May 14 - 20, 2017: Issue 312

A Historic Catalogue And Record Of Pittwater Art I – Of Places, Peoples And The Development Of Australian Art And Artists

Coastal Landscapes and Seascapes
'Narrabeen' (nos. 45-46, 48-51). Circa 1890 to 1910 - from State Library of NSW Album: 'Box 21: Glass negatives including views of New Zealand farms, Sydney Harbour, Narrabeen, and maypole dancing at the SCG, ca. 1890-1910.' Presented by David William Macpherson, 2014 - Above: c071860040 in this series - courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW.

Below - Narrabeen circa 1890 - courtesy the private collection of David James, former Mayor and Councillor of Pittwater Council.
Above - Image No.: c071860044 'Ocean View Store, Narrabeen' Circa 1890 to 1910 - from State Library of NSW Album: 'Box 21: Glass negatives including views of New Zealand farms, Sydney Harbour, Narrabeen, and maypole dancing at the SCG, ca. 1890-1910.' Presented by David William Macpherson, 2014

Narrabeen Art From 1876/1877 Engraving Used To Illustrate An Article - Note Spelling: 'Narrabean'

Narrabean And Mona Vale.

THERE are few spots about Sydney more picturesque and interesting than Narrabean and Mona Vale, Pitt Water, and the wonder is that more visitors from the noisy and dusty metropolis do not find their way to these peaceful sylvan scenes, to rusticate and recruit their flagging energies. Fish abound in the lagoon, and at the present season there is no lack of game in the underbrush near the shore, and the ridges that extend towards the higher country at the back. In addition to this, the character of the whole place is different from anything that is met with in any other part of the metropolitan districts ; and as the eye takes in the prospect afforded, particularly at Narrabeen, one who knows the history of the locality can hardly help being impressed with the idea that it is a picture full of sad memories and mournful recollections. Right before the visitor, as he stands upon the piece of elevated land overlooking the lagoon, extends a fine stretch of grassy country, almost as level as a race-course Though within a few yards of the ocean, not a rock or sign of such proximity is visible, and the whole reach is protected from the violence of storms by a belt of thick forest which margins the ocean throughout. At the back rugged ridges rise precipitously, and these being clad with foliage to their very crown, add much to the sense of beauty and security, as it were, of the whole place. Hereabout are evidences of a once busy time; but desolation now presents itself on every hand. The houses are in ruins, and the fences dilapidated, and one sees nothing now but what indicates a marvellous chance from the past; remnants of once comfortable homesteads show themselves, and time indeed seems here to have destroyed all that the energy and industry of man once sought to produce or rear up. Turning round, and looking in a north-easterly direction, an enchanting view meets the eye. 

Our artist has endeavoured, in the accompanying engraving, to depict some of its beauty. Almost at one's foot the placid waters lie like a mirror, over an area of several miles, till the ridges push in their rugged outlines on either side, and thus intercept the view ; but then, farther on, the eye catches a glimpse of a piece of cultivated country, where, one would think, a man might dwell in peace and quiet all his days. To the right the lagoon extends towards the ocean, from which it is separated by a sandy bar, which, however, allows of overflow one way and the other according to the circumstances of the hour. Cranes and aquatic birds abound, but there is very little sign of human life during the greater part of the year. At certain seasons, however, a few fishermen come to the place for a few weeks' stay, and with the aid of their boat and net are able to make the visit profitable. Our view shows their boat upon the lake, moving silently along as a thing of life. 

No more enchanting sight presents itself than this when observed at an early hour- as day breaks, and the gloom disappears, and each headland and bay is lit up, and the whole scene which lies before the eye presents a magnificent panorama of undisturbed nature. Turning again to the ruins, one wonders why such a spot should be I deserted, and the mind is by degrees induced to picture the past, and ask where are those busy hands that first broke in upon this silent scene-that in old times toiled and toiled from day to day beneath the burning sun, to gather about them the comforts of civilisation - all scattered or fallen into disrepair and ruin. Each stone has its history, and the decayed and tottering posts erected by industrious hands tell of the men who have long since passed over to the majority.

But all must be left to the imagination ; there is no one about to reveal the past; nothing seems to live or flourish, save a gigantic cabbage-tree, which rears its head fifty or sixty feet, and, defiant of both time and tempest, looks complacently down on the surrounding scene of desolation. Of late years the place has been in the possession of the Jenkins family, whose members have won for themselves the esteem of all the residents of the district, and whose generous hospitality is spoken of by every one who visits Narrabean. Their homestead is situated a short distance in from the coast, at Long Reef, and its unobtrusive yet comfortable appearance reminds one of an English country home. 

The land at Narrabean is not now cultivated; the soil has been worked out long ago, but a few sheep and cattle are frequently depastured there. Wherever one looks in this district, the scenery presents an aspect totally different from what is usually met with on the coast, as here is found a long stretch of land within a stone throw of the ever-rolling ocean, originally of great fertility, but exhausted by long cropping and careless cultivation. It is much the same with the Mona Vale estate, which is situated about three miles on the opposite side of Narrabean, and usually reached by crossing the lagoon in its shallowest part, which is about the centre. As one wends his way along through the bush, and Mona Vale opens out before him, he stands to behold and enjoy the novel view that presents itself ; it is so secluded and quiet, and yet so grand, with the rugged ridges on the one hand, and the turbulent ocean on the other, that it singularly impresses the visitor, who becomes eager to learn its history, and feels sure there must be many pleasant reminiscences to tell of past occupants. What a sad mistake ! What fearful trials and losses and disappointments have been experienced here. Its history should be written in blood, for if ever red-handed crime flourished in any country, it flourished and triumphed here, till it brought ruin and death to honest people ; and justice, outraged beyond bearing, rushed in and brought the delinquents to punishment. The description of these places has already taken up all the space that can be afforded, so we must defer till a future opportunity a brief outline of the leading incidents in their history. Narrabean and Mona Vale. (1877, January 6). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 20. Retrieved from 
in our first page in this series, A Historic Catalogue and Record of Pittwater Art I - The Estuary, the appearance of wild coastal landscapes and then the appearance in these of vessels and structures, of people, marks the shift from sketches and paintings made to be used to recognise places, as charts of kinds, towards recording the inherent beauty of a place for its and art's sake. This shift also marks the changes within our society from times when we strolled, fully clothed, beside the sea, to when frolicking in a wave in broad daylight became legal and the trade of fishermen or shipwrights was properly viewed in its practical and romantic calling to any artist. 

This shift also allows us to see what was and what has become of these places - it reaffirms Pittwater's beginnings as a rural idyll of farms and its shift towards being a resort on the perimeter of Sydney and then becoming a place not only affordable for those who pursued the Artist's trek but also provided them with many inspirations.

When people think of Coastal Landscapes they may restrict their definition to grand paintings and etching and photographs of the coast itself, of the cliffs and beaches that meet the sea. Pittwater has many other sides to its coastal landscape nature though - trees embedded in rolling hills not far from the salty air, masted schooners nestled amid placed bays.

As the Australian Artist developed, so did their means of expression, producing not only works that step away from traditional representations of landscape into mediums that included sculpture, wearable art or enamelling, but also the quality of that expression itself, producing trees in different seasons and shades of light so you may dive deep into the blue haze sun on ecucalypt may produce during high Summer or that cold dawn mist that mid-Winter can bring. These all were, and are, part of our Coastal Landscapes.

Some Artists, through the prolific amount of local features they produced in their works, will feature larger in this page. Others may have only onepainting we could find but were influential in what they did and how they did it during these early generations of Pittwater, and Australian, Art. Some of earliest what were then termed 'colonial painters' run in some of the articles that featured them under 'Extras'. 

A focus on the many people and their mediums of Pittwater Art will follow this Seacapes and Landscapes insight, including what were deemed 'Artists Colonies' by such people as Sydney Ure Smith, himself an artist, at Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport and Avalon, which must of course include such Sculpture Artisans as Harry Squire, whose work still features at Bayview Golf Course:

A flagrant act of desecration occurred at Mona Vale Cemetery within the past few days, a symbolic statue, the creation of Mr. H. Tristram Squire, having been stolen from the grave of the late Mr. Henry Moncur Atkinson. About four months ago Mr. Atkinson, a resident of Mona Vale, died at the age of 92, and, as he was an ardent bird-lover, his niece, Mrs. O'Reilly, of Pymble, thought it would be appropriate to perpetuate his memory by a drinking vessel for the native birds with which the Mona Vale district abounds. Mr. Squire, who during recent years has specialised in statuary representing birds, animals, and aborigines, was commissioned, and a fort-night ago he placed on the grave a handsome statue of a stork, five feet high, standing over 
a large bowl. The latter, which was inscribed with grape leaves, was filled with water for birds to drink from.

