74 matches for themes: 'creative life','family histories'Diverse state (199) 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 (64) Service and sacrifice (19) Sporting life (8)
Mark S. Holsworth
Art at Flinders Street Station
The average commuter passing through Flinders Street Station could remain blissfully unaware for their entire lives of anything more artistic in the station than the endless advertising images.
However, as befitting any major public building, there is some commissioned art at Flinders Street Station.
Reinventing the Brass Band
MORELAND CITY BAND - and its antecedents in Brunswick and Coburg - has been pumping out brassy tunes since 1882. Originally developed as an essential civic instrumentality (pun intended), the band has long served to enliven parades, festivals and ceremonial events. At the Moreland Band Hall in Brunswick there’s a gallery of photographs and a cabinet of trophies reflecting this illustrious history of community music making.
In more recent decades community interest in traditional brass bands has waned. The brass band isn’t dead, but at least in Moreland it was an institution in serious need of reinvention. So in 2008, facing what seemed to be a terminal decline, the Band embarked on a process of transformation, working to attract new ideas, new people and new energy. Since that time, Moreland City Band has created a whole new model for what a community band might be.
The reinvented Band maintains the best aspects of the local band tradition, supporting musicians of all abilities to play and develop. The band still performs at local festivals and events, but it’s no longer simply a brass band. Under the energetic direction of trumpet maestro Scott Tinkler, the MCB Phoenix Project has arisen from the ashes of a traditional British-style brass band to embrace more diverse instrumentation and a broader, more original musical repertoire. There’s also a resident learner’s group (the MCB Krysallis Band) and a wide range of other ensembles practicing and performing every day and night of the week: big bands, jazz groups, African drummers, ukulele ensembles, avant-garde composers and arrangers, brass choirs, youth bands and others.
It’s dynamic, open and inclusive, deliberately blurring boundaries between musical genres and between professional and amateur musicians. Moreland City Band ensembles include players aged under ten through to musicians in their eighties, and people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds.
The band’s home at Cross Street in Brunswick is a rehearsal space, a performance venue, a recording studio, a music library and still, in some ways, an old-fashioned band hall, all rolled into one.
New players are always welcome - www.morelandcityband.com
Additional recordings by the MCB Phoenix Project can be heard at: https://www.reverbnation.com/morelandcityband/songs
Moreland City Band acknowledges the ongoing support of Moreland City Council.
Sound in Space
Music always interacts with the architecture in which it is heard.
Melbourne has some wonderful acoustic environments. Often, these spaces were built for other purposes – for example the splendid public and ecclesiastical buildings from the first 100 years of the city’s history, and more recent industrial constructions.
Exploiting ‘non-customized’ spaces for musical performance celebrates and explores our architectural heritage.
For 30 years, the concerts of Astra Chamber Music Society have ranged around Melbourne’s architectural environment. Each concert has had a site-specific design that takes advantage of the marvellous visual qualities, spatial possibilities, and acoustic personality of each building.
The music, in turn, contributes a new quality to the perception of the buildings, now experienced by audiences as a sounding space - an area where cultural issues from music’s history are traversed, and new ideas in Australian composition are explored.
In this story take a tour of some of Melbourne’s intimate, hidden spaces and listen to the music that has filled their walls.
For further information about Astra Chamber Music Society click here.
Marianne Gibson's Crazy Patchwork Quilt
In 1876, the Japanese Pavilion at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition caused quite a stir. It featured ceramics and other art objects that were asymmetrical, or “crazed”. Whilst the interest created in America was telling of the whole mood of modernism (which questioned and reformed traditional aesthetic ideas), its effect on the everyday lives of women was seen in the groundswell of support for crazy patchworking (also known as crazy quilting).
Crazy patchwork became a hugely popular ‘craze’ that lasted until the 1920s, with women’s publications full of the opinions of both followers and protestors. Crazy patchwork is differs considerably from traditional patchwork quilting: where traditional patchwork is batted, or filled, and composed of precise patches arranged into neat and sometimes complex geometric patterns, crazy patchwork consists of uneven patches that are composed of any variety of fabrics (especially exotic fabrics at the start of the craze) and are embellished with all sorts of trimmings: lace, embroidery, buttons, ribbons. In addition to this crazy patchwork quilts are very personalised.
Crazy quilts broke all the rules of traditional quilts and were highly experimental and creative: makers were not afraid to use clashing colours or to cover every surface with designs. Cushions and pillows were also made to the style. It was through this craze and Victorian women’s domestic creative work that modernism was ushered into the home.
