Bundaberg Post Office: Then (1891) & Now

 

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

Unknown, Australia / A view of the new Post Office & School of Arts, Bourbong St. Bundaberg from Barolin St., Augt. 1st 1891, Queensland 1891 / Watercolour, pencil and wash on paper / 47.5 x 61cm / Purchased 2007. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Bundaberg Post Office 2023

Bundaberg Post Office (1890) featuring the Bundaberg War Memorial (1921) 2023 / Photograph: Natasha Harth / © Natasha Harth

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 Post Office c.1895 / 99184004694002061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Bundaberg School of Arts 1900

Bundaberg School of Arts c.1900 / 99183692419102061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Bourbong Street, looking toward the Post Office 1900

Bourbong Street with the Bundaberg Post Office Tower in the center distance c.1900 / 99183692419202061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

View from the Post Office toward Bundaberg Distillery 1905

View of Bundaberg and the Burnett River featuring the Bundaberg Distilling Company from the Post Office tower c.1905 / 99183853668402061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

#QAGOMA

Go behind-the-scenes as we install ‘Fairy Tales’

 

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 . . .

RELATED: Journey through the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition with our weekly series

Gorgeous gowns

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 Mirror Mirror (2012) ready for the grand unveiling of lavish costumes and film props.

Conservators preparing the support for the wedding dress from Mirror Mirror (2012) to go on display during ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Photographs: C Callistemon © QAGOMA
Tarsem Singh (director), Eiko Ishioka (designer), Carelli Costumes (costumiers) / Featuring ‘Cream wedding dress’ costume worn by Julia Roberts as ‘Queen Clementianna’ in Mirror Mirror 2012, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Duchess silk satin, Swarovski crystals / Collection: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles / © 2012 UV RML NL Assets LLC. / Photograph: N Umek © QAGOMA
Tarsem Singh, India/United States b.1961 / Production still from Mirror Mirror (2012) / 35mm, colour, Dolby Digital, 106 minutes, United States/Canada, English / Director: Tarsem Singh / Producers: Bernie Goldmann, Ryan Kavanaugh, Brett Ratner / Script: Marc Klein, Jason Keller, Melisa Wallack / Cinematographer: Brendan Galvin / Editors: Robert Duffy, Nick Moore / Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Ronald Lee Clark / © 2012 UV RML NL Assets LLC. / Photograph: Jan Thijs / Image courtesy: Relativity Media

Surreal landscapes

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. 

Patricia Piccinini, Australia b.1965 / Enchanted Field (detail) 2023, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane 2023 / Selected sculptural works / Collection: Patricia Piccinini / Photographs: C Baxter, J Ruckli and C Callistemon © QAGOMA
Patricia Piccinini, Australia b.1965 / Enchanted Field (detail) 2023, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, featuring (top left to right) Celestial Field 2021, Mushroom Ring 2021 and Shoeform (Tresses) 2019, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Selected sculptural works / Collection: Patricia Piccinini / © Patricia Piccinini / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA

Enchanting forests

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.

Brazilian sculptor Henrique Oliveira creating Corupira 2023 commissioned for the exhibition ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane 2023
Helping install Henrique Oliveira’s Corupira 2023, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Photograph: C Callistemon © QAGOMA

Henrique Oliveira’s Corupira (detail) 2023 during installation, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Photographs: C Callistemon © QAGOMA
Henrique Oliveira, Brazil b.1973 with Corupira 2023, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Plywood, tapumes veneer and tree branches / © Henrique Oliveira / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA
Henrique Oliveira, Brazil b.1973 / Corupira (detail) 2023, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Plywood, tapumes veneer and tree branches / © Henrique Oliveira / Photograph: C Callistemon © QAGOMA

Wild Things

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.

