Museums / Galleries, Sydney
Some people can truly be listed as national treasures. The lady pictured here was one such person.
This art work is significant inasmuch as it won Australia's most prestigious art award, the Archibald Prize for portraiture, and she was also the subject of another winning entry in the year of her death, 2011.
The one shown here was painted by the late Sir William Dobell, somewhat of a recluse but with a distinctive style that brought him fame, and it is owned by the State Gallery of N.S.W.
Fondest memory: Her name was Margaret Olley and she strode the art world almost like a messiah. She was much loved and revered not necessarily for her art, which was notable in itself, but for her philantrophy. Her encouragement of other artists, her generous funding of those in need, financed by her art and astute real estate investments, will long be remembered even though she has now passed.
She was rough diamond, still smoked right up to her death at 88, and wasn't afraid to voice an opinion, but try to find someone who didn't love the lady for what she was and you'll spend fruitless hours going nowhere.
I never actually met her but on more than one occasion read articles about her that made admire her and what she had done. May I say, in my own little way, thank you Margaret for gracinng the world with your presence.
Quote from a newpaper:
"Prime ministers and politicians, artists, children, musicians and Buddhist nuns - all were embraced over the years in her exuberant home in Paddington, where she has died aged 88.
Olley was painting until the end, her dealer and friend, Philip Bacon, said. Bacon was with her on Monday as she put the final touches to her forthcoming solo show.
''She went the way she wanted, with paint still on her fingers, cigarettes stubbed out and off to bed after a full day of painting,'' Bacon said of her death.
The artist has been remembered as a generous and unique spirit.
The director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Edmund Capon, described Olley as one of the most unforgettable - and politically incorrect - people he has encountered.
''Margaret Olley brought a new dimension to the word 'individual','' Mr Capon said.
''As a painter, Margaret found a wealth of beauty, humanity and inspiration in the most humble and prosaic of things - bowls of fruit, flowers and interiors.
''We often talked about colour and what was her favourite colour. Her answer was swift and straight forward. 'Green,' she would say. 'It's the colour of re-birth.'''
The gallery is housed in a purpose built neo classical style building in the Domain, one of Sydney's famous parks.
On your way you'll pass Goodwin's sculpture from 1986 (pic 3) that can be interpreted in many different ways but when you reach the entrance, on your left is a statue of man on horse with a somewhat poignant message enscribed around the base. It reads, "The real and lasting victories are those of peace, not war" and is by Gilbert Bayes of England in 1923 (pic 2).
The façade and old wing of the Gallery were built between 1896 and 1909. Architecturally, Sydney's Art Gallery reflects nineteenth century ideas about the cultural role of a gallery as a temple to art and civilizing values. Yet early designs for the Gallery were less confident about the institution's role and image. The present building is the work of Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon.
Fondest memory: The painting by Arthur Stretton in pic 4 is interesting. Arthur was sitting sketching the Lapstone Tunnel being created when they set off a blast. A boy was injured and some shrapnel from the blast ended up on Stretton's painting. He painted over the shrapnel so it is still embedded to this day.
The tryptych in picture 5 is interesting as is the artist's name, Cy Twombly. Inspired by Turner's "The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up", he has utilized ships from a different era, probably Roman, as he actually lives in Gaeta, an ancient port city south of Rome. The painting is titled, "Three studies from the Temeraire.
I was attracted to, but still can't work out, the Bugatti distorted on its side. It fascinates me the minds of some of these people that dream this stuff up. This one is usually housed towards the rear of the main foyer area where you walk in.
The good news is that the gallery is free except for some special exhibitions.
Occasionally an exhibition is rubbish, such as the Photography and Place, but these are fortunately infrequent. Generally they work really hard to satisfy public demand.
The three-masted-iron-barque James Craig is one of only four restored tall sailing ships of its kind in the world and the only one providing an ocean-going experience regularly to the general public with its day adventures
Majestic windjammers and their billowing white sails were a common sight around the world in the 1800’s, and boarding at Wharf 7 on Darling harbour, one can’t help but feel they are stepping back in time as the hand crafted timbers creak and shift gently beneath your feet.
The crew of trained and qualified volunteers busy themselves on the 20 kilometres of ropes and rigging, setting some of the 21 sails to get the ship underway. With the crew doing in all the hard work, passengers are able to explore the ship or just relax and soak it all in.
Originally known as the Clan Mcleod when it was built in 1874 in the United Kingdom, the hull of the 55m long vessel was constructed of 13mm thick iron plates.
Specifically designed to carry cargo, the deck had 3 hatches giving access to her 6m deep hold, with the lowest boom on each of the large 19m high masts used as cranes for transferring loads.
Sailing across nearly every ocean, the Clan Mcleod first traversed Australian waters in 1877 during a voyage to New Zealand, finally docking in Brisbane in 1879.
With the advent of steam she was sold to a new owner and based out of New York, delivering cargo to New Zealand via the Cape of Good Hope and returning through the treacherous seas of Cape Horn. Sailing in the southern oceans was not for the faint hearted with risks of gales, heavy seas and icebergs as she rounded Cape Horn 23 times.
Eventually sold to Mr J.J Craig of New Zealand, she arrived in her new home port of Auckland in 1901 to work the trans-Tasman routes, and was renamed the James Craig in honour of his son. The original ships bell engraved with the name Clan Mcleod was preserved by the Craig family and now hangs on the forward deck near the huge anchors.
Fondest memory: A transport shortage during World War I brought the vessel a new lease of life, but with war's end the duties were again cut back as she was unable to compete with steamers.
November 1925 saw the ship sold to a Tasmanian coal company and stripped to a barge. After a 1930 storm caused her to break anchor and run aground creating a navigational hazard, a hole was blown in the hull and she settled on the bottom in the shallow water of Recherche Bay for the next 42 years.
In 1972 volunteers from the Australian Heritage Fleet refloated the hull, transporting it to Hobart and then Sydney where restoration work began in February 1981.
Exploration of the ship reveals the treasures of the relatively luxurious saloon and Captains quarters lovingly restored with wood panelling, carvings, and period furniture.
On the deck above is the ship's huge wheel and steering system. Found in a scout den in Tasmania it was thought the wheel may have been originally from the James Craig, but research shows it is actually from her sister ship.
Amazingly the coal stored in the hold when she went down protected several sections of the hull from corrosion, with the original iron plates easily recognised around the ship by pitting patterns under the paint.
The vessel is now fully operational after 30 years and $18 million of restoration work. It can be visited dockside daily, and sails to sea regularly on day trips with its crew of Heritage Fleet volunteers sailing the ship, while passengers relax and are plied with food and drink.
In March 2003 the James Craig received the Maritime Heritage Award from the World Ship Trust in recognition of the “outstanding restoration and preservation of this historic ship”, going on to say “James Craig is an inspiration to all who seek to restore and preserve the maritime heritage of the world”.
For this info I acknowledge Carl Chapman who also has some excellent photos at his site.
A visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales is a must if you are an Art lover. It's the largest gallery in the city, and like they told me also the biggest of Australia. The Art Gallery is home to some of Australia's best-loved works of art including key works of the 'Heidelberg School'. It is the permanent exhibitions that make this gallery such a treasure. At any given time, visitors can view Aboriginal art, 19th and 20th century Australian art, Asian art, photography, European art, as well as contemporary works by Australian and international artists. There are frequent tours from the foyer information desk, as well as a good restaurant, an indoor/outdoor café and a well-stocked shop. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is home for the annual exhibitions for Australia's major art prizes, The Archibald, Sulman and Wynne. See for more pics in the City Views travelogue please.