Although the artist of A view of the new Post Office & School of Arts, Bourbong St. Bundaberg from Barolin St., Augt. 1st 1891, Queensland 1891 (illustrated) is unknown — like the artists of many images of nineteenth century Queensland — the watercolour quite possibly by an architectural draftsman, is significant in showcasing the growing civic pride and wealth of a newly established town.
Bundaberg, midway between Maryborough and Gladstone, is a prosperous sugar-farming and horticultural region established in the 1870s, producing sugar commercially from 1872. Bundaberg owes its survival to the growth of the sugar industry, by the early 1880s with a population of some 1,000, the town was already a major Australian producer, operating two dozen crushing mills, and renowned for its rum distillery since 1888, using molasses, a by-product of sugar. Today Bundaberg is the tenth largest city in the state with a population of over 70,000, some 280 kilometres or a 4 hour drive north from the capital, Brisbane.
‘A view of the new Post Office & School of Arts’ 1891
Bundaberg Post Office 2023
The watercolour is an expression of the material prosperity and cultural success of the regional town as it records the completion of two major buildings. The work focuses on the Bundaberg Post Office (illustrated) — which has remained unchanged since its construction — designed by Brisbane architect Charles McLay (c.1860-1918), at that time the major designer in the Colonial Architect’s Office. The impressive two-story building opened in 1890 and the 30 metre high clock tower which dominates the town was completed in 1891 — the clock which had been ordered from England was installed in 1892. The only noticeable change to the building’s foreground streetscape today is the addition of the Bundaberg War Memorial unveiled in 1921.
To the left is the Bundaberg School of Arts (illustrated) — the oldest public building still standing today — which was completed in 1889 to the design of the partnership Hettrich and Champ (1888- 91).
Bundaberg Post Office 1895
Bundaberg School of Arts 1900
Bourbong Street, looking toward the Post Office 1900
View from the Post Office toward Bundaberg Distillery 1905
Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA
Fairy tales transport us to faraway lands that exist out of time. In much-loved and endlessly retold stories overflowing with kings and queens, castles and carriages, feasts and riches, we find adventure, community, happiness and love.
Buy Tickets to ‘Fairy Tales’ Until 28 April 2024 Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
Go behind-the-scenes at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) for a sneak peek before the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition unfolds across three themed chapters. ‘Into the Woods’ explores the conventions and characters of traditional fairy tales alongside their contemporary retellings. ‘Through the Looking Glass’ presents newer tales of parallel worlds that are filled with unexpected ideas and paths. ‘Ever After’ brings together classic and current tales to celebrate aspirations, challenge convention and forge new directions. Let the journey begin . . .
What is a fairy tale without a gorgeous gown or two or more? Conservators Michael Marendy and Elizabeth Thompson are weaving their magic behind-the-scenes, here they are preparing the support for the wedding dress from MirrorMirror (2012) ready for the grand unveiling of lavish costumes and film props.
Forests and fields are one of the most common fairy tale settings, a magical realm outside of our normal experience. We’re finalising Patricia Piccinini’s otherworldly installation —Celestial Field 2021 — a canopy of nearly 3000 ‘genetically modified’ blooms, forming an inverted garden in the sky sheltering a collection of fragile creatures beneath.
Brazilian sculptor Henrique Oliveira is in Brisbane transforming the ‘Fairy Tale’ entrance into a gnarled and twisted woodland. Corupira 2023 incorporates found tree branches, sustainably sourced plywood and strips of tapumes veneer salvaged from construction sites in Brazil. You will definitely be stepping into the woods with this installation.
Many furred creatures inhabit the world of fairy tales, a highlight of the ‘Fairy Tale’ exhibition includes Maurice Sendak’s iconic images from his 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are and costumes by the Jim Henson Creature Shop for the 2009 film adaptation. Here, conservator Michael Marendy is making final adjustments to the display.
A horse drawn gilded carriage is synonymous with the world of fairy tales — it’s the chosen mode of transport for any princess. For those who love magic, fantasy, and happy endings, this sumptuous stagecoach created from crystalised rock sugar by Timothy Horn is a must-see. Conservator Elizabeth Thompson is checking all is well with the delicate artwork before the opening.
Witches abound in fairy tales, they commonly live far away from towns and villages, self-sufficient, they rarely choose to live with others, their home often enchanted is filled with magical objects, ancient knowledge and power. Sculptor, painter and filmmaker Trulee Hall is in Brisbane installing the wonderfully theatrical jet-black and precariously constructed Witch House(Umbilical Coven) 2023.