Apparently the statuary was only in position a week when the stork disappeared. The bowl was carried a few yards, turned upside down, and smeared with mud, the thieves apparently intending to disguise its beauty pending an opportunity to return for it. One evening at dusk a man was seen from a distance in the cemetery staggering under a heavy load, with which he drove off in a car. This was evidently the stork, which, being constructed of concrete and reinforced with iron; weighed about a hundredweight. The police, who are investigating the robbery, are puzzled as to the motive of the thieves, since the stork is signed with the sculptor's name.

Mr. Squire's work is familiar to tourists who pass along the road to Bay View and Church Point. His group of elephants is conspicuous at the Bay View golf links, and a family group of aborigines encamped about a natural pond in his grounds causes many a motoring party to stop. STATUARY STOLEN. (1935, April 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from

Children standing by elephant fountain at Bayview Golf Course. Courtesy Phil Lipscombe and Mona Vale Library Local History Unit

Mr. H. Tristram Squire, of Mona Vale, died this week, aged 69 years. Mr. Squire was a native of Victoria, and as a youth studied art with Sir John Longstaff and Sir Arthur Streeton. He developed especially as a portrait painter and sculptor, and in recent years devoted much time to modelling of life-sized figures and groups of animals in the garden of his home at Mona Vale are several groups of aborigines one of which depicts black-fellows spearing fish in a natural pool. Mr Squire was a lover of animals. His garden is the home of opossums, wallabies kookaburras and aviary birds many of which would perch fearlessly upon him. He is survived by Mrs Squire, who is also an artist. OBITUARY. MR. H. TRISTRAM SQUIRE. (1938, May 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from

The first 'coastal landscapes' were of course the petroglyphs made by the original custodians of this land, and ascribed to chart the seasonal changes in the landscapes, and the sea our lands adjoin, according to those who hold this knowledge still. It is pleasing to see that, when encountered, for the most part these were set aside as areas and works to be preserved:

Sir,-I enclose a copy of some aboriginal carvings at Palm Beach, which should be of Interest to the public The outline drawings represent two kinds of fish and a man, cut on a flat rock; on the hill between Sand Point, Pittwater, and Cabbage Tree. Boat Harbour, Palm Beach, Barranjoey. The fish measures 22ft, the man 6ft 6in, and the smaller fish 6ft
Long. They have exceptionally good outlines, and are better shaped than any others yet recovered The Hawkesbury sandstones, by reason of their comparative softness, offered exceptional facilities to the coastal tribes of our aborigines to display their art In pictorial drawings, as there are many in the -Port Jackson and Hawkesbury districts It is not known what age these carvings can be, but many hundreds of years must have elapsed since they were made The drawings have only Just been discovered by Architect H A.Wilshire and Stonemason J Booth, who were looking for building stone on the company's property at Palm Beach The company has decided to preserve the carvings for all time.
I am, etc.,
E. E. G. de GYULAY, Secretary,
The Barrenjoey Company.
ABORIGINAL CARVTNGS AT PALM BEACH. (1918, January 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

In the course at a lecture delivered last evening at the monthly meeting at the Manly, Warringah, and Pittwater Historical Society, Mr. J. W. Boyer referred to the art tracings by aborigines in French's Forest.
The subject of tho lecture was "The Valley of the Oxford Falls," which the lecturer described as a secluded and romantic spot in French's Forest, about three miles due west from the coast and Deewhy. The falls are the centre of a picturesque locality, to which there is only one road of ingress by way of Brookvale and Beacon Hill. Like the whole of the country between Manly  and Pittwater, the valley of tho Oxford Falls was formerly the haunt of aborigines, and there are two outstanding examples of their art tracings. One is situated at the rear of the metal quarry, and another due west from the rear of Mr. Hain's residence. "There has been much controversy," Mr. Boyer told, "as to the origin or cause of some really wonderful lines or tracings on tho summit of a hill in the district. The lines exist in the form of deeply scored lines, of a geometrical pattern, such as the markings on the shell of a tortoise or a crocodile. Some people claim that they were drawn by aborigines, but the great extent covered-about three acres discounts that theory. It is more likely that the markings were formed by the action of the sun when the rock was in a muddy state. The markings should, however, be further Investigated, and  suggest that expert geologists should examine them." ABORIGINAL ART. (1925, August 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from


Portion of the rock carvings at Allambie-road, overlooking Brookvale, which the Government is preserving. MANLY VALE ABORIGINAL CARVINGS. (1932, September 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from

Preservation of Manly Examples.
"Gumbooya" (meeting place) was the name given on Saturday by the president of the Warringah Shire Council (Councillor Shepherd) to two and a half acres of land in Allambie street, Manly, on which there are so many aboriginal drawings that the area has become known as the "aboriginal art gallery."
The block of land has been vested by the Department of Lands in the shire council for the protection of the drawings, at the request of the Manly, Warringah, and Pittwater Historical Society. It is to be fenced, and a look-out is to be erected on the highest point of the area. ABORIGINAL DRAWINGS. (1933, May 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

To open it seems best to start from where the shift of combined Artisans and Art Shows in the early 1860's to the formation of the Royal Art Society of N.S.W. in 1880. Those who were here then state:

A MEETING of the committee and members of the School of Arts took place on Tuesday, evening, in the Lecture Hull of that institution, for the purpose of receiving the report of the Exhibition Committee. The chair was taken shortly after 8 o'clock, by N. D. Stenhouse, Esq., Vice President, supported by the Rev. O. H. Stanley. A considerable number of the members of the School of Arts were also present. After a few prefatory observations, the Chairman called upon the Secretary, Mr. J. T. Hobbs, to read the following :

The committee appointed to make and carry out the necessary arrangements for the Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition, to inaugurate the opening of the new Building- take the earliest opportunity of reporting the remits of their labours. They rejoice in being able to state that the Exhibition has been in every Important particular a great success. The expectations of those who suggested and commenced the undertaking have been more than realised, and an impetus has, it is believed, been given, both to the institution and to the public mind, not only beneficial in itself, but the herald of still greater good in the future.

The results of the Exhibition may conveniently be classed under various headings : -

Under the 1st bead are Included the Influences of all of a healthy, stimulating character-which the display of so many excellent works of art, models, articles of taste and vertu, together with specimens of native productions and manufactures, must have had upon the minds of many thousands of spectators. In a new country, where there are so few objects of historical interest, where opportunities for the cultivation of taste and refinement are of necessity comparatively rare, and where intellect is liable to run to waste from the want of rational stimulus and wise direction, it is exceedingly important that every effort should be made by institutions Iike ours, not only to afford facilities for improvement to their own members, but to take their part in educating, as far as it is in their power, the public mind generally. The temptations to intellectual and moral dissipation are many and strong and these are to be counteracted most effectually by engaging the attention in worthier objects of thought and study. Viewed in this light, the recent Exhibition must have had a most beneficial influence. And in this connection should be mentioned the ... When it is considered that on many occasions the rooms were inconveniently crowded, and that ...

The exhibition has afforded an opportunity, of which all classes have been prompt to avail themselves, for and pictures, statuary, and other works of art of a high class are not confined to the cabinets of the wealthy. Many historical items have been collected together and have at once ...the ...curiosity or the Inquiring mind, philosophical apparatus of every kind, accompanied in many cases with experiments, have, it is believed, excited not only ... but the intelligent admiration of a large class of visitors. The collection of specimens of colonial manufacture and products, though not as complete as might have been wished, has indicated not only the aim our boundless resources of our country but the skill and industry of our embryo manufacturers. The additional effect or both these will, it is hoped, be to show to our people and their rulers, that the true path to national pride and prosperity is by the wise - development of natural wealth ' No lesson is more needed even in the present day than this that all honest labour is also honourable, and that no man ... workman who does not take pride in his work and ..of... to make it perfect in its kind. Colonial workmen have it is believed, had this lesson effectually Impressed on their minds with the industrial exhibition. 

The amount received for admission, allowing for 174 season. tickets, will .tend as follows :- ...15,600 single admissions at 1s.",. .

Ditto ditto 6d. I £775 0 0 174 season tickets, ...

Allowing the session ticket holders to hat o visited six times the large number of 17,315 persons will have attended. '

The results to contributors have been in many respects highly advantageous. The Exhibition has been the means of ... additional prominence to several artists, manufacture and workmen, and had those served not only to encourage merit but to secure to it rewards of a more substantial character, it is gratifying it is to know that the specimens of skill displayed in various departments led visitors to give orders for articles of a similar kind to no inconsiderable amount. Many persons were heard to express, surprise as well as pleasure at finding that colonial workmen could display products of their craft equal to anything to be seen in countries of much greater manufacturing experience. Various specimens of leather work, (including saddlery and of wood graining,called forth especial attention : and it is a matter of regret that the plans of the Exhibition Committee did not admit of prizes, medals, or some other honorary mark of distinction being awarded to the contributors who most distinguished themselves. In each department. The Exhibition being to some extent, an experimental one, some manufacturers looked on its earlier stages with indifference, and did not give themselves time to prepare anything. Others, from the same came, forwarded to a hurry ... much ... elaborate than they might have sent. Those who did avail themselves at the repeated invitations of the committee have reaped, as they deserved, the rewards of activity and enterprise. There is little doubt that when a similar exhibition is again announced many additional contributors, will take a hint from the results of the one recently closed, and will assert their claim to a share of both the honour and the profit derived by the contributors to the Exhibition of 1861.