Installing Carol’s costume from Where the Wild Things Are (2009), Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Spike Jonze (director) United States b.1969, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (designer) United States est. 1979 / Synthetic fur, synthetic hide, synthetic feathers, acrylic, cotton, latex, foam, polystyrene, nylon, lycra, polyvinyl chloride, speakers, animatronic power cables, plugs, fans, gyrostabiliser, cameras, video monitor / Collection: Warner Brothers Archives, Los Angeles / Photograph: C Callistemon © QAGOMA
Spike Jonze (director), United States b.1969; Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (designer), United States est. 1979 / Costumes from Where the Wild Things Are 2009, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / ‘Douglas’ animatronic costume: Synthetic fur, synthetic hide, synthetic feathers, acrylic, cotton, latex, foam, polystyrene, nylon, fibreglass, lycra, polyvinyl chloride, speakers, animatronic power cables, plugs, fans, gyrostabiliser, cameras, video monitor; 260 x 96.5 x 96.5cm / ‘Max’ costume: Synthetic fur, resin, plastic, metal, wire; 170 x 45.7 x 45.7cm / ‘Carol’ animatronic costume: Synthetic fur, synthetic hide, synthetic feathers, acrylic, cotton, latex, foam, polystyrene, nylon, lycra, polyvinyl chloride, speakers, animatronic power cables, plugs, fans, gyrostabiliser, cameras, video monitor; 267 x 119.5 x 99cm / Collection: Warner Brothers Archives, Los Angeles / © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved / Photograph: C Callistemon © QAGOMA

Golden coaches

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.

Conservator Elizabeth Thompson adding the final touches and documenting the install of Timothy Horn’s Mother-load 2008, a sumptuously embellished stagecoach created from crystalised rock sugar, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Photographs: C Callistemon © QAGOMA
Timothy Horn, Australia/United States b.1964 with Mother-load 2008, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Crystalised rock sugar, plywood, steel / Courtesy: Timothy Horn / © Timothy Horn / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA
Timothy Horn, Australia/United States b.1964 / Mother-load 2008, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Crystalised rock sugar, plywood, steel / Courtesy: Timothy Horn / © Timothy Horn / Photograph: N Umek © QAGOMA

Witches

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.

Trulee Hall, United States b.1976 installing Witch House (Umbilical Coven) 2023, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Wood, papier-mache, resin, fabric, stuffing, fake fur, synthetic hair, altered sex dolls, synthetic polymer paint, spray-paint, found candle holders, cornucopia baskets, found ceramic cornucopia, found crystal balls, convex mirror, polymer clay, hardware, LED candles / 431.8 x 685.8 x 436.9cm / Courtesy: Trulee Hall / © Trulee Hall / Photographs: C Callistemon and J Ruckli © QAGOMA
Trulee Hall, United States b.1976 with Witch House (Umbilical Coven) 2023, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Wood, papier-mache, resin, fabric, stuffing, fake fur, synthetic hair, altered sex dolls, synthetic polymer paint, spray-paint, found candle holders, cornucopia baskets, found ceramic cornucopia, found crystal balls, convex mirror, polymer clay, hardware, LED candles / 431.8 x 685.8 x 436.9cm / Courtesy: Trulee Hall / © Trulee Hall / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA

Other worlds

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.

Installation view of Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz’s ongoing ‘Travelers’ series of snow globes, installed in ‘Fairy Tales’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane 2023 / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA
Walter Martin, United States b.1953; Paloma Muñoz, Spain b.1965 / Traveler 263 2009 / Snow globe / 19 x 15.2 x 15.2cm / Purchased 2023 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the QAGOMA Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz / Photograph: J Ruckli © QAGOMA

The ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition is at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Australia from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.

Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment‘ presented in conjunction with GOMA’s blockbuster summer exhibition screens at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.

The major publication ‘Fairy Tales in Art and Film’ available at the QAGOMA Store and online explores how fairy tales have held our fascination for centuries through art and culture.

From gift ideas, treats just for you or the exhibition publication, visit the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition shop at GOMA or online.

