63 matches for themes: 'creative life','kelly country'Diverse state (186) Aboriginal culture (32) Built environment (45) Creative life (60) Family histories (8) Gold rush (11) Immigrants and emigrants (34) Kelly country (3) Land and ecology (32) Local stories (61) Service and sacrifice (17) Sporting life (8)
The Palais Theatre
It’s impossible for Melburnians to think about the St Kilda Esplanade without visualising the Palais Theatre standing majestically against Port Phillip Bay. Its grand Art Deco façade is as iconic to St Kilda as the Pavilion on the nearby pier, Acland Street or the theatre’s "just for fun" neighbour, Luna Park.
It’s surprising to discover, then, that the Palais wasn’t always regarded with such affection. When the original building – a dance hall called the Palais de Danse – was being constructed in 1913, over 800 locals attended a public meeting to protest it being given a license. They voiced fears that it would lower the tone of St Kilda, “have a demoralising effect on young people", and be "common with a big C”. The battle was won by the building owners, the three Phillips brothers (American immigrants who also built Luna Park), and an entertainment venue has stood on the site ever since.
The Palais Theatre is a magical place for Melburnians. It’s where generations of us have danced cheek to cheek, watched movies in the darkness, screamed lustily at the Rolling Stones, thrown roses at the feet of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev, and given standing ovations to Dame Joan Hammond’s awe-inspiring soprano. Your grandparents probably had their first date there. Ask them about the Palais and watch them smile.
The theatre is underwent restoration in 2016-17, which preserved the heritage value of the site and ensured the Palais remains a live performance venue and cultural icon in St Kilda for many generations to come. The restoration was funded by the State Government of Victoria and the City of Port Phillip.
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.
The three-dimensional aspect requires a different approach that encompasses numerous angles and mannequin positions as well as complex lighting techniques.
The photographic treatment is informed by the garment’s condition, history, fabric and construction techniques. As such, this kind of photography is a team effort between myself, the textiles conservator and the curator.
Badger Bates (William Brian Bates) was raised by his extended family and his grandmother Granny Moysey, with whom he travelled the country, learning about the language, history and culture of the Paakantji people of the Darling River, or Paaka.
When he was about 8 years old Granny Moysey started to teach him to carve emu eggs and make wooden artefacts in the traditional style, carving by ‘feeling through his fingers.’
Badger works in linoprint, wood, emu egg and stone carving, and metalwork, reflecting the motifs, landforms, animals, plants and stories of Paakantji land. His art is an extension of a living oral tradition, and in his work we find the wavy and geometric lines from the region’s wooden artefacts; places of ceremonial and mythological importance; depictions of traditional life such as hunting and gathering bush tucker; and stories about the ancestral spirits; as well as contemporary issues such as the degradation of his beloved Darling River.
Eugene von Guérard
Eugene von Guérard was born in Vienna in 1811. He was the son of the court painter to Emperor Franz Joseph 1 of Austria, Bernard von Guérard, and became a painter himself, studying under Johann Schirmer at the Academy in Düsseldorf.
He came to Australia to try his luck on the goldfields. Unsuccessful, he resumed his painting career in Melbourne in 1854, and by 1870 was appointed First Master of Painting at the National Gallery School, Melbourne and Curator of the National Gallery of Victoria. He returned to Europe in 1882.
His landscapes, remarkable for their detail, are much valued for the depiction of Australian and particularly, Victorian, landscapes of the mid-1800s.
Amanda Ahmed and Mali Moir
An Eye for Eucalypts
In his hometown of Ararat, Stan Kelly (1911 – 2001) was known as an engine driver and as a talented painter of plants and flowers. A determined amateur, Stan painted at home on a small table and shared his talent by teaching botanical art in Ararat. Today, many Australians travelling overseas carry his artwork in their pocket.
Kelly is now recognised as one of Australia’s premier botanical illustrators, especially respected for his works on eucalypts. His first book, Australian Eucalypts in Colour, was published in 1949. His most celebrated work, Eucalypts Volumes I & II, was first published in 1969 and became a core reference for students of Australian botany.
Kelly received an Order of Australia Medal in 1980. In 2009, he was posthumously honoured when a selection of his botanical illustrations was adapted for the ‘N’ series Australian passport.