Under the 4th bead are classed the results of the exhibition as regards the institution itself. One very satisfactory result has been to raise the character or the School of Arts to public estimation, and to give it a prestige which, it is hoped, may never be lost. The very fact that our Institution should have the spirit to initiate so great and important a work, would naturally impress the public in its favour. This feeling has been strengthened and increased by the signal success of the undertaking, and the vigour and energy of which that successes bore fruit. It may be said, without presumption, that the Sydney Mechanic' School of Arts has now established its characters as the leading institution of the kind in the Southern hemisphere. It has amply justified Its olsim., not only lo the public support It had already received, but the further aid which it may hereafter seek from the liberality of the citizens, or Sydney. It is confidently hoped that a large increases of members to our institution may be relied on, and that many persons who have hitherto stood aloof from its affairs will now be willing to give it their support As regards the ordinary business of the institution, there has necessarily  been some interruption, and great praise is due to the forbearance and consideration of those members whose convenience has been Interfered with during the continuance of the exhibition. Amongst the results to the institution may hers be mentioned Its almost entire liberation from the liabilities entered Into a few months ago, to raise, within a given time, the amount required by the conditions on which the Government grant of.£2000 was made to the new building fund. The exhibition committee take this opportunity of adding their recommendation, that is much as possible of the proceeds of the exhibition be devoted to the enlargement and improvement of the Lecture-hall-believing as they do, that the latter might, by this way, be made a source of Increased income to the institution, besides being much more useful to the members.

The acknowledgments of the exhibition committee are due, and are hereby cordially rendered to the contributor of the many and valuable articles which have been as kindly lent. The general spirit displayed by the various owners of the pictures, and other works of art entrusted to the committee, is beyond all praise, and has placed not only the Institution, but the public under a great obligation. Acknowledgments are no less due to those gentlemen who so kindly contributed their valuable time and labour in preparing and carrying out the exhibition. The amount of voluntary toil undergone by some of these was as cheerfully rendered as it was conducive to the success of the undertaking. The thanks of the committee and the members are due also to the gentlemen of the Press for the encouraging and discriminating notices which almost every day appeared in the public journals, and which did as much to popularise the exhibition. Nor would the committee forget the meed of praise due to the secretary of the institution, Mr. Hobbs, -.".All the various persons employed under him, and to whom the care and attention the success of the exhibition is in no small degree owing.

Free admission was granted by the committee during the last day to the children of the various charitable institutions in the city and neighbourhood, as well as to the juvenile corps of volunteers. And it was a matter of great regret to the committee, as well as to the young folks, that the great Inclemency of the weather rendered it impossible for more than a few to avail themselves of the treat.

Closing of the Exhibition.-As the exhibition had been formally opened by the then Administrator of the Government, His , Excellency Colonel Kern, t, it was thought fitting that it should be closed In like manner by the newly arrived Governor, the Right Honorable Sir John Young, Bart. Arrangements for this purpose were accordingly made ; but. the inclemency of the weather again interfered, and the final closing was necessarily private. The address which had been prepared for the evening of closing, was afterward, by arrangement, presented to His Excellency at Government House, by a deputation consisting of Hon. J.K. Holden, Esq., M.L.C.; President. Rev. John Woolley, D.CL, and Rev. G. B  Stanley. M.A.; Vice Presidents, Dr. George Walker. Mr. Fowlie, and Mr J. T. Hobbs. This address and His Excellency's reply have been already published. The exhibition was opened on the 25th day of February, 1881, and closed on the 5th day of April, 1861, having been open (excluding Sundays), thirty-two days. ' In conclusion, the exhibition committee offer their congratulation* to tbs general committee and the members of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts on the succees which has attended their labours, and expresses hope that when another exhibition of a similar character as inaugurated, of which there appears every probability before very long, the experience acquired during the last few months, will render it even more complete and successful than the one the management of which has been entrusted to their care.

Mr. MACINTOSH then rose and moved the adoption of the report of the exbibition, which he characterised as the first popular success which had ever been achieved in Sydney.

ALEXANDER WATT, Esq, J.P., had much pleasure in seconding the motion, which was carried unanimously.

Mr. ALFRED CANE then addressed the meeting, and adduced several very gratifying proofs of lbs disinterested conduct displayed by many numbers of the institution, in supplying materials, free of cost, to order to further the purpose of the exhibition.^

The Rev. G. H. STANLEY spoke in highly eulogistic terms of the zealous exertions of Mr. Alfred Cane, to which the success bf the exhibition was eminently attributable, and also acknowledged the indebtedness of the institution to Mr. Charles Moore, of the Botanical Gardens, who had forwarded a very liberal supply of ever-greens for the garniture of the exhibition room, and to many other individuals whom it would hardly have been possible to enumerate.

Mr. MANSFIELD adverted to the great good which accorded to individuals from voluntary efforts seen as those which had insured the success of the exhibition,, which he trusted would only be the commencement of a new series of successes.

A vote of thanks was then proposed to the committee of management of the exhibition, which was unanimously adopted, and carried with acclamation.

Mr, MANSFIELD briefly returned thanks, and the Rev. Mr. Stanley having been moved into the chair,

Mr. ALDERSON then proposed a vote of-thanks to Mr. Stenhouse, for his able and impartial conduct in the chair. .

Mr. STENHOUSE having acknowledged the compliment offered him, the meeting appareled.

Perhaps the most gratifying feature in the proceedings of the evening, was the unanimous feeling of gratification displayed by all present that, the Exhibition had so fully answered the expectations of its promoters. It was announced during the evening that a Natural History and Chemistry Class was in process of formation, under Professor Watt, and also that the lecture-room would be required for the next week or two, for the exhibition of the designs for the new Houses of Parliament. SYDNEY SCHOOL OF ARTS. (1861, April 18). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 2. Retrieved from

W.H. Raworth (Brit./Aust./NZ, c1821-1904). St Michael’s Arch, NSW [Avalon] c1860s. Watercolour, signed lower left, obscured title in colour pencil verso, 34.2 x 56.5cm. Tear to left portion of image, slight scuffs and foxing to upper portion.  Price (AUD): $2,900.00  at: William Henry Raworth (1821-1904) Australia. Raworth arrived in New Zealand at Lyttelton on the Sir John Seymour as a surveyor. He worked in Christchurch and is primarily recognised for his romantic landscapes. He also exhibited in Sydney and Melbourne, and is represented in public collections in New Zealand and Australia.

Meanwhile, in Sydney, on April 24th 1871, a Monday, those interested in Art and in establishing and promoting local Artists formed the forerunner of what would become the Art Gallery of NSW and the Art Society of New South Wales:

Academy of Art.
ON Monday afternoon there was a meeting at the School of Arts of gentlemen interested in the formation of a New South Wales Academy of Art. About thirty-five attended, and amongst those present were Sir T. A.Murray, Mr. District Judge Josephson, Rev.. W. Ridley, M.A., Dr. Paterson, Messrs. T. S. Mort,. E. Reeve, Steffanoni, Stopps, J. Hodgson, Pennington, W. J. Wilson, Alex. O, Habbe, S. A. Joseph, &c.

Sydney School of Arts. Image No.: a1107056h - from Album "Photographs of Public and Other Buildings, &c photographed by Charles Pickering, 1872" - courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW

The chair was taken by Mr. Mort, and after an address by Mr. Reeve, several resolutions affirming the desirability of forming the society were adopted.

The following brief statement of the nature of the proposed academy, its constitution and views, which, had been printed, was handed to those attending the meeting, probably for their information.

"I.-The Academy of Arts is a society formed for promoting the study of the various departments of the fine arts, and for the annual exhibition of works of art in Sydney.

" II.-Members of the Academy of Art shall consist of artists, and other gentlemen taking an interest in art. These are to have the entire management of the society, and from them all officers shall be selected. The annual subscriptions shall be Ll 1s per annum, payable in advance.

" III.-The original basis of the society shall be members ; after which, all members joining shall be admissible at the monthly meetings of the council or managing committee. The mode of admission shall be by a proposer and seconder-a ballot, if thought necessary, being demandable.

" IV.-All members, on admission, shall pay their annual subscription, and receive from the secretary a card of membership, entitling them to vote at the meetings of the academy, and to all other privileges. 
The current year of the academy shall, in all cases, be reckoned to commence from the 1st May.