‘Fairy Tales’ merchandise available at the GOMA exhibition shop or online.

Elliott Murray is Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

#QAGOMA

The horse: Companion & muse

 

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 

Stan Berriman, Australia 1898-1953 / (A man and a boy ploughing a field) 1938 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / 10.9 x 20.6cm / Gift of the family of Stan Berriman in memory of Mrs V.E. Tremble 1986 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

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.

Fairy Tales

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

Timothy Horn, Australia/United States b.1964 / Mother-load 2008 / Crystalised rock sugar, plywood, steel / 292.6 x 182.9 x 170.7cm / Courtesy: The artist / Image courtesy: Jason Schmidt / New York Times / Photographer: Jason Schmidt

Cinderella screens in the Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA


Albrecht Dürer ‘The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse’ 1497–98  

Albrecht Dürer, Germany 1471–1528 / The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse (from ‘The Apocalypse’ series) c.1497–98, Latin edition, 1511 / Woodcut on laid paper / Purchased 2013 with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation Appeal / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Tosa Mitsuatsu ‘Pair of six fold screens’ 18th century 

Tosa Mitsuatsu, Japan b.fl. 1734-64 / Pair of six fold screens: Scenes from the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji) mid 18th century (Edo period) / Gold and colours on paper on six-fold wooden framed screens / 172.3 x 368.2cm (each) / Purchased 2008 with funds from the Estate of Vincent Stack through the QAG Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Utagawa Hiroshige III ‘View of trading companies at Yokohama 1871

Utagawa Hiroshige III, Japan 1843-94 / View of trading companies at Yokohama 1871 / Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper / Triptych: 37 x 24.8cm (each panel, approx.), 111 x 74..4cm (overall, approx.) / Purchased 2022 with funds from the Henry and Amanda Bartlett Trust through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

‘Netsuke: (two horses) 19th century 

Unknown, Japan / Netsuke: (two horses) 19th century / Carved boxwood on flat base / 3.5 x 4.5 x 4cm / Bequest of Karl and Gertrude Langer 1985 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

George Jones ‘Black horse’

George Jones, England 1786 – 1869 / Black horse / Oil on wood / 30.5 x 22.5cm / Bequest of Mrs Irene Lilian Bingham Stable 1975 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

ST Gill ‘Overlanders’ 1865 

ST Gill, England/Australia 1818- 80 / Overlanders (from ‘The Australian sketchbook’) 1865 / Colour lithograph on smooth wove paper / 29 x 43.2cm / Purchased 1962 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

William Strutt ‘Study of a horse’s head1884 

William Strutt, England/Australia 1825-1915 / Study of a horse’s head related to ‘Black Thursday, 6th February, 1851’ c.1884 / Pencil and watercolour wash on smooth wove paper / 22.6 x 25.7cm / Gift of Lady Trout 1981 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe ‘Breakfast, Alpha’ 1884 

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, England/Australia 1850-1928 / Breakfast, Alpha (and detail) 1884 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper / 25.3 x 35.4cm / Gift of the artist’s son in her memory 1964 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

‘Racing trophy: The Wythes and Hodgson Cup’ c.1870-73 

Attrib. To William Edwards, Australia c.1819-c.1889 / Racing trophy: The Wythes and Hodgson Cup (and detail) c.1870-73 / Narrow necked ovoid body arising from a tree fern stem with incurving handles and cast grapes, parrots and snake decoration. The lid surmounted by a kangaroo. The beaded heptafoil base with repousse rocks, ferns and figures of a male and female Aborigine in oxidised silver. Engraved on one face with an inscription between repousse fern trees and on the other with three horses in full gallop. Mounted on a black turned wooden base with metal plaque / 51 x 15cm (with base) / Gift of Miss Pamela Bell 1985 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Eadweard Muybridge ‘Dan’ galloping, saddled’ 1887 