The Langi Morgala Museum in Ararat houses a permanent exhibit on Stan Kelly and his work, including a fine collection of his paintings.
A collection of over 500 of Kelly’s watercolour paintings is held by the National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Melbourne is an expanding city, with a growing population and sprawling urban development. It is predicted that by 2056 an additional 4 million people will settle in Greater Melbourne, increasing the population from 5 million to 9 million people over the next 30 years (1). While some expansion is vertical, in the form of high-rise developments, much of this growth is across the peri-urban fringe, described simply as ‘areas on the urban periphery into which cities expand’ (2) or ‘which cities influence’ (3).
In Melbourne, these peri-urban areas of most rapid growth are currently the local government areas of Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham. With population growth comes the inevitable expansion of infrastructure, services and transportation. As the fringes of the city continue to sprawl, what was once the urban fringe and green edge of the city has to be negotiated, as it is increasingly encroached upon.
The artists and photographers in Urban Fringe examine these spaces on the fringe of the expanding city of Melbourne, where urban and natural environments meet, clash and coexist. Beginning with white colonisation and the myth of ‘terra nullius’, these artists discuss the treatment of the Greater Melbourne environment over time, consider the cost of progress, and explore protest and the reclamation of space.
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’.
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.
Stories of Women Prisoners and their Families
"Life in the colony of Victoria during the 19th century could be fraught with difficulties for families and, particularly, for women. The problems they encountered in hard times were exacerbated by distance from the support and friendship of their extended families. If women found themselves unable to cope, the repercussions for the whole family could be tragic.
The stories and images of women who passed through Victoria’s penal system in the 19th century include: Elizabeth Scott, a young girl forced into marriage, living in an isolated part of the country, and the first woman hanged in Victoria; the baby farmer Frances Knorr; Martha Needle who's story is unusual because her crimes arose not out of the severe circumstances of colonial Victoria but from universal, age-old family and personal dysfunction; Emma Williams a single mother who drowned her baby son and brought the Champion newspaper to claim in October 1895 that her case would "exhibit Victoria to the world as the very lowest and most degraded of all civilised communities"; and Janet Dibden who wrote poetry while imprisoned at the Old Melbourne Gaol. It also includes Ellen Kelly the mother of bushranger Ned Kelly, who told her son "Die brave, die like a Kelly" before he was hanged."
The text above has been abstracted from an essay Felon families: Stories of women prisoners and their families written by Diane Gardiner for the publication The Australian Family: Images and Essays. The full 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.
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 Dolls of Victoria: An unveiled toy story
Our attachment to dolls – beyond them being simply an idealised smaller version of a human figure – reflects many aspects of human behaviour and cultural practices.
Dolls have long been attributed with magic powers, associated with religious beliefs, and connected to family rituals and traditions. Whether used as common toys, instruments of storytelling, educational tools, or to provide comfort and support to people during times of distress – dolls have maintained a significant place in many cultures.
Examining their function and use across place and time can reflect major global developments, social changes and the impact of major historical events such as immigration and war. This story looks at the manufacture, use and enjoyment of dolls held in cultural collections throughout the state that have been catalogued here on Victorian Collections.
Set and costume design
By exploring aspects of the J. C. Williamson Archive at the Arts Centre, and interviewing scenic artist Paul Kathner, we get a sense of the behind the scenes work involved in creating the visual effect of theatre.
Curator Margaret Marshall introduces us to a Williamson scenebook from the 1920s, and to costume designs from the late 19th and early 20th century, and Paul invites us to explore his craft and his career with major theatre companies for the past 50 years.
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.
Open House Melbourne
Modern Melbourne is a series of filmed interviews and rich archival material that documents the extraordinary lives and careers of some of our most important architects and designers including Peter McIntyre, Mary Featherston, Daryl Jackson, Graeme Gunn, Phyllis Murphy and Allan Powell.
Melbourne’s modernist architects and designers are moving into the later stages of their careers. Their influence on the city is strong and the public appreciation of their early work is growing – they have made an indelible mark on Melbourne. Much of their mid-century modernist work and latter projects are now represented on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Many of the Modern Melbourne subjects enjoyed a working relationship and a friendship with Robin Boyd, the influential architect who championed the international modernist movement in Melbourne.
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.