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Listed under:  Language  >  Text types  >  Imaginative texts  >  Narratives  >  Settings (Narratives)
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Dreaming about Country

Discover the rich and beautiful world of Edwin Lee Mulligan's dreams, recorded in paintings and stories. In this clip on his work 'Ngarlimbah - it's about us', he tells one of his dreams of Country - his country, his mother's country and his father's country - the places, trees, mountains, rivers and creatures that connect ...

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Reading the message in a painting

Have you ever 'read' a painting? In England during the mid-1800s, the job of a seamstress or dressmaker was often not a happy one. Explore, or 'read', Richard Redgrave's painting 'The Seamstress' (1846) to find out more about the life of one such woman, and to discover the message that the artist was sending.

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Every painting tells a story

At first glance you will see in Thomas Faed's painting 'Worn Out' (1868) a sleeping child in a bed holding the sleeve of a man asleep in a chair beside him. You might imagine the story shown here and think about the way the painting makes you feel. This clip has many more clues that will help you understand the story in ...

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What most figures in Boyd's paintings?

Australian artist Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) has contributed a huge amount to Australian art, says former director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Edmund Capon. Hear Capon's view that, although many of Boyd's paintings are of Australian landscapes, the focus is more on the people within them, and about Boyd's own thoughts ...

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GW Evans: 'Blighton Farm' 1810

Blighton Farm, on the Hawkesbury River at Pitt Town in the colony of New South Wales, was a successful farmstead. How does the artist convey this in the painting? Watch this video to find out why such a painting was commissioned and created.

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The Sydney Bird Painter - 'The white gallinule' c. 1791-92

Can you imagine what it would have been like to arrive in Australia and see its unique flora and fauna for the first time? Scientific drawings of Australia's flora and fauna emerged with the arrival of the first European settlers who were fascinated by how unusual they were. Sadly, even as they documented these extraordinary ...

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Alexander Dick: 'Tea service' c. 1828

Alexander Dick was one of the few professional silversmiths operating in Sydney Town in the 1820s. He immigrated to Sydney in 1824 as a free settler; however, he was later convicted of receiving stolen silver and was shipped to Norfolk Island for four years, an Island owned by the British at this time off the coast of the ...

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Eugene von Guerard: 'Purrumbete from across the lake' 1858

Lured to Australia by the discovery of gold, Eugene von Guérard was the lead painter in the first century of European settlement. This piece is one of a pair that was commissioned by land owners Peter and John Manifold. Von Guérard was known for his mastery of landscapes, and his attention to detail and interest in the ...

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J. W. Lindt: 'Mourners and dead house at Kalo, New Guinea' 1885

J. W. Lindt's book of Picturesque New Guinea was a first introduction for many readers to New Guinea. His fascination with the Papuans began when he travelled back to Australia via the Torres Strait in 1868 after a trip to Europe. When a protectorate colony was declared over parts of South East New Guinea in 1884 he volunteered ...

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'The Rajah quilt' 1841

The Rajah quilt was made by female convicts on route from England to the colony of Tasmania in 1841. It consists of 2815 pieces of fabric and was presented to the Governor's wife upon arrival as a testament to the women's industry. The women learned these skills on the long journey to Australia on board their convict ship ...

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John Glover: 'Mr Robinson's house on the Derwent, Van Diemen's Land' c. 1838

Artists were often captivated by their first glimpse of the Australian landscape and portrayed the countryside with a sense of wonder. This example by John Glover includes trees with curled branches, brightly lit skies and colour infused hills. How does this image compare to others you have seen of this period?

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John Glover: 'Patterdale landscape with cattle' c. 1833

John Glover migrated to Tasmania in 1831, arriving on his 64th birthday. He is considered one of Australia's most important artists of the early 19th century and the colonial period. This piece was one of the first he completed after taking up a land grant in Patterdale on the Nile River. The pastoral scene depicts the ...

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Conrad Martens: 'View from Rose Bank' 1840

Many early artists romanticised the Australian colonial landscape and did not always strictly paint what they saw. In this example Martens has given the landscape a decidedly Italian atmosphere, softening the colour palate and creating a more ‘civilised' view. Can you think of why the artist may be interested in changing ...

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John Eyre: (print after) 'Port Jackson Harbour NSW' 1812

This panoramic view of Port Jackson shows the fledgling European settlement taking shape. Part of a set of 12, this print was drawn by convict artist John Eyre who was transported for breaking and entering. The intended clientele included local trading ships and members of the British military and naval forces. The series ...

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John Lewin: 'Reed warbler' 1805

Natural history illustrator John Lewin was the first professional artist to come to Australia as a free settler. His collected illustrations of native birds became the first non-government book published in the colony. How difficult do you think it was to identify and illustrate so many different birds?

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Arthur Merric Boyd: 'Gathering seaweed before the storm, Sandringham beach' 1900

Arthur Boyd's interest in seeking to capture the effects of light on water is demonstrated here. How does he convey the impression of an approaching storm? How do you think painting outdoors influences the use of light and colour he uses in his art?

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Emma Boyd: 'The quail shooter' 1884

In this work Emma Boyd depicts the landscape near her home, ‘The Grange', in Victoria. See how the landscape dominates the single human figure? What do you think this suggests? What is the artists trying to say by creating this sense of scale?

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Louis Buvelot: 'Near Fernshaw' 1873

Louis Buvelot depicted the Australian landscape with a sense of familiarity that many settlers had come to feel about their new homeland. The influence of the outdoor painting style saw his work become known for revealing the hidden beauty in seemingly normal landscapes. How does Buvelot achieve this sense of familiarity ...

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Isaac Whitehead: 'A Sassafras gully, Gippsland' c. 1870

How do you create a sense of space and size in landscapes? In this piece Isaac Whitehead depicts the enormous trees of the mountain forest in Gippsland by painting it from a high viewpoint. The presence of the tiny bullock cart and small human figures serves as a contrast to the enormous trees surrounding them. What other ...

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Charles Conder: 'Hot wind' 1889

In the late 19th century symbolism was used in depictions of the Australian Colonial landscape. This example painted by Charles Conder was painted during the Victorian drought in 1889.How does the artist convey the heat of the Australian landscape in this image? What role does the female figure play in this painting?