Eadweard Muybridge, United States 1830-1904 / ‘Dan’ galloping, saddled (plate 634 from ‘Animal Locomotion’ album) 1887 / Collotype on paper / 48.3 x 61.2cm / Purchased 1991 with funds from James Hardie Industries Limited through the QAG Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Hans Heysen ‘The grass stack 1906

Hans Heysen, Germany/Australia 187 -1968 / The grass stack 1906 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper on cardboard / 27 x 35.3 cm / Gift of Mrs J.K. Webb in memory of her sister, Miss Eleanor Melba Irwin 1960 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Hans Heysen/Copyright Agency

George W Lambert ‘Bushranger

George W Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / Bushranger / Brush and brown washes over pencil, heightened with opaque white on wove paper / 26 x 18cm / Gift of Lady Trout 1981 / Accession No: 2:1470 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

George W. Lambert ‘Walk (An incident at Romani)’ 1919-22 

George W. Lambert, Australia/England 1873-1930 / Walk (An incident at Romani) 1919-22 / 92 x 138.1cm / Oil on canvas / Gift of the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance in memory of Comrades who did not return from the war c.1922 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Hilda Rix Nicholas ‘The fair musterer’1935 

Hilda Rix Nicholas, Australia 1884-1961 / The fair musterer 1935 / Oil on canvas / 102.3 x 160.4cm / Purchased 1971 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Estate of the artist

Irene Mbitjana Entata ‘Albert Namatjira droving 2001 

HERMANNSBURG POTTERS, Northern Territory Australia est. 1990 / Irene Mbitjana Entata, Arrernte/Luritja people 1946-2014 / Albert Namatjira droving 2001 / Earthenware, hand-built terracotta clay with underglaze colours and applied decoration, leather / 53 x 36cm (diam.) (complete) / Purchased 2019. QAG Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Irene Mbitjana Entata/Copyright Agency

Nick Cave ‘HEARD’ 2012 

Nick Cave, United States b.1959 / HEARD 2012 / 15 wearable sculptures (six parts each) OR as a performance, 15 wearable sculptures (six parts each), choreography, musical score and video / Purchased 2016 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Gallery of Modern Art with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through the QAGOMA Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Nick Cave. Photography by James Prinz, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

Compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

#QAGOMA

Step back to an earlier time when Brisbane was named after a river

 

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.

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore the QAGOMA Collection

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

John Oxley’s drawn chart of the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay 1823 / 99183505760402061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Plan of Brisbane Town 1839

Brisbane Town 1839 / 99183797700502061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

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.

RELATED: Botanic Gardens

Commissariat Stores

Commissariat Stores 1928 / 103466 / Image courtesy: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, sourced from Discovering Queensland

The Windmill (The Observatory)

The Windmill c.1840 / Image courtesy: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, sourced from Discovering Queensland

The Observatory c.1882 / 99183509989302061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Botanic Gardens

Brisbane Botanic Gardens c.1860 / 99183509304802061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Early depictions of Brisbane

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.

DELVE DEEPER: The life and art of Conrad Martens

Conrad Martens

Freeman, William & James / Conrad Martens c.1856 / Hand-tinted stereoscopic ambrotype / Collection: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

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

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / North and South Brisbane from the South Brisbane rocks 1851 / Pencil on wove paper / 18.7 x 57.8cm (comp.) / Gift of Thomas Samuel Griffith Brown 1976 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Detail of South Brisbane

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / North and South Brisbane from the South Brisbane rocks (detail) 1851 focusing on South Brisbane

Detail of Convict Barracks, North Brisbane

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / North and South Brisbane from the South Brisbane rocks (detail) 1851 highlighting the animals grazing on the Gardens site and the Convict Barracks

Convict Barracks

E. P. Trewern / Artist impression of the Convict Barracks in Queen Street 1919 / 99184004932502061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 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

