people started living on missions, they were no longer able to hunt and were given blankets for warmth. The blankets, however, did not provide the same level of waterproof protection as the cloaks.
Due to the fragility of the cloaks, and because Aboriginal people were often buried with them, there are few original cloaks remaining. A Gunditjmara cloak from Lake Condah and a Yorta Yorta cloak from Maiden's Punt, Echuca, are held in Museum Victoria's collection. Reproductions of these cloaks are held at the National Museum of Australia.
A number of international institutions also hold original cloaks, including: the Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC), the Museum of Ethnology (Berlin), the British Museum (London) and the Luigi Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography (Rome).
Cloak-making workshops are held across Victoria, NSW and South Australia to facilitate spiritual healing and the continuation of this traditional practice.
Stories of World War 1, World War 2 and the Vietnam War as told by Geelong residents.
During World War 1 and World War 2 Geelong residents - whether joining the Armed Forces as soldiers, nurses, pilots, or helping out at home on projects such as the Australian Women’s Land Army - were swept up in the action. Motivated by youthful enthusiasm, the desire for adventure, and intense feelings of patriotism, they joined in hordes. For many, however, the war was not what they expected.
The Geelong Voices Oral History Project was established in 2001. The project collected recordings of diverse programs broadcast by a range of groups - including multicultural groups, women’s groups, trade unions, Aboriginal groups, youth groups and Senior Citizen’s groups - on 3YYR, Geelong Community Radio from 1988 to 2000.
Keeping in Touch and Koori Hour were two such programs. Keeping In Touch was a nostalgic program hosted by Gwlad McLachlan. Gwlad conducted interviews delving into historical aspects of Geelong and Geelong West, including world scale events such as WW1 and WW2, that shaped both the city and its people.
Koori Hour was a Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative Radio Program hosted by a range of people including Richard Fry and Gwenda Black, and consisted of talk about community activities, messages to friends and family, music and discussions about current events. One such event was the launch of “Forgotten Heroes” a book about the overlooked contribution of Aboriginal people to the Australian Armed Forces.
Over 200 of these interviews were recorded off the radio by Gwlad’s neighbour and her husband, Colin. Many of these recordings have been preserved and are available to listen to in digital format at the State Library of Victoria and the Geelong Heritage Centre.