"V.-The officers of the academy (to be elected at the annual general meeting by a majority of votes) shall be a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a. council. [Here follow the duties of the officers-]

" VI.-No member who is in arrear in his annual subscription shall be eligible to vote, and any who shall decline or neglect to pay the same within one month, from the date of the secretary's application to them for payment shall be struck off the list of members.

" VII.-Conversaziones will occasionally be held, and lectures be delivered upon subjects connected with art. At such times members will have the privilege of admission. Non-members to be admissible on such, occasions only by tickets, to be purchased from the secretary.

The CHAIRMAN invited Mr. Montefiore to frame a resolution, and ultimately that gentleman moved as follows:-"That a committee be appointed for the purpose of drawing up a code of rules for the government of the New South Wales Academy of Art, to be submitted to a future meeting, of which the acting secretary will give notice ; such committee to consist; of Mr. T. S. Mort, Mr. District Judge Josephson, Mr. Willis, Mr. Pennington, Mr. Steffanoni, Mr. E. L. Montefiore, Mr. S. Lyons, Sir Terence A. Murray, Dr. J. S. Paterson, Mr. W. M'Leod Anderson, Mr. James R. Fairfax, Mr. Pilcher, Mr. J. Hodgson, and Mr. E, Reeve, with power to add to their number."

The CHAIRMAN said that this was a move in the right direction, and if anything was to come from the meeting it would proceed from this resolution. It was a fortunate thing that they had had Mr. Montefiore with them. He came from Victoria, where they did very much better than we did, as far as regarded the aid given by the Government to such societies, and where they had a free public library and institutions which put us to the blush. However, where the people were warm the Government were warm, and it was very probable that if they put the thing before the Government they would have a response. It was not the subscribers in Sydney which would make the society anything at all ; a few men might make it a pleasant and profitable association, but they would never bring about the result they (the meeting) aimed at. It would only be by encouragement from the community at large that this society could come into importance. Art was the first thing to be encouraged in every community in the world ; but in this, to our shame, it had been the very last.

The motion being carried, a vote of thanks to the Chairman terminated the proceedings.  Academy of Art. (1871, April 29). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 9. Retrieved from

The first Exhibition of Colonial works of art in connection with the Academy of Art was opened yesterday afternoon, at the Chamber of Commerce, Exchange. The apartment must have proved very suitable to the purpose, being well lighted and tolerably commodious. The distribution of the various exhibits was upon the whole creditable to the taste of the committee, though in a few instances more conspicuous positions might have been allotted to sketches accommodated with lodgings literally upon the ground-floor. There was, however, apparently every intention of doing as much justice as possible to the exhibitors, and indeed the efforts of the committee and Mr. Edward Reeve, their indefatigable secretary, must have been most assiduous. The attendance we are sorry to say, was rather sparse and spoke little for the interest taken in high art by the educated classes of Sydney; but possibly today, the knowledge of the exhibition being in esse having become more generally diffused, there will be a larger influx of visitors. The selfish, however, and every true lover of art is in this respect selfish, would probably be better pleased to find but few visitors in the chamber; for the luxuriousness of leisurely feasting the eye upon objects of beauty glowing: from the canvas, is greatly marred by toe presence of numerous voluble commentators. Of the exhibits there were one hundred and fifty six, inclusive of specimens of wax moulding, and a group of Australian annuals by Mr. Wm. Wright, specimens of artwork by Mr. George Wickham, and specimens of the new process of imitating stained glass by Mr. Martin. 

The remainder were all pictures; and, as will be perceived upon reference to the subjoined list, all from the pencils of colonial artists, those artists being, with very few exceptions, of our own colony. Viewed as the nucleus of future and more ambitions exhibitions, this is a premising commencement; and the paintings, &c., exhibited both collectively and universally reflect credit upon the progress of art amongst us. It becomes a peculiarly ungracious and invidious task to criticise too nicely the merits and demerits of individual exhibits in a collection of this kind, in which the majority of the exhibitors are amateurs, and in which all have endeavoured unselfishly to promote the general well-being of the academy. It besides becomes an utter impossibility to attempt to seize at one survey upon all the recommendations, and attractive features of each a collection presented for the first time for the regalement of the spectator. We can, therefore, in the present brief review notice only such of the exhibits as happened to attract our attention, in a necessarily rather cursory survey. 

Of the paintings in oils, Mr. W. Andrews, junior's 'Tranquilly' (46), most, we should think, bear away the palm. It depicts a nook of sea coast into which there is a shallow reach of water ; a dismantled hulk lies idly upon this, and. about the whole is a delicious air of utter stillness, almost desolation. The landscape melts upon the canvas with a peculiarly, Turner-like effect. ' The Old Hull at Cuthbart's (47), is another study by the same artist. It is a night scene, and for pure effect equal to almost anything of its kind, Mr. Andrews has a third exhibit, 'Nearing the Heads' (46), which is scarcely so striking though equally characteristic, representing a dismasted vessel driving under jury sails through a disturbed and leaden sea. Miss H. Hinton contributes a pretty view of 'Coogee Bay' (80), a bright and richly-toned piece of colouring. Mr. J. H. Carse's ' Weatherboard Waterfalls' (79) excited much attention ; it is a beautiful and characteristic Australian scene, and the artist has been very happy in his depiction of the blue haze which hovers around our mountain sides and summits. Mr. William James's 'Kangaroo-hunting' (136), though crude in some of its details, is a picture which will appeal to the 'sympathy of any bushman; it is faithful and unexaggerated in its details. Mr. Harold Braes' 'Near the Aralnen' (80) is a pretty bit of light and shade ; the picture is very small, and the difficulty of conveying the effect in oils must have been proportionately great. Mr. W. Riley's contribution, 'H.M.S. Minotaur' (140), is chiefly remarkable for the inflexiblity of its waves, and the wooden-half-model effect of the vessel itself. Mr. W. P. Wilshire has siren a very unfinished view of an angle in Hyde Park (96); the University appears in the air somewhere over Lyons' Terrace apparently, though how the ingenious artist managed to see it at all from his point of observation was a matter which. excited some remark. Mr. V. A. Frout contributed a few effective crayon sketches (144-149). The water-colour paintings formed a large and handsome collection. ' Wangarei Heads, N.Z.,' and ' Kennedy's Bay, N.Z ' (18 and 19), by Messrs. K. and J. O. Hoyte (of New Zealand respectively), were much admired. Mrs. C. T. Gedye's view of ' The Gap, Kurrajong' (124), a truly charming realisation of a beautiful piece of scenery, elicited much commendation, though it was scarcely, if at all inferior to ' Govett's Leap,' ' Govett's Waterfall,' and ' Govett's Blue Mountains' (121, 122, 128), by the same talented lady.  The Source of the Otua, N.Z.' (11), by Mr. Staunaford, of that colony, is an exquisite piece of colour. Mr. E. L Montefiores has contributed a beautiful series of views; they will all repay studious inspection, the 'Trenches before Paris' (114) and the 'Place de la Bastille' (110), being masterpieces in their way Mr. Harold Brees' 'Entrance to the Botanical Gardens,' (49) is also worthy of enconium. Of the pen and pencil sketches, Mr. O. E. Winn's ' Waterfall, North Shore,' (115) in pen and ink is a truly wonderful creation. It conveys at a little distance the effect of an elaborate engraving on steel ; even the minutest features of the view are accurately depicted and blended into the general effect in a manner which must have involved an infinity of labour. There is also an effective picture of a serial nature after the style of George Cruikshank, depicting 'A Review of a Misspent Life' an excellent drawing in its way. It is exhibited by Mr. S. A. Joseph, but is uncatalogued. Miss Jessy Ada Wildman's ' Old Farm House,' (84) in pencil, is worthy of commendation; and to are some pretty fruit and flower paintings by Miss Oliver, Mrs. Paterson, and Mrs. E. F. Mackay, noticeably Miss Oliver's 'Glorinia species' ' (74), and Mrs. Paterson's 'Flowers and Insects' (76 and 77). Space, however, precludes our dwelling at further length upon the many specialties of the exhibition. ACADEMY OF ART. (1872, March 5). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from

The exhibition in connection with the Academy of Art came to a close on Saturday evening, the committee having, in deference to requests, made them, kept it open three days extra. On Friday the award of the judges (Messrs. Conrad Martens, .Alfred H Taylor, and J. S. Mitchell) was declared. The prizes awarded were as subjoined, it being understood that neither three pictures by M. Chevalier (Nob. 6, 142, and 143), nor Mr, Conrad Martens 'View near Terrara' (106), were entered for competition.