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / View of Brisbane (in 1851) 1862 / Watercolour and gouache over pencil on wove paper / 31.8 x 51.3 cm / Gift of Leonard Darwin 1913 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

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

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / North Brisbane from Kangaroo Point 1852 / Watercolour and pencil, with bodycolour and gum arabic / Collection: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

First Brisbane Customs House

First Customs House on the Brisbane River c.1873 / 99183506729102061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Conrad Martens ‘Kangaroo Point, Brisbane’ 1852

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / Kangaroo Point, Brisbane 1852 / Watercolour and pencil with bodycolour / Collection: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Conrad Martens ‘Brisbane’ 1855

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801-78 / Brisbane 1855 / Watercolour on paper / 29.8 x 42.9cm / Purchased 1999. The Queensland Government’s special Centenary Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Brisbane

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

Brisbane c.1860 / Item ID ITM1443234 / Image courtesy: Queensland State Archives

Overlooking Roma Street Reservoir toward South Brisbane c.1862 / 99183797696702061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Plan of the city of Brisbane 1865

T. Ham & Co. / Slater’s pocket map of the city of Brisbane 1865 / 996948254702061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Pictorial maps of Brisbane 1880s

Pictorial map of Brisbane 1881 / 997423324702061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

William Alfred Clarson, b.1852 / Pictorial map of Brisbane 1888 / 997423334702061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Silvester Diggles

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, England/Australia 1817–80 / View from Kangaroo Point 1858 / Pencil / 21.6 x 26.7cm / Acquired before 1959 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Silvester Diggles ‘Fortitude Valley’ 1858

Silvester Diggles, England/Australia 1817–80 / Fortitude Valley 1858 / Pencil / 21.5 x 26.7cm / Acquired before 1959 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Silvester Diggles ‘Kangaroo Point’ 1858

Silvester Diggles, England/Australia 1817–80 / Kangaroo Point 1858 / Pencil / 21.6 x 26.7cm / Acquired before 1959 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Silvester Diggles ‘North Brisbane from the south side’ 1858

Silvester Diggles, England/Australia 1817–80 / North Brisbane from the south side 1858 / Pencil / 21.6 x 26.8cm / Acquired before 1959 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Buildings

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.

Bulimba House

Conrad Martens, England/Australia 1801–78 / Bulimba House 1851 / Pencil / 28.5 x 17cm / Collection: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Bulimba House c.1905 / 99183505749602061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Bulimba House (far left) and Bulimba reach looking toward Teneriffe on the right from ‘Newstead House’ c.1907 / 99183513098902061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Newstead House

Looking toward Hamilton and the Brisbane River with Newstead House (in foreground) from O’Reilly’s Hill c.1872 / 99183506639302061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

View over Breakfast Creek from Hamilton including Newstead House (center left) c.1883 / 99183506744302061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Newstead House c.1920 / 99184004971302061 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

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.

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Go back in time when artists travelled to Lone Pine for inspiration

 

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 Picnic Park and Native Fauna Zoo, c.1927 / 5858 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Lone Pine 1938

Ray Olson, photographer / Lone Pine, 1938 / IE9680956 / Image courtesy: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales and Courtesy ACP Magazines Ltd.

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).

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

Moreton Bay Fig 1866

An early settler standing next to the Moreton Bay Fig which it is believed Fig Tree Pocket was named, 1866 / 5648 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Views towards Fig Tree Pocket 1890

View from Oxley towards Fig Tree Pocket, c.1890 / 191808 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

View from Oxley towards Fig Tree Pocket, c.1890 / 191807 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

View towards Lone Pine featuring the lone Hoop Pine 1931

Looking up stream from Corinda towards Lone Pine and its same sake, the lone Hoop Pine located across the river, 1931 / 189936 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

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

The ‘Mirimar’ on the Brisbane River, c.1940 / Image courtesy: Trove, National Library Australia

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

Charles H. Lancaster, Australia 1886-1959 / The homestead, Lone Pine 1945 / Oil on canvas on composition board / 30.5 x 41cm / Purchased 1945 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Charles H. Lancaster Estate

Daphne Mayo modelling a kangaroo 1935

Daphne Mayo modelling a kangaroo at Lone Pine Sanctuary 1935 / UQ:687212 / Image courtesy: Fryer Library, University of Queensland, Brisbane

Charles Lancaster

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.