Marianne Gibson was born in Armagh, Ireland in 1837. As a young woman she and her sister accompanied their uncle to Australia and settled in Wangaratta. In 1864 Marianne married Alexander McCullen Gibson, who operated a successful general store.
Marianne’s skill with needlepoint, her access to fine fabrics of the day, including silks and European lace, and her creative instinct can all be seen in the remarkable Crazy Patchwork Quilt known as the Marianne Gibson Quilt. Replete with Australian motifs, including flora and birdlife, and personal symbols, such as tributes to a child she lost, the quilt is dated and signed by Marianne, indicating both her creative ownership and her intention for the quilt to be kept as an heirloom.
It is precisely because it was honoured as an heirloom that it survives in such condition to this day. Donated to the collection of the Wangaratta Historical Society by Alma Gard, it is one the finest and best-preserved crazy patchwork quilts from the Victorian era in the world.
Hamilton Gallery / Public Galleries Association of Victoria
From Watercolours to Decorative Arts
Bequests have been critical to Victoria’s regional galleries, with the wealth generated from farming and the discovery of gold in leading to the establishment and the continuous expansion from colonial times through to today.
Hamilton Art Gallery was established through a bequest from a local grazier, Herbert Buchanan Shaw. The Shaw Bequest consisted of paintings and prints, European silver and glass as well as English, Chinese and Japanese ceramics dating from the 18th century.
Ten years after it was established, Hamilton Art Gallery acquired a group of watercolours by 18th century painter Paul Sandby through a grant from the state government. An upper floor was added to the gallery to accommodate these works.
The collection has continued to grow through gifts, grants and bequests. The original bequest of 870 items has expanded to 8,500 items, making Hamilton Art Gallery one of the largest and most diverse regional gallery collections in Australia, spanning watercolours to decorative arts.
Today, the gallery is divided into six spaces – upstairs you will find the Sandby collection, Asian art, the Print room and Australian art, while on the ground floor you will discover the Shaw Gallery of decorative arts and the Ashworth Gallery for travelling exhibitions.
Featured here is a selection of works from the gallery’s collection – from watercolours by Paul Sandy to world class examples of decorative arts together with work by Australian artists dating from the 19th century to contemporary times. Watch a video to learn about the initial Shaw Bequest and experience the richness and diversity of Hamilton Art Gallery’s collection acquired through the generosity of benefactors and governments over the past fifty years.
The Last Yarn
The Last Yarn, a digitisation project, has supported the photography of key nineteenth-century works in the NGV’s Australian fashion and textiles collection for access through our online collection database.
Giving the garments a life beyond the archive, the project acknowledged the appeal of recent exhibitions such as Australian Made (2010) and Fashion Detective (2014) which investigated aspects of historical dress.
Now over 50 additional works have been catalogued, given new underpinnings, photographed and uploaded so that audiences elsewhere in the world can discover the local dressmakers, tailors and retailers who defined early Australian style.
Textiles and Fibre Art
Established in 1968, Ararat Regional Art Gallery has a unique collection of textiles and fibre art dating from the 1970s, '80s and '90s through to now.
The gallery started collecting work in the 70’s arising from Australia’s growing craft movement – including glass and ceramics. A decision was later made to focus the collection on textiles to reflect the region’s historical association with fine merino wool production. The gallery now has over 1,200 items in its collection, with pivotal works by leading Australian and international artists working in fibre and textiles.
Textiles have been woven from fibre to create clothing and other items since prehistoric times. The 1960’s were a time of great change, with feminism entering the general lexicon and encouraging a questioning of the status quo. Initially aligned with 'women’s work', textiles have become a rich field for both male and female artists to examine gendered roles and social mores, as well as the boundaries of artistic practice.
Ararat Regional Art Gallery’s collection provides an invaluable history of textiles and fibre arts, and in doing so, it maps the influential role fibre and textiles have played in extending the boundaries both of visual art and social parameters.
Contemporary works featured in the gallery’s collection continue this tradition, with Lucas Grogan’s hand embroidered quilt offering a critique of contemporary culture.
Featured here are twenty representative works from the gallery’s textile and fibre art collection. Watch a video to learn about the history of Ararat Regional Art Gallery’s collection and see works by artists John Corbett (Australia), Olga de Amaral (Columbia), Tony Dyer (Australia), Kate Just (USA/Australia), Sebastian Di Mauro (Australia) and Yvonne Koolmatrie (Australia/Ngarrandjeri).