The medal for the best exhibit by a New South Wales amateur.— To No. 46, 'Tranquility,' by W. Andrews, junior. For the best exhibits in Oils by artists.— Medal to No. 1, L'Allecro, by Chester Earles ; certificate of merit to No. 79, ' Weatherboard Falls', by J. H. Carse. Honourable mention to No, 50, 'Near the Araluen.' by Harold Brees. For the best exhibits in water-colours, by artists. Medal to No. 3, 'The Maori Leap,' by E. W.Cooke. Certificate of merit to No. 138, ' Harnham Hill,' by Miss N. D. Martin. Honourable mention to No. 13, Rangitoto,' by E. Bartlley. For the best exhibits in oils, by amateurs. Medal to No, 11, 'Source ofOtera,' by Hannaford, Certificate of merit to Nos, 45 and 47, ' Nearing the Heads,' and 'The Old Hull' W. Andrews, junior. Honourable mention to No. 80, Coogee Bay.' Miss M. Hinton. For the best exhibits in water-colours, by amateurs. — Medal to No. 101, 'The Gap, Wheeny Creek,' by J. S. Willis. Certificate of merit to No. 131, 'Newton House,' by G. P. Slade. Original coloured on the spot. Honourable mention to No. 122, ' Govett's Waterfall,' by C. T. Gedye. We consider that the exhibits of Mrs. D. C. F. Scott and J. W. Deering are all worthy of special commendation. For the best Pen or Pencil Drawing. — Certificate of merit to No. 114, ' Distinguished Member of the Humane Society,' by E. L. Montefiore. Honourable mention to No. 329, same subject (both copies), by G. Morrison. For the best Crayon Drawing. — Certificate of merit to No. 65, 'Lady Lisgar,' by Mrs. O. Allen. The judges, in their report, ohsei re : — ' The Modelling and Fretwork, being by single exhibitors, are not open to competition ; but we commend 'the work as giving propitiate of skill. Upon the whole, many of the exhibits show great promise. The prizes are awarded to those evincing artistic merit rather than intrinsic value— the advance of art in this, as in all other communities, depending upon public encouragement. ACADEMY OF ART. (1872, March 11). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from

YESTERDAY the very creditable collection of paintings exhibited at Clark's Rooms, under the auspices of the Academy of Art, was on view for the last time-at least in this building…

Mr G P Slades water-colour pictures-'The Basin," Refuge Bay, Pittwater, " On the Mulgoa Creek,' Fern-hill, and others elicited -very great admiration... NEW SOUTH WALES ACADEMY OF ART. (1874, April 9).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

Entrance to Brisbane Water - January 16, 1869 - by George Penkivil Slade. Image No.: nla.obj-138986821-1, courtesy National Library of Australia.

Manly Beach, December 3rd, 1870 by George Penkivil Slade., Image No.: nla.obj-138991998-1, courtesy National Library of Australia.

On Tuesday 22nd of June 1880: 

New Art Society.
The newly-formed Art Society of New South Wales held its first meeting last evening at the Coffee Palace, No. 1, and was a great success, most of the leading artists of this city being present. Resolutions were proposed end earned, and a committee of 17 gentlemen was appointed for the purpose of drawing up rules to be submitted at the next general meeting of members on July 6. The principal object of the new association is to enable our local artists to hold exhibitions of their pictures in Sydney, and in a suitable building. This has not hitherto been afforded, and it has long been a reproach to this city that no encouragement has been held out to those who can produce works of art. The Victoria Academy of Art in Melbourne has been doing for years what the N.S.W. Art proposes to accomplish and will no doubt succeed, as Sydney possesses several painters in oil and water colours of no mean ability. New Art Society. (1880, June 23). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from

Sydney Art Gallery.
During the past fortnight the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales have had their pictures and statues removed to the temporary National Gallery in the Domain; and this under the supervision Mr. E. L. Montefiore and Mr. E. Du Faur is being carefully prepared for their proper display. The trustees Intend to have the oil paintings shown in the long gallery, and to devoted other chambers to water-colours, studies in black and white, and plaster casts respectfully. One room will be set apart as a board-room, and another is being Subdivided and otherwise prepared for the use of the caretaker. At present the ceilings are being pointed in light soft tints of silver grey and stone colour, and it is intended to drape the walls with dark crimson hangings to a height of about 16 feet, the space between that and the ceiling being paneled. The rich tone of the hangings will relieve and throw out the pictures effectively, and, as each painting will here have plenty of space to itself, will conceal the longitudal lines of the partition boards, which otherwise would have a very bare, ugly look. These hangings were formerly used at the old gallery in Elizabeth-street. Visitors to the Exhibition Art Gallery can understand how, very much better the pictures look in this building than they did before, and when the works of art which belong, to the colony are arranged according to the plan projected by the authentic taste of Mr. Montefiore and Mr. Du Faur, the collection will at once take rank as almost the finest in Australasia. The gallery will be opened in about a month. We do not know what plan is to be pursued with regard to the forty art students whom Signor Annivitti teaches in connection; with the Academy of Art, but they should certainly be accommodated at the Art Gallery, where the best studios obtainable for those are to be found. Sydney Art Gallery. (1880, August 4).Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954) , p. 2 (Unknown). Retrieved from 

The first exhibition organized by the Art Society of New South Wales will be held this week at the Garden Palace; and at 2 p.m., today, the Hon. E. Combes, C.M.G., will deliver the opening address. This society, which has now about 145 members, was only started in June last, its object being to form a school of Australian art, and the number and excellence of the exhibits at this early stage of its existence are gratifying auguries of its future success. The exhibition is held in the east gallery of the Garden Palace, just opposite the place where South Sea Island curios were displayed during the International Exhibition ; and the space occupied has been enclosed so as to form a spacious, well-lighted gallery. 

During the latter part of last week the hanging committee were busily engaged decorating the room, erecting railings, and hanging the pictures sent in, and as these gentlemen, Messrs. J. H. Carse, George Collingridge (who first started the society), E. W. Minchen, and W. C. Piquenit, were engaged in a labour of love, they worked faithfully and well. Mr. J. C. Hoyte, president of the society, assisted them; and those who attend the exhibition to-day will find much to admire, not alone in the excellence of many pictures sent in by members of the infant society, but in the good taste shown in hanging and grouping them. Altogether there are about 200 exhibits, of which only five or six are loan pictures, for though at first the committee solicited loans they soon found that original works came in in such number's that to fulfil their primary aim and to display these they would not be able to afford room for the others.

The principal exhibitors are :- H. Brees, J. H. Carse, A. Collingridge, G. Collingridge, E. Combes, Miss Craig, J. B. Despointes, T. H. Fielding, H. Finlay, F. B. Gibbes, J. C. Hoyte, G. F. Halstead, L. Henri, E. W. Minchen, Mrs. G. Parsons, W. C. Piquenit, Miss H. B. Piquenit, G. Podmore, J. T. Richardson, Montagu Scott, C. Whitley, and P. Williams. Of the merits of the different pictures we shall speak after the exhibition has been opened. On Saturday- varnishing day - a few gentlemen, principally press-men, were admitted to a private view of the exhibition, and the secretary. Mr. E. W. Minchen, was freely congratulated on its excellence. ART SOCIETY OF NEW SOUTH WALES. (1880, December 6). The Sydney 
Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

Academy of Art.
There is now on view at the National Gallery, Inner Domain, a collection of pictures and studies executed during the past year by the students in the different classes formed in connection with the now defunct New South Wales Academy of Art. The original studies in oils and water-colours number 16, the work of 7 students. The silver medal falls to A. Fischer for a ' Portrait of a lady.' The painting of the hair and hat is good, and the shading is very soft and natural, but the flesh tints are cold and crude, and the contrast of light blue and crimson in the draperies might be improved upon. A. B. M'Minn has secured the silver medal for a water-colour sketch of Rosa Gully, South Head. This is a very effective picture, for the warm harmonious tints of the great cleft rocks in the foreground— rocks diversified with herbage and tree-clumps — form a frame through which appears the shining sea behind. The same student takes the Fairfax prize for his ' Little Manly,' in which the excellence of the perspective is the principal point to be noticed ; and has received honourable mention for his sketch of ' Neutral Bay.' Miss C. Marshall's sketches from nature are faulty, for in the first the drawing is wrong, and in both the colouring is bad, but there is good work in the bamboo clump shown in No. 13, and in the drawing of Mrs. Macquarie' s Chair- in No. 10. Misses Faucett and M'Cormack send flower studies. The best copy displayed is the study of a Turk's Head from the ' Eastern Question ' shown in the gallery, and to this has been allotted the society '6 prize of £5 5s. It is by Miss Maze, who has faithfully copied the rich flesh tints, the attentive expression, and the harmonious colouring of the original, and whose work shows vigorous touches, which are full of promise. Miss M. C. Vickery has a certificate of merit for ' Two heads ' . from ' The Tribute Money,' in , which she has well caught the contrasting expressions on the two Hebraic faces, and the splendid shading of the great original. This is almost of equal merit with Miss Maze's picture. Miss Horniman's study from 'The Tribute Money' is commendable, as are also Miss Lizzie Chard's 'Dog, from Shares alike,' and Miss Maze's ' Venetian Girl.' The remainder of the 21 exhibits are inferior to these. The original studies in black and white and the portraits number over 50, and while some show good work, the majority are too ambitious and display the faults one might expect to see where students attempt what is beyond their power, and, to use an expressive phrase, try to run before they can walk. Here one sees a student drawing from the round, who has not mastered the art of freehand drawing from the flat ; and in one or two studies from life appear faults which a thorough knowledge of drawing from the round would have prevented. It is a desirable thing to sketch rapidly and well, but to mark rapidly one must first learn to work well, a fact which a number of these art students should lay to heart. F. Mahony has been awarded the silver medal for 'The Orphan,' a representation of a dead mare, and her foal licking her. This was finished in three hours. A. Fischer takes another silver medal for two portraits of ladies. There is bold and telling work in them, and they show that portrait painting may become Mr. Fischer's specialty. This student and F. Mahony show other studies, each one executed in five hours, and displaying all the faults of their hurried execution. Miss Tingcombe, W. T. Butler, A. Fischer, F. Mahony, and Miss M. F. Robinson win certificates of merit. In the studies from casts  A. Fischer is again successful, winning the society's prize of £5 5s., for a front and back study of the statue 'Antinous.' W. T. Butler has been awarded the silver medal for a 'Torso of Venus, one of excellent things in this class. F. Hagen wins the medal for his 'Griffin' (antique), and Miss E. Everett gets a similar trophy for the study of a ball. A certificate of merit goes to F. Hagen, and honourable mention is made of the exhibits of Miss Fitzgerald, James Barnet, Miss Hotson, and R. G. Tait. Some nofaos f might -wen have been taken of ' Lucius Veins,' by F. Mahoney, on of the best studies shown. Academy of Art. (1880, November 27). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 1032. Retrieved from