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore the QAGOMA Collection

Charles Lancaster on a painting excursion near Marburg, Queensland 1959 / 165360 / Image courtesy: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

Curatorial extracts, research and supplementary material compiled by Elliott Murray, Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

Endnote
1 ‘Higher standard achieved’. Unidentified press cutting, Brisbane, c.23 Sept. 1935.

Featured image: Daphne Mayo modelling a kangaroo at Lone Pine Sanctuary, 1935 / UQ:418323 / Image courtesy: Fryer Library, University of Queensland, Brisbane

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Meet our feline friends

 

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.

ARTWORK STORIES: Delve into QAGOMA’s Collection highlights for a rich exploration of the work and its creator

ARTISTS & ARTWORKS: Explore the QAGOMA Collection

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

Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe, England/Australia 1850-1928 / Breakfast, Alpha (and detail) 1884 / Watercolour over pencil on wove paper / 25.3 x 35.4cm / Gift of the artist’s son in her memory 1964 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Chinese Style ‘Mandarin pocket’ 1800-1900 

Chinese Style / Mandarin pocket c.1800-1900 / Silk embroidered with a cat and butterfly / 8.3 x 8.5cm / Bequest of Dr Ernest Singer 1975 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Norman Lindsay ‘Cats’ 1919 

Norman Lindsay, Australia 1879 1969 / Cats 1919 / Etching on cream wove paper / 20 x 16cm / Gift of Lady Cilento 1986 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Lin Bloomfield, Odana/Bloomfield

Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel ‘Sleeping cat’ 1920s 

Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, Germany 1881-1965 / Sleeping cat c.1920s / Charcoal and watercolour wash on wove paper / 35.7 x 47.4 cm / Purchased 1976 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Tsugouharu Foujita ‘Self portrait with cat’ 1930

Tsugouharu Foujita, Japan 1886–1968 / Self portrait with cat 1930 / Colour woodblock print on cream wove paper / 35.3 x 26.8cm / Purchased 1952 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tsugouharu Foujita Estate

Kathleen Shillam ‘Cat’ 1950s-60s

Kathleen Shillam, Australia 1916-2002 / (Cat) 1950s-60s / Linocut on paper / 23.2 x 14.9cm / Gift of the artist 1980 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © On behalf of Shillam and Allen families of Len & Kathleen Shillam

Kathleen Shillam ‘Siamese cat’ 1960s

Kathleen Shillam, Australia 1916-2002 / Siamese cat c.1960s / Terracotta, slip-cast with dark brown over cream glazes / 10.5 x 16.5 x 8.5cm / Bequest of George Brown 1977 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © On behalf of Shillam and Allen families of Len & Kathleen Shillam

Robert Dickerson ‘Cat at the window’ 1976

Robert Dickerson, Australia 1924-2015 / Cat at the window 1976 / Colour photo-screenprint on wove paper mounted on composition board / 86.2 x 67.6 cm / Gift of the artist 1976 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Jennifer Dickerson/Copyright Agency

Inga Hunter ‘Wallhanging: Cat in a peach tree’ 1980

Inga Hunter, Australia b.1931 / Wallhanging: Cat in a peach tree 1980 / Appliqued and dyed Irish linen with wool and silk embroidery / 53.5 x 48.5cm / Purchased 1980 with the assistance of the Crafts Board of the Australia Council / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Inga Hunter

Elliott Murray is Senior Digital Marketing Officer, QAGOMA

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