Rivers in Australia at National Library of Australia Treasures Gallery

Image off NLA Website for this exhibition

The National Library does a great job of targetted historical exhibitions. This small show in the Treasures Gallery bring together rich maps, books and photographs to portray a historical insight to the place of Rivers in Australia. A land of vast dry areas also features great flooding rivers. There are some maps of early Canberra and a great photograph of the flooded city before the finishing of Lake Burley Griffin. For the history geography buff it is a great half an hour visit.The National Library is still about the only institurion to ban photographs. These artifacts are all in th epublic collection and lots of them are very old. Still puzzles me.

Exhibition is on till September 12 and the website is: https://www.nla.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/rivers-lifeblood-australia

Ruth Lane-Poole – A woman of influence at Canberra Museum and Gallery

Photo of one of Ruth’s watercolours illustrating the range of her creative skills

I love the role of curators. This weekend saw the opening of an exhibition devoted to arguably Australia’s first career interior designer – Ruth Lane-Poole. The display is at CMAG because the biggest and most significant contributions she made to Canberra was to design the interiors of the two grand residences of the captial in the 1920s, Government House and the Lodge.

The curator, Margaret Betteridge has pulled together a gorgeous collection of related artefacts to tell the story of two significant buildings set in an era and intertwined with the story of a creative, courageous woman. Lane-Poole was emerging from a creative family to influence the visual elements of interior design in her generation and in many ways each decade since. Betteridge has told the complex tale effectively.

This show has lots of what I love in exhibitions. The artefacts range from a garland with fabric flowers used in Lane-Poole’s wedding through to a two metre carved timber table. The story is fascinating, the layout is easy to following and the intertwining of history with the personal lives of the participants is engaging.

The exhibition is on till Saturday 2nd October 2021

Details on website http://www.cmag.com.au/exhibitions/ruth-lane-poole-a-woman-of-influence

Behind the Lines – The year in political cartoons at the Museum of Australian Democracy Old Parliament House

Privacy Concerns – Mark Knight Herald Sun 20 April 2020

One of the annual exhibitions that ticks lots of boxes for me is the Behind the Lines one. This puts maybe 100 of the best political cartoons of the year up on the walls of the Old Parliament House. The curators group the cartoons in broad categories in large formats with brief context commentary for visitors to absorb. It is a laugh, it is tough and the creative beauty of the cartoonist’s art is riveting. Seeing a year in review reminds the viewer of the issues that are short term and those which continue. It is well worth a look and is on till November. There is a $2 entry charge for Old Parliament House and the following link is to a website with a video for the Cartoonist of the Year Cathy Wilcox


Australian Love Stories at The National Portrait Gallery

Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter from the exhibition

The Portrait Gallery people keep surprising me with their exhibitions and their content. I expected this to simply feature romantic relationships. Instead it is a rich story of human connections across generations, cultures and every range of human love. The other surprise is the scale. Rather than just filling the temporary exhibition space it is housed in three times that area. The stories are from fun to profound and the diversity of people and friendships is wide. There is only three more weeks of this exhibition so rush in and enjoy lots of great love stories.

The admission price is $15 and it runs to Sunday August 1 2021

More information: https://www.portrait.gov.au/exhibitions/australian-love-stories-2020

A Nation Imagined: The Artists of the Picturesque Atlas at National Library of Australia

Landscape painting from NLA page for exhibition

This amazing exhibition finishes this weekend. The roots for this show was a collaboration between the National Library and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Picturesque Atlas of Australasia was published between 1986-9 and this exhibition focusses on the artists who contributed to the work. The three principal artists were Julian Ashton, A. Henry Fullwood and Frank Mahony As usual with NLA exhibitions the display is rich with great historical source material and great information from the curatorial staff. The NLA is the only institution I know of in Australia that prohibits use of cameras in their exhibitions. I do not remember any material in this display younger than 100 years old which is puzzling.

This is a link to the documents that are available on Trove if you do not get into the Library this weekend.


The Trevor Kennedy Collection at National Museum of Australia

Royal Worcester Waratah Ceramics

This is an exhibition selected from a large group of artefacts donated by Trevor and Christina Kennedy and their family. Trevor Kennedy began collecting artefacts connected to Australian history while he was living in London in the 1960s. His collection became enormous as his vision sought to fill a gap he saw in collections of Australiana.

This exhibition is a small example of a personal collection of furniture, home wares, domestic objects, and jewellery. The quality of the selected items is great. I look forward to lots of further exhibitions from the collection.

This exhibition will continue till October 10 2021 Opening hours Mon to Sun 9am-5pm Website:


Australian Megafauna at Australian National Botanical Gardens

An example of the Schouten paintings

Australian wildlife artist, author and paleontological illustrator, Peter Schouten AM has fourteen of his works exhibited at the small gallery in the Visitors’ Centre at the Australian National Botanical Gardens. Drawing on his research Schouten has represented animals that predate our current fauna and includes forebears of Kangaroos, Goannas, Wambats and other fauna that are much larger and often more ferocious looking than their modern counterparts.

The exhibition is accompanied by large fibreglass sculptures of the megafauna on a trail outside in the gardens with explanatory panels for visitors. The exhibition runs from 23 June – 25 July; 9.30 am–4.30 pm and more details are on the website https://parksaustralia.gov.au/botanic-gardens/do/whats-on/exhibitions/australian-megafauna/

Watford at Werribbee @ Wyndam Art Gallery

5-29 October 2017

An exhibition of local historical artifacts is always an important feature of the program of a local art gallery. The artist, Lyndal Jones is exhibiting an evolving set of artifacts drawn from a derelict building in Avoca in central Victoria to create a sense of history and local remembrance. The exhibition or installation is part of an international project. There is more information on the gallery website.


Ann Zahalka – Landscape revisited @ Murray Art Museum Albury

26 May – 5 Nov 2017

Ann Zahalka gives you a new take on iconic Australian paintings. She takes familiar landscape paintings and inserts new people to give them a cheekily different take on their place in our history. Each of these artworks have a funny side to them. One which originally had an English pioneer couple preparing to build their first house among tall gum trees now features a set of post World War Two Italian migrants sitting in the same scene.

The gallery page is below.


Next Generation Solomon Islands after RAMSI – Sean Davey @ Huw Davies Gallery Photoaccess

17 August – 10 September 2017

Sean Davey has taken and is exhibiting photographs of the Solomon Islands at the point that the Regional Assistance Mission in  Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was finishing its work. The photos mix large black and white and smaller coloured takes on various parts of life in Solomon Islands.The pictures look into aspects of traditional culture and rural activities.

Some pictures and gallery materials are attached below