The Gallery of the Art Society of New South Wales. 
A Scene from the Art Gallery recently opened in the Garden Palace appears in the present issue. The engraving is a truthful portrait of what takes place nearly every clay in the week in that portion of the palace set apart for the Society's exhibition. The latter was opened some short time ago, on which occasion Mr. E. Combos, CM.G. and M.L.A., delivered an address fraught with thoughts interesting to artists and lovers of art. We are glad that this Society has succeeded in establishing itself on a basis which we hope will become a permanent one, and consequently we look forward to future exhibitions of pictures by this Society with much interest. 


There are about two hundred pictures in the exhibition, consisting of paintings, chiefly landscapes in oil and water colours, portraits, and seascapes. Some of the pictures have considerable merit. Several of the portraits are life-like. On a recent visit to tho gallery we were much struck with the beauty of some of the exhibits. The exhibition is well worthy of inspection. The Society deserves encouragement, because it is designed to promote the improvement of native art, and the interests of native and resident artists. "Without wishing to detract one iota from the just claims of the exhibitors we were sorry to find that there was not a single specimen from Mr. W. Raworth's brush in the collection, although he has recently executed some most charming pictures of New Zealand scenery. Exhibitions of this kind are common in all the large towns of England ; and they are visited annually by thousands of people. The exhibitions of paintings in the British metropolis are well known, and, whilst they are open to the public they generally command a large share of the attention of both the press and the lovers of art. As Sydney is growing rapidly into an Australian Babylon, it is right it should be distinguished by the presence and operations of those societies which add so largely to the pleasures of modern life and tend so effectively to cultivate the aesthetic tastes of the people. Societies assigned to promote the progress and improvement of pictorial art occupy a foremost position amongst the societies we refer to, and therefore we are glad that the Art Society of New South Wales has been established, and that its first exhibition, a scene from which is given on our engraving, is now open to public inspection. The Gallery of the Art Society of New South, Wales. (1880, December 25). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 20. Retrieved from

Unfortunately a lot of these works were lost in the Garden Palace fire - details of some under 'Extras'.

The Art Society's Exhibition.
No. 89, ' Narrabeen Heads,' by H. Brees, has a well painted ship, but the vessel is rather too close in for safety, and the water has not the dark tints which the reflection of such a sky as the artist has introduced would impart. No. 90, ' A reach on the Upper Hawkesbury;' 91, 'The Ruined Church, Wiseman's Ferry;' 92, 'Going West, on the Hawkesbury River;' 93, ' The Kunimbla Valley, from Blackhead and 94, ' Govett's Gorge, looking east,' are charming miniature studies drawn for John Sands' series of chromo-lithographs of Australian scenery. No. 99, ' Ketch making for Port,' by J. Dalgarno, is a good picture, in which the water is much better in treatment than the sky is. No. 103, ' Aff... near Paris,' by A. Collingridge, shows dashing work ; and No. 106, ' On the Racecourse Hill, Daylesford,' by Mrs. Parsons, displays splendid perspective and good colouring. No. 107, ' Mount Wellington, Tasmania, from Macrobie's Gully,' by C. H. Hunt, is a sketchy but effective little picture ; and going back in the catalogue, we may direct attention to No. 96, ' Kirribilli Point,' and 97, ' Double Bay, 1874,' two studies by C. E. .Hern, which are almost photographic in their accuracy of outline, and which present with wonderful fidelity the characteristic colouring of harbour scenery. There are depth and softness in them, and they can be studied again and again. No. 110, ' Sea Coast at Coogee,' by C. H. Hunt, is promising, the best work in it being shown in the cliff represented. No. 113, ' On the Upper Derwent, Tasmania,' is another of those little studios by W. C. Piguenit, where a fairy-like scene is painted in fairy colours. Rich warm yellow tints are the prevailing tones here — lemon yellow in the sky, glowing yellow brown in the ripeness of a meadow in the middle distance, and a soft buff in the reflection of the sky shown by the water in the foreground. In other respects the picture shows all Mr. Piguenit's peculiarities and excellencies. No. 115, ' Blackwall Cave, Lane Cove River,' by H. Brees, has merit, but the group of campers which the 'artist has shown is short of its fair allowance of logs, because the sight of four heads certainly leads one to expect to see more than four legs. Miss Millie-Christine, the double-headed lady, has, we believe, no male counterparts in New South Wales. No. 116, by F. B. Gibbes, is a view on the road to Lillydale ; and No. 120, ' Sketch at Lome,' is a rough blot by Mrs. Parsons— a blot which is very telling when it is looked at from a little distance. No. 121 is a winter study by E. Combes, the scene being, of course, an English one, and, by the use of the traditional red-cloaked figure, the chill whites and bleak browns of the snow-covered landscape are relieved and heightened. Certainly the man who first introduced to the world of landscape art the red cloak with a figure inside it deserves well of his fellows, and if he be dead a statue to' his memory might well be erected by his grateful brother artists. And we submit that a good subject for a picture has been neglected, in that no one has yet painted, ' The renowned artist, Jones, discovering the red cloak dodge for brightening gloomy pictures.' The particular figure Mr. Combes has painted seems squat and shapeless ; but its warm tone serves the purpose it was intended for. 
No. 123, ' Rounding the Point,' is a good yachting picture by H. Brees, a race between open boats, one of which, with a tanned sail, has gone about, while another is just engaged in doing so, and some others are running up. Each of the graceful craft is packed with a merry crew, and the sails have all got a reef or two in them, showing that a stiff breeze is blowing. This is one of Mr. Brees' best pictures, for he evidently knows his subject thoroughly, and his boats really look as if they were going. No. 125, ' Waterfall,' by H. Niau, is skied, but the glimpse one is still able to get of it does not inspire one with desire to see it closely. No. 126, ' At Fontainbleau,' by Mrs. Parsons, is a harmonious study of rocks and vegetation — an infinitesimal section of the lovely domain which artists so revel in. No. 127, by E. Combes, is a blot from memory — an exceedingly good landscape study. No. 128, ' Camellias,' by Miss Piguenit, will be admired for the fidelity with which two or three crimson and white buds have been painted; but the full-blown flowers are not so successful. So too in 130, “Tasmanian Robins and H Arbutus,'' by the same lady, there is merit in that the fl arbutus leaves and berries are well reproduced, but there is also the fault that, until one inspects it closely, the patch of white on one robin's head looks exactly like a berry. The Art Society's Exhibition. (1881, October 22). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 693. Retrieved from 

The works many Pittwater people would associate Mr. Brees with are those he did for The Pittwater and Hawkesbury Lakes Album. Oblong quarto, pp. xvi (advertisements), 8 (double column), xvii-xxiv (advertisements) + nine lithographic plates by Brees (three folding), and a folding map. Sydney, Lithographed by S.T. Leigh for Mills, Pile & Gilchrist, [1880]. That item of the first ever Newport Hotel changed hands in June 2016, realising $1,984.
The Hotel Newport - from a Watercolour Drawing by H. Brees - visit Newport Wharf - History

We have received from Messrs. Mills, Pile, and Gilchrist, (who have published it for the proprietors) an interesting pamphlet descriptive and illustrative of the beauties and attractions of Newport, Pittwater, and the celebrated Hawkesbury lakes. The work consists of about eight pages of letter-press and nine carefully lithographed drawings, depicting the more important scenes and places of interest in the locality. The description is capably written, and the illustrations, lithographed by Messrs. S. T. Leigh and Co., from water colour drawing- by Mr. H. Brees, are very creditably executed, and give excellent ideas of the places represented. Appended is a plan and local sketch of the new marine township of Newport, and altogether the publication is one which will commend itself highly to all interested in one of the most picturesque spots on the New South Welsh coast. NEW'S OF THE DAY. (1880, August 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from
The forward years present a complex and complicated overlap of developing Artists, societal and developments in laws that in many ways can reflect what people see and want to see in artworks which can be visited only fleetingly in this just one page. 