The Elliott Collection
Mildura Arts Centre was founded on one of Australia's most remarkable and generous bequests.
Senator 'R.D.' and Mrs Hilda Elliott's collection of mainly British and Australian art has provided Mildura Arts Centre with intriguing and significant works by such artists as William Orpen, Edgar Degas, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Glyn Philpot and Frank Brangwyn: artists, for the most part, from a world about to swamped by the tides of modernism and the avant-garde.
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.
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.
World War One: Coming Home
From 1920 until 1993, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre operated first as Bundoora Convalescence Farm and then as Bundoora Repatriation Hospital.
For more than seventy years, it was home to hundreds of returned servicemen. These men were not only physically damaged by their wartime experiences, their mental health was also dramatically affected. Despite the severe trauma, sometimes it took years or decades for the conditions to emerge.
For some servicemen, this meant being unable to sleep, hold down a job, maintain successful relationships or stay in one place, whilst others experienced a range of debilitating symptoms including delusions and psychosis. While these men tried to cope as best they could, they were rarely encouraged to talk openly about what they had seen or done. The experience of war haunted their lives and the lives of their families as they attempted to resume civilian life.
At this time, there was little understanding around trauma and mental health. For some returned servicemen and their families, it was important that their mental illness was acknowledged as being a consequence of their war service. This was not only due to social stigma associated with mental illness generally, but also because war pensions provided families with greater financial security.
This is as much the story of the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital as it is the story of a mother and daughter uncovering the history of the man who was their father and grandfather respectively. That man was Wilfred Collinson, who was just 19 when he enlisted in the AIF. He fought in Gallipoli and on the Western Front, saw out the duration of the war and returned home in 1919. He gained employment with the Victorian Railways and met and married Carline Aminde. The couple went on to have four children. By 1937, Wilfred Collinson’s mental state had deteriorated and he would go on to spend the remainder of his life – more than 35 years – as a patient at Bundoora.
We know so little about the lives and stories of men like Wilfred, the people who cared for them, the people who loved them and the people they left behind. For the most part the voices of the men themselves are missing from their own narrative and we can only interpret their experiences through the words of authorities and their loved ones.
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.
TV50 Anniversary of Television in Australia
Television broadcasting arrived in Australia in 1956. At the end of that year only about 5% of Melbourne households had a television set. That figure is now closer to 99%.
Fifty years have seen many much-loved shows and celebrities come and go. The technologies of production have changed. Our televisions are no longer the bulky furniture items that once dominated the lounge room.
In 2006 the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Australian TV with an exhibition dedicated to its rich heritage.
TV50 brought together iconic objects from the ACMI collection, the television networks and memorabilia accrued in private collections.
Many significant objects were acquired by ACMI from Mr Bob Phillips, whose career as a floor manager/producer - and collecting passion - began in the still pioneering days of the early sixties.
Illuminated by Fire
These short films, created for the Illuminated By Fire project by Malcolm McKinnon, tell a range of stories about living in some of the most fire-prone places on the planet.
They reveal a wealth of knowledge, experience and imagination in our response to fire.
The Illuminated By Fire project is about the places we care about and the story and role of fire within those places.
Murray Darling Palimpsest #6
In 2006, Mildura Palimpsest became the Murray Darling Palimpsest, emphatically underscoring the identity of the region and its environmental interdependence.
The Murray Darling Palimpsest, staged in locations throughout the Murray Darling Basin, continues Palimpsest’s direct engagement with issues of environmental and social sustainability. With land and water use no longer in the background, Palimpsest is remarkable in its recognition that art affects attitudes, and reflects the engagement and connection many contemporary artists have to the environment; perhaps the most pressing issue we now face.
In 2006, Palimpsest brought together artists, scientists, environmentalists and other academics and commentators with the future of the Murray Darling Basin firmly in sight.
What’s Going On!
What’s Going On! was a groundbreaking exhibition presenting contemporary indigenous artists from the Murray Darling basin.
Taking Mildura as the centre, at the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers, the exhibition ranges from Menindee, Wilcannia and Broken Hill to the north and north east, Berri in the south west and Swan Hill to the east, dissolving State boundaries that fragment this distinct region. Uniting the artists in the exhibition are extended family networks and connections to country.
There is a much-loved story told by Aboriginal people on the Murray, that when you open out the swim bladder of a Murray cod, the tree-like forms of its skin reveal the place where the fish was born. Aboriginal children are sometimes told that this is the very same tree under which they were born. These various skin stories reveal the connection of people to the Murray Darling river system, where ‘everyone has a place under the tree’.