Now installed and on view in the Gallery’s foyer are 15 works from contemporary American and Spanish artists Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz’s ongoing ‘Travelers’ series of snow globes, each contains a unique but disorienting tale devised by the artists. These mesmerising snow globes will captivate you.
The ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition is at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Australia from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.
The horse has been a integral part of human history for millennia, prized both for their agility, speed and endurance, or strength needed to pull a plow or a carriage full of people. However improved transportation options towards the end of the 1800s, especially the construction of railways, and the development of new mechanical innovations from the early twentieth century including the first mass-affordable automobile, ultimately superseded the four legged version of horsepower and ousting our daily reliance on the horse.
Stan Berriman ‘A man and a boy ploughing a field’ 1938
Even so, the horse is still part of our daily conversation today with a myriad of horse-related expressions that have been handed down to us over the ages ranging from ‘Get off your high horse’, to ‘Eat like a horse’ just to name a couple; and when Australia stops for one of the most famous races in the world on the first Tuesday of November, we are also reminded of popular horse racing terminology that has also made its way into our everyday language with ‘Jockeying into position’ and ‘Starting from scratch’; and who isn’t tempted to hang a horseshoe over the door for good luck?
Since we’ve gone all horsey, let’s take a look at some of the works in the QAGOMA Collection that feature the horse… they transport us around in carriages, we ride them, race them, study them, document their lives, they are a status and power symbol, our ally in war, we cherish them as close companions, and most importantly, they inspire us to create.
So, next time you visit us, see how many horses you can find, also check out our round-up of cats and dogs in the Collection.
If your love of the horse extends to the enchanting world of fairy tales — nothing goes together better than a horse and carriage — there will be a couple of coaches on view in our summer blockbuster, one encrusted in golden crystallised rock sugar (illustrated), and Cinderella’s pumpkin coach on the big screen at the Australian Cinémathèque. Exclusive to Brisbane, the ticketed ‘Fairy Tales‘ exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane (2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024) and the accompanying free film program ‘Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment’ surveys how fairy tales from across the world have held our fascination for centuries through art and culture.
Timothy Horn‘Mother-load’ on display in ‘Fairy Tales’ at GOMA
Cinderella screens in the Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA
Albrecht Dürer ‘The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse’ 1497–98
Tosa Mitsuatsu ‘Pair of six fold screens’ 18th century
Utagawa Hiroshige III ‘View of trading companies at Yokohama‘ 1871
‘Netsuke: (two horses)‘ 19th century
George Jones ‘Black horse’
ST Gill ‘Overlanders’ 1865
William Strutt ‘Study of a horse’s head‘ 1884
Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Breakfast, Alpha’ 1884
‘Racing trophy: The Wythes and Hodgson Cup’ c.1870-73
Eadweard Muybridge ‘Dan’ galloping, saddled’ 1887
Hans Heysen ‘The grass stack‘ 1906
George W Lambert ‘Bushranger‘
George W. Lambert ‘Walk (An incident at Romani)’ 1919-22
The Brisbane River and Moreton Bay have continually shaped south-east Queensland’s history. From the time of the First Australians for the Turrbal and Jagarra people, the river, known as Maiwar, has been a meeting place, a highway and a source of food. A critical conduit for early settlement and subsequent industry and development, the winding river and bay of islands have inspired artists for generations.
200 years ago when the explorer John Oxley visited Moreton Bay in 1823, he named the river Brisbane in honour of the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane (1773-1860). Later, in 1825, a settlement on its banks to house Sydney’s most unruly convicts was called Brisbane.
Early depictions of Brisbane and the river that runs through it that gave the town its name are rare, nevertheless the Gallery’s collection of watercolours and sketches by both Conrad Martens — the only major colonial artist to work in Queensland — and Silvester Diggles who recorded views of early European settlement, give us a glimpse of Brisbane prior to it being proclaimed a municipality in 1859 and becoming the capital of newly independent Queensland that same year.
John Oxley’s plan of the river Brisbane and chart of Moreton Bay 1823
Plan of Brisbane Town 1839
Still standing today in Brisbane’s Central Business District are two buildings referenced in the Town Plan of 1839. The Commissariat Store in William Street was used for distributing food, clothing, tools and other requirements (No. 9) (illustrated) and built in 1828-29, and the Windmill in Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill (No. 36) (illustrated) also built in the late 1820s to grind sufficient grain to sustain the settlement, however by 1855 was converted to a signal station now known as The Observatory.
Also listed, the Government Gardens at Gardens Point was established in 1828 for planting crops and provided food for the town before a botanic curator was appointed when the gardens officially opened in 1855 as Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens.