Most of our seascapes can be seen in the works of one who was prolific in producing the more accepted traditional definition of a Coastal Landscape, and produced more than one work of each place. He had a love of the sea, a family connection to it, as did many in pre-aviation Australia. Born in Manly, Mr. William Lister Lister, originally Buttrey, and those he associated with or inspired to visit here, shows us many familiar headlands and bay beaches and landscapes with people in them.

Mr. Lister was the son of John Armitage Buttrey (born 1818, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England) and Eliza Kirkby Bateson ( born 27 Feb 1830 in Leeds) - they married on 22 Jun 1853 in St Peter's, Leeds. One 'J. Buttrey' arrived in Sydney on 30 March 1852 onboard the ship 'Duke of Wellington'. This may have been a relative though, James Buttrey, of John Armitage Buttrey and Elizabeth (nee Lister - eldest daughter of John Lister, married 1808) who passed away in Paddington in 1875. J. A Buttrey was already importing and selling good as early as 1849 - a record of an early place he sold from is in:

BEFORE his Honor Mr. JUSTICE THERRY, and a Jury of four.
This was an action on the case. The declaration alleged that the defendant obtained permission of the plaintiff to pull down part of a wall of a messuage of the plaintiff, situate in Macquarie-place, Sydney, and contiguous to a close upon which buildings were then in process of erection by the defendant, and to build upon and against the plaintiff's said messuage, and upon the land upon which the plaintiff's messuage stood, for the purpose of erecting the defendant's buildings. The declaration then alleged that the defendant acted upon such permission, and pulled down part of the plaintiff's wall, and put, placed, and inserted large quantities of building materials in the messuage of the plaintiff, and against the wall thereof. The declaration then charged the defendant with having so carelessly, negligently, unskilfully, and improperly conducted the works that the plaintiff's messuage has been made ruinous, dilapidated, unsafe, and uninhabitable, and that the plaintiff had been put to great expense in shoring up the same, and in taking measures to prevent its downfall.

In this declaration the defendant pleaded not guilty.

The Solicitor-General and Mr. Fisher conducted the case for the plaintiff, Mr. Foster and Mr. Broadhurst appeared for the defendant.
Mr. J. Armytage Buttrey, examined by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL: l am a merchant, and occupy part of plaintiff's building ; when Mr. John Lord lived there I noticed nothing in the lower room ; I have seen the cracks pointed out by the plaintiff a fortnight ago ; I have ex-amined the building since ; I cannot say if what was taken out of the wall was taken away carefully. SATURDAY. (1851, September 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

On 8 September 1874 John Armitage Buttrey changed his family name by deed poll to Lister. His wife and children also changed from Buttrey to Lister. Family oral history states that the name change was made to ensure inheritance from his mother's family line.

Born at Manly on December 27th, 1859, William was the third son of five sons and two daughters and was christened William Lister - thus the Lister-Lister surname, and perhaps named to honour his father's elder brother, William Lister Buttrey (1813-1855). Two brothers preceded him; Henry (born 1854) Abram Bateson (born 1857) and two after him, Arthur Marshall (born 1861) and John Kirkby Bateson (born 1863). Two daughters, one unnamed, born 1856, and Eliza Kirkby Bateson(born 1866) and named for her mother were those born in New South Wales. Records indicate they lost their first born children:

DIED - On Sunday, the 7th instant, Henry, infant son of John Armitage and Eliza Kirkby Buttrey. MARRIED. (1854, May 10). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 3. Retrieved from 

An overview of his father's work may be read in these Notices - there are more found insights further down this page about the Buttrey family members who were in Sydney during the first fifty years of that colony:

On Monday Mr. John A. Buttrey requested the attention of the Bench to his case on Monday last as rather a hard one. He deposed that he was Buttrey by name and buttery by trade also in-as-much as he was butter merchant. Latterly however he had been finding himself getting less and less "buttery" every day in consequence of one Ezekiel King a drayman who resides at Surry Hills, having to the best of his belief walked off with a good deal of his butter. On the preceding Tuesday he (Mr Buttrey) was the happy possessor of thirty firkins of fine Cork Rose butter, fit for his Excellency's or anybody else's matutinal toast; on that day however, he entrusted the prisoner with a firkin as a sample; this of course reduced the number of fiikins to twenty-nine, but two days afterwards mysterious enough to relate, the twenty-nine had become twenty-seven, and on the following day, Friday, he found himself on taking stock, reduced to twenty-six. This was too much of a good thing; no man could be such a glutton as to consume three Arkins of butter weighing about 75lbs apiece in three days, and it was therefore evident that they must have been purloined for the purpose of sale. Mr Buttrey accordingly applied for a search warrant to enable him to look over Ezekiel's private mansion to try and discover some trace of the missing firkins. Having obtained it, he sent his clerk with O'Keefe the detective to conduct the desired investigation, Sergeant O'K. having as his grand-mother always told him, "a rare nose for butter". On presenting themselves at the regal residence, and having been ushered into the presence of his majesty, they informed him of their business, and stated that they must trouble him to reveal the mysteries of the arcana arcanissim of his menage. At this, Ezekiel demurred loudly, declaring in most unprophetic style, that his house was his castle, and that no such insult should be put upon it. O'Keefe and his ally however proved "modest but firm", and insisted upon following up their duty. As the result of their researches, they succeeded in discovering one half firkin, the marks on which happened to correspond with the brand upon those which had been stolen. Upon "this hint", Mr O'Keefe felt called upon "to speak", and accordingly he did so, Mr King's appearance in the dock on Monday, being consequent upon this expression of his opinion. Cory who came out in full force upon the occasion, exercised his legal ingenuity to the utmost, on behalf of "the King" (having had a great partiality ever since Bill Nash's case for appearing "for the Crown") but still he could not succeed in shaking the feeling of the Bench, as to his client having unduly filled the office of butter factor to his employer Mr Buttrey. One thing which militated strongly against Cory's chance, was the fact of a variety of other goods having been found upon Ezekiel's premises, and which consisted of knives and forks, lint candlesticks, sealing wax, tte. The hopes of the King, who had trusted that these goods misfit possibly have been looked upon as " waifs and strays", were finally extinguished by his being fully committed to take his trial at the ensuing Quarter Sessions upon the charge. Without wishing in any way to prejudge, the probable result of the trial at the Sessions, we may surmise that friend Cory will find his work cut out to clear "his King" upon that important occasion. POLICE PICKINGS. (1856, August 2). Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), p. 3. Retrieved from

Imported specially for this Trade, by the Undersigned--
Ex Coleroon and Granite City, 
Muskets and bayonets (made to order) :"
English-made fowling-pieces
Also, to arrive per Light of the Age, Victoria Regis, &c.,
Butchers' knives, and other cutlery.
Hall's F gunpowder, in kegs,- 
All guaranteed Suitable for the above market. . .
JNO. A. BUTTREY and CO., 93, Wynyard-lane..
The Undersigned have a lot of these fine weapons, by a first-rate Birmingham maker, guaranteed, precisely as used in H.M. service. , .
JNO. A. BUTTREY end CO., 28, Wynyard-lane.  Advertising (1859, December 29). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 6. Retrieved from 

Eliza K. Bateson, for South Sea Islands; Lady Denison, for Launceston. PROJECTED DEPARTURES.—MAY 27. (1861, May 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from 

The captain of the Eliza Bateson reports that three vessels from Tahiti were kidnapping natives in the South Sea Islands, and that they fired on Captain Randall's establishment at Clarke Island, and committed other outrages. TELEGRAPHIC DESPATCHES. (1871, March 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved from 

In 1868 John Armytage, sometimes spelt 'Armitage', returned to his birthplace, taking his sons and daughter. William was educated at Bedford School in the southern English Midlands, a boarding and day school established in 1552, and under the influence of a Mr. Rudge, the art master, began to sketch and paint. His parents were not in favour of painting as a means of livelihood so he entered the College of Science and Mechanics at Glasgow and studied mechanical engineering for four years. During this time he joined the Mungo Art Club, Glasgow, as its youngest member. He was, apparently, an exhibitor In the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, and in, the Manchester Art Gallery, during this time. He went to sea for four years becoming chief engineer at the age of 25.

