84 matches for themes: 'creative life','service and sacrifice'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)
Symbols of Survival
The internment of civilian and military populations was widespread during the twentieth century.
The Australian experience of imprisonment is complex: Captured Australian soldiers faced years in Asian and European camps, often returning home traumatised or suffering physically. Australia also interned enemy soldiers and civilian residents with ties to enemy nations.
The physical objects created by internees and by the societies that imprisoned them can tell stories not found in archives. Prisoners expressed themselves through art, doctors built tools and internees made furniture to fill sparse barracks. Similarly, authorities used the internee experience to tell stories, and the image of the prisoner could be used to communicate power or compassion depending on the audience.
These objects are comparatively rare in military collections, as internees faced obstacles when producing physical objects. Lack of access to materials, hostile guards and strict rules, low morale and poor health all contributed to their scarcity.
Victorian Collections provides a window into the story of internment. This story uses objects drawn from Victoria’s collecting organisations to explore the internee and prisoner experience.
Making Do on ‘the Susso’: The material culture of the Great Depression
There are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. The demands on renewable sources like timber, clean water and soil are so great they are now being used at almost twice the rate that the earth can replenish them. Finite resources like fossil fuel are consumed at an alarming rate, changing the earth’s climate and pushing animal species to the brink of extinction. Current patterns of consumption are exceeding the capacity of the earth’s ability to provide into the future.
All over the world, environmental movements concerned with sustainability have sprung up in response. Conscious consumers are advocating for their right to repair their own electronic devices, fighting a culture of planned obsolesce and disposability. Others are championing the repair, reuse and recycling of clothing and household goods to extend their lives. Reducing waste in the kitchen and promoting food options with lower environmental impact has become increasingly popular.
Climate change may be a uniquely twenty-first century challenge, but sustainability has a history. In 2021 many people are making a conscious choice to embrace anti-consumerism, but during the Great Depression of the 1930s it was necessity that drove a philosophy of mend and make do.
In 1929 stock markets crashed and sent economies around the western world into free fall, triggering the Great Depression. Australia’s economic dependence on wool and wheat exports meant that it was one of the worst affected countries in the world. The impact of the Depression on the everyday lives of Australians was immense. Not everyone was effected with the same severity, but few escaped the poverty and austerity of the years 1929-1933 unscathed.
At the height of the Depression in 1932 Australia had an unemployment rate of 29%, and thousands of desperate people around the country queued for the dole. Aboriginal Australians were not eligible for the dole, and had to rely solely on government issued rations.
Alana Bennett Mazzilli
Prisoner of War & Internment Camps: Tatura and Rushworth
Australia, like many other countries, ran internment camps throughout the war years in both New South Wales and Victoria.
During this period, there were two significant camps in country Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region, at Tatura and Rushworth. A total of seven camps were spread between the two regional communities, housing Prisoners of War, enemy alien migrants and civilians living in Australia or other Allied territories and countries.
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
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.
What House Is That?
More than just bricks and mortar, our homes are prisms, reflecting the society of the time they were built. Through them, we can understand the changing context of social, economic and architectural history, and the values and assumptions of the people who built and lived in them.
What house is that? is an exploration of the social and architectural history of Victoria’s housing styles. From our earliest Victorian cottages through to the light filled, open plan houses of the Modern era, we look at the houses Victorians call home.
The nine images and text give an overview of each of the main housing styles of Victoria’s history from the 1840s onwards. The 15 videos feature interviews with architects, historians and residents and explore the styles in more detail. This collection of images, text and videos comes from an interactive website created by Heritage Victoria.
Selection from Bendigo Art Gallery
Bendigo Art Gallery is the perfect fusion of old and new.
One of Australia's largest and oldest regional galleries, Bendigo Art Gallery is known for its emphasis on contemporary Australian art, as well as its collection of 19th century European Art, and 19th and 20th century Australian Art.
From Neighbours character, Charlene, to international pop sensation, Kylie Minogue’s costumes chart her rise, her style, and her creative energy.
The Kylie Costume Collection at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, shows the range and development of Kylie's persona through costume, and her collaborations with international and national designers.
As Kylie donates her costumes to the Arts Centre directly, curators are able to keep an extensive, chronological and very complete material record of Kylie's career, across her tours, album cover shoots, music videos, and red carpet and special events.
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.
A Snappy, Collapsible Hat
On the outside it appears to be an ordinary top hat, but hidden on the inside is a technological innovation at least forty years in the making...
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.
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.
Making Sense: Art and Mental Health
The Cunningham Dax Collection was established in 1987 with a series of works in the possession of psychiatrist Dr Eric Cunningham Dax.
Produced by patients of Victorian mental institutions between the 1950s and 1980s, these works assisted psychiatrists and medical teams with diagnosis.
Today, the Dax Collection also encompasses the work of many contemporary artists with an experience of mental illness and psychological trauma, and advocates the potential of arts practices in the management of mental health and wellbeing.
Many individuals now practice informal and formal forms of art therapy. Whilst some produce works in settings with a practicing art therapist, for others, creative art practices have become a form of self-expression, empowerment or reflection of one’s internal world.
As the union of art and therapy continues to evolve, it is clear that art making and these creative processes have the potential to enhance our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, to connect with a deeper part of ourselves and to integrate the human experience.
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.
State Film Centre
Designed to collect and maintain a film library for general public consumption, the State Film Centre was established in 1946.
It became a leading cultural institution for not only the archiving of Australian and international cinematic works but in supporting the Victorian production industry, providing regional lending services and broadening audience reach through the use of mobile projection units.
With technological change, the Centre adapted to new media platforms and broadened its collections focus to include emerging filmmakers and student works. It evolved from a collection-based institution to a hub for screening and advocacy and increased its role as an invaluable education resource.
Into the 1990s work commenced on plans to establish the Australian Centre for the Moving Image as part of the Federation Square project and on January 1, 2002, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image was officially established by the Film Act 2001 (Victoria).
Memories from a Soldier Settlement
At the close of the First World War, Australia began an ambitious and controversial soldier settlement scheme, allocating small parcels of potential farming land to returned soldiers.
33,000 acres were set aside in Red Cliffs, and in 1920, the returnees started clearing the Mallee Scrub, making Red Cliffs the largest Irrigated Soldiers' Settlement in Australia.
The Red Cliffs Military Museum, part of the Red Cliffs-Irymple RSL Sub-Branch, began around 1995, when a small billiard room was used to store wartime artefacts donated by local families. By 1997 the collection had grown so much that the museum developed and started opening to the public.
The collection continues to grow and holds artefacts from the Boer War, WW1, WW2, Vietnam and East Timor, and includes diaries, albums, arms, documents and uniforms, scale models and trench art.
A range of these artefacts, and interviews with soldiers and their families, telling of life in and between the First and Second World Wars, are presented here.