London born Conrad Martens (1801–78) based in Sydney from 1835 was the most proficient and prolific landscape artist in the Australian colonies. In 1851 the economic depression in Sydney prompted Martens to make a sketching tour of areas of northern New South Wales that now fall within Queensland. Martens arrived in Moreton Bay in November 1851 and by March 1852 the artist had completed over ninety drawings, valuable records of Queensland. Returning to Sydney he completed around seventy commissions working from his field sketches, these watercolours combined with the sketches are a unique record of Brisbane and its river.
The panoramic view North and South Brisbane from the South Brisbane rocks 1851 (illustrated) is perhaps Conrad Martens’s most important historical document of Brisbane and is taken from the top of the cliffs at Kangaroo Point opposite the Botanic Gardens. It includes South Brisbane to the left clustered around Stanley and Russell Streets, the wharves where ships from Sydney berthed, animals grazing on the Gardens site in the foreground, and the Convict Barracks in Queen Street (No. 33 in the Brisbane Town Map of 1839).
Conrad Martens ‘North and South Brisbane from the South Brisbane rocks’ 1851
Detail of South Brisbane
Detail of Convict Barracks, North Brisbane
In 1862 Martens sent the painting View of Brisbane (in 1851) (illustrated) to Charles Darwin, his shipmate on HMS Beagle in the early 1830s, to mark the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859). Martens may have chosen this subject because their mutual friend and shipmate on the Beagle, Captain JC Wickham, was Police Magistrate in Brisbane at the time of Martens’ visit.
Conrad Martens ‘View of Brisbane (in 1851)’ 1862
The view of North Brisbane from Kangaroo Point (illustrated) is from the ferry stop at Kangaroo Point that looks across to the original Customs House, built 1849–50 (illustrated). The new Customs House was completed on the same site in 1889.
Conrad Martens ‘North Brisbane from Kangaroo Point’ 1852
First Brisbane Customs House
Conrad Martens ‘Kangaroo Point, Brisbane’ 1852
Conrad Martens ‘Brisbane’ 1855
European settlement of Brisbane was developed around present-day William and Queen Streets. The first buildings were temporary, constructed of slabs, and were subsequently replaced by larger structures of brick and stone. When the town was surveyed to prepare for free settlement in 1842, the largest structure, the convict-built Prisoner’s Barracks, determined the position of Queen Street and the layout of the future city.
Settlement initially spread in areas closest to the former penal station site and the river at North Brisbane, South Brisbane and Kangaroo Point, all linked by ferries. With shipping as the main means of access and communication for Brisbane and the settlements inland, Brisbane gradually developed as a port.
Views of Brisbane 1860s
Plan of the city of Brisbane 1865
Pictorial maps of Brisbane 1880s
Silvester Diggles (1817–80), painter, professional photographer, musician and naturalist, moved to Brisbane from Sydney in 1854, after emigrating from England in 1853. He taught art and music and was drawing master at the Brisbane Grammar School in 1869–70 and at All Hallows School in 1870. Diggles took an active part in the cultural life of Brisbane, helping to establish its musical societies, its first scientific society (the Queensland Philosophical Society) and the Queensland Museum.
Silvester Diggles ‘View from Kangaroo Point’ 1858
Silvester Diggles ‘Fortitude Valley’ 1858
Silvester Diggles ‘Kangaroo Point’ 1858
Silvester Diggles ‘North Brisbane from the south side’ 1858
Early European buildings were small and inexpensive, on small allotments, built of readily available materials in a simple, easily constructed style — bark huts could be built in a day. More comfortable was the slab and shingle structure, cheaply erected of local timber, and later the sawn timber buildings. Generally, modest houses were built in lower lying areas, with more substantial structures on higher ground.
Later buildings reflected — in size, style, ornamentation, materials and position — the extent of their owners success and their faith in the future of the new northern settlement. Generally there was some adaptation to the local climate. Larger and more ornate homes set in spacious grounds and in the best locations began to appear. These included ‘Bulimba’ (1849–50) and ‘Newstead’ (1845–46), both stone riverfront residences with large and impressive grounds.
‘Bulimba House’ (illustrated) was the grand Brisbane residence of David Cannon McConnel, the first squatter to settle east of the Great Dividing Range, at Cressbrook. ‘Bulimba House’ still stands on the opposite bank of the Brisbane River to Newstead House (illustrated), built by Patrick Leslie in 1846.
Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA
Acknowledgment of Country The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders past and present and, in the spirit of reconciliation, acknowledge the immense creative contribution Indigenous people make to the art and culture of this country. It is customary in many Indigenous communities not to mention the name of the deceased. All such mentions and photographs on the QAGOMA Blog are with permission, however, care and discretion should be exercised.
We look back to when Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was established in 1927 by the Reid family as a safe refuge for sick, injured, and orphaned koalas, it was the first such sanctuary of its kind, beginning with just two called Jack and Jill, since then it has grown from these original koalas to over 70 species of Australian native wildlife.
Lone Pine Picnic Park and Native Fauna Zoo as it was originally named (the name change to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was made in 1964 by new owners the Robertson family), was established the year the Model T, sold by the Ford Motor Company ended production, replaced by the Model A. As demand grew for cars in Australia Ford Motors Australia was established in 1925 followed by General Motors Australia the following year. This increased availability of the car allowed for a surge in recreational and leisure driving, and with the opening of the unique picnic park and zoo made the trip a destination for families (illustrated) and artists looking for inspiration further afield.
Lone Pine Picnic Park and Native Fauna Zoo 1927
Lone Pine 1938
The Sanctuary located at Fig Tree Pocket is named after a huge Hoop Pine — Queensland’s tallest native tree — that was planted by the Clarkson family in 1867, their cotton farm was where Lone Pine is today. Early settlers moved to Fig Tree Pocket from the 1860s, first for its timber then for farming and it is believed that the suburb just 9km south-west of central Brisbane, was named after a remarkably large fig tree (illustrated), with the area bounded on three sides by the river, thus creating a land ‘pocket’ (illustrated).
View towards Lone Pine featuring the lone Hoop Pine1931
Lone Pine was originally an 11-acre (4.6 hectare) site, now 18-hectares in total the Sanctuary has developed into a major Brisbane tourist destination, and as it is accessible from the Brisbane River has also become a tradition for over 70 years to make a day trip with Mirimar Cruises (illustrated). Initially marketed as the most beautiful trip in Australia, the tour departs from the centre of Brisbane for a leisurely hour long scenic cruise up the river arriving at Lone Pine to disembark on the shores of the park.
The ‘Mirimar’ on the Brisbane River 1940
Charles H. Lancaster (1886-1959) painted The homestead, Lone Pine (illustrated) in 1945 depicting the original homestead, its simple form silhouetted against a dark mass of trees. Lancaster’s work focused on the landscape of Brisbane and its outer suburbs, the depictions of which, according to contemporary opinion, manifested a ‘quiet toned mellow serenity’.1 Lancaster was not the only artist to travel to Lone Pine for inspiration, many took the opportunity to go on an excursion to the zoo and surrounds, such as Daphne Mayo some ten years earlier (illustrated).
Charles H. Lancaster ‘The homestead, Lone Pine’ 1945
Daphne Mayo modelling a kangaroo 1935
Lancaster was born in Melbourne and studied at the National Gallery School under Frederick McCubbin. When he moved to Queensland he exhibited with the Queensland Art Society from 1914 and was a key figure, serving almost continuously on the committee from 1915 to 1952. Lancaster was also appointed a Trustee of the Queensland (National) Art Gallery from 1939, serving until 1959.
Meee‑ow — we’ve tried to round up our affectionate and furry four-legged friends, these cute house cats are obviously valued for their companionship — from snuggling to being a source of entertainment, to even manipulating us with their unique language and their contented purrs. It’s an interesting fact that meowing is a vocalisation just for us, cats don’t actually meow at each other so they use this as a bond between humans and animals.
As we know, the cat shares the title with the dog as the world’s most popular companion animals, however as the saying goes… “dogs have owners, cats have staff”… so the perennial question is “do cats love us or just tolerate us”, either way, their owners loved them enough to capture them with their own unique personalities for us to enjoy today.
Visit both the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art to see how many cats and their wild counterparts you can find… and keep an eye out for their lifelong partner, the dog. We also haven’t forgotten the horse.
Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Breakfast, Alpha’ 1884
Chinese Style ‘Mandarin pocket’ 1800-1900
Norman Lindsay ‘Cats’ 1919
Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel ‘Sleeping cat’ 1920s
Tsugouharu Foujita ‘Self portrait with cat’ 1930
Kathleen Shillam ‘Cat’ 1950s-60s
Kathleen Shillam ‘Siamese cat’ 1960s
Robert Dickerson ‘Cat at the window’ 1976
Inga Hunter ‘Wallhanging: Cat in a peach tree’ 1980
Elliott Murray is Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art stands and recognise the creative contribution First Australians make to the art and culture of this country.