In 1888 Mr. Lister returned to the home of his birth, joined the Society of Artists and had work in that year's show - we include them all as who'd exclude any?, as well as being able to mark there are more of our area that were created than may be ever seen again:

Art Society of N.S.W.
' The gods help them who help themselves,' or, in other 'words, persistence and perseverance will almost invariably secure a just award. It is but 1 & few years since the first exhibition of the efforts of the members of the 'Art Society was held in a corner of the upstairs portion of the late Garden Palace. That the productions were somewhat of a motley order is true; but the spirit was in the work, and it was evident, by the exertions put forth, that the Art Society, meant business, that it intended to garner to itself the talent and the imagination of the artists of the colony, and by the means of an annual exhibition of the productions of its members to kindle the fire of emulation amid the artistic circle, and to tower as a beacon, directing the tastes of the dilettanti toward that haven of art, purity and simplicity of depiction. 

It is enough to say that the ninth exhibition has more than fulfilled the anticipations of its founders. The presence of three of the Ministers of the Crown, together with the elite of the art world of New South Wales, at the society's annual dinner last Saturday evening, demonstrates the success of the society, and shews what can be accomplished when the heart is in. the work. The Premier's speech at the banquet is probably one of his best efforts as an orator, and behind the speech is to be discerned a recognition of the claims of the society to participate in a monetary grant toward further propagating a love of art. Leaving these diatribes and coming at once to the pictures and drawings. The numbers as they run will possibly be the most easy method by which a, visitor can follow our remarks and judge of the merits of the exhibits. 

The watercolors range from Nos. 1 to 55 in the catalogue. No. 3. By J. Mather, ' Surf ' : The sea breaking on an ironbound coast. The natural color of the rocks and the living motion of the water is faithfully and naturally rendered. No. 4. 'A Rainy Day' by Percy F. Spence, calls for more than common notice. The picture represents a loaded lorry drawn by tiro horses, which appear to be trotting up Macqnarie-place in the face of a heavy shower of rain. No more lifelike drawing is to be found on the society's walls, and Mr. E. Barton must consider himself most fortunate in securing so graphic a delineation of a Sydney scene. This drawing could have been sold over and over again at the price affixed to it, which shows the modesty of tru« talent in not affixing a prohibitory value. No. 7, by Catherine Devine, is full of merit and promise. No. 10, by John Smedley, 'Bradley's Head, with Sydney in the distance,' is one of those happy inspirations which one is not inclined to leave without a longing look cast behind. Mr. Smedley s sketches in oil of Japanese subjects, which he first loaned to one of the earlier exhibitions of the Art Society, were full of vigor, and stamped him at once as an artist in culture and in feeling ; nor does this simple little watercolor lessen the appreciation of his ability; it is really a charming work. No. 14, by Robert Atkinson, ' An Old Farmyard, Titirangi, New Zealand,' deserves attention ; the drawing is good, and the cattle and figures are good, but the coloring is a trifle too pronounced. No. 20, by Donald G. G. Commons, ' Long Bay, Middle Harbor ' : Mr. Commons must have made Middle Harbor a home ere he could have so successfully portrayed the tints the bush therein daily assumes. No. 21, by B. E. Minns, ' Near Double Bay,' is a view of the blind creek running into Double Bay and the tumble-down rocks which mark its juncture; the grays and reflection lights are highly artistic. No. 22, by J. E. Ashton, ' A Solitary Ramble '': No more can be said in praise of this inspiration than the fact that one may wade through a dictionary without finding words sufficiently strong to characterise the graceful pose of the figure, or the serenity of its surroundings. The National Art Gallery is to be congratulated on securing so eloquent a specimen from the hand of the president of the society. Breaking for one moment the discussion as to the merits of the 'pic-tures, Mr. Ashton's exhibits confirm the opinion that he is the right man in the right place ; the watercolor drawings and the oil paintings he has contributed to enhance the interest of this year's exhibition not only stand out as the creme de la^reme of the collection, but set forth vividly the Turneresque adaptability of his genius; neither in water nor in oil is he found wanting. No. 26, by Donald G. G. Commons, 'At Manly': A charming composition, small but effective, the perspective and coloring perfect. No. 37, by B. E. Minns : This is pure in color, and thrown in with a dash appertaining to the true artist. The trees are handled remarkably well No. 40, by W. Lister Lister, 'By the Sea, Hastings, Sussex:' This work should be studied, as the impression is that its author is a rising man. No. 42, E. W. Minchen, 'Mangroves, Lane Cove River:' Well worthy of note, and a vast improvement on Mr. Minchen's former exhibits. No. 44, by J. R. Ashton: Morning effect sear Richmond. The drawing as a whole is soberb, the atmospheric effect and the delicacy of the touch quite unapproachable, yet as with all other earthly enjoyment, the stake or mistake in the drawing has to be shadowed out before one can get a full conception of its beauties.No. 48, by Donald G. G. Commons, ' Foley's Head, near Newport.' This work of Mr. Commons deserves special notice, as it gives the promise of the limner becoming one of the most prominent of our artists. 

Donald Commons (1855-1942), 'Edwards Cottage Balmoral' - 1885

'Little Reef, Newport' by Harold John Graham, circa 1885. nla.obj-135520885-1, courtesy National Library of Australia

No. 49, by W. Lister Lister, ' Keston Common, Kent, Crystal Palace in the distance.' This is one of those conceptions which attract the attention of the observer, clothed, as it were, in nature's own garments, there is no need of commendation to enhance its excellence No. 50, by J. E. Ashton, 'The Meesageries' Wharf, Circular Quay' : A powerful and effective combination of color and perspective. No. 51, by J. Mather, ' Landscape' : It is not well understood how this can be designated as a landscape ; it is in reality the rush of a swollen river, the water wonderfully natural, and the trees strikingly in keeping, yet a little too green. No. 53, by J. B. Ashton, 'The Bluff opposite Clontarf, Middle Harbor:' In this drawing the artist has not only had the opportunity, but has availed himself of it, of throwing in the multitudinous tints which this abrupt headland is noted for at all hours of the day; approach it as ' you may, it has an ever-changing, ever-fleeting variation of color unsurpassed in the neighborhood of the city. Mr. Ashtoa has caught the agencies in a happy moment, and fixed them in his drawing. No. 51, by the same artist, 'Fremantle Lighthouse, Western Australia :' A group of buildings under a cliff, the lighthouse standing out prominently on tho heights. Beneath the rise in deep gray shadow the houses are, as it were, in perfect repose; but where the sun's rays fall on the foreground there is a display of figures and boats only to be pencilled by an adept. 

Respecting the watercolor drawings, those who have been in the habit of inspecting the contributions to the society's annual exhibitions most miss the once familiar names of Hoyte, Combei, Andrews, Coveny, Fletcher-Watson, and Carse, all good and true men, familiar with the brash, their works highly -esteemed, and -their industry acknowledged. Let, say what may be said, the absence of their names from tie list of exhibitors begets a train of thought which lingers on the past, forgetful mayhap that the new members, are not unlikely to eclipse the old in originality of design, skilful manipulation, and in public favor. There are many other examples amongst the watercolors which deserve more than passing attention j Miss Willis's ' Plumbago,' No. 5, and Madame Both's 'Kingfisher,' No. 24, being of the number; as alto Miss Lilljr Creed's 'Pink Horse Chestnut/' No. 55. Mr. HunfH 'In the Part/' No. 1, a sketch of three figures, is very spirited. Mr. Hunt would have done well to have contributed more of his watercolors. 

The fifty-five drawings are from the pencils of the following artists: The president, Mr. J. B. Ashton, 8; G. E. Ashton, 2 ; E. Atkinson, 1 ; Geo- Collingridge, 9 ; Miss Creed, 1 ; Donald G. G. Commons, 3 ; A. J. Darlyn, 2 ; Miss Devine, 1 ; A.H. Fullwood, 1 ; Wo. Heron, 3 ; C. H. Hunt, 1; W. A. Ker, 1; W. Lister Lister, 3 ; F. P. Mahony, 1 ; J. Mather, 6; E. W. Minchen, 1; B. E. Minns, 3 ; Madame Roth, 2 ; P. F. Or. Spence, 2 % G. Sedgfield, 1; J. Smedlev, 1 ; and Miss Willis, 1. The number of exhibitors in this branch of the profession is, as with the oils, very limited, and -it is somewhat questionable whether the society has not been too vigorous in its selection, not bearing in mind that everything must have a beginning, and the avowed object of that body is to encourage the tyro and foster any spark of genius presented to its notice. A suggestion was made by one of the visitors that a separate room might be set aside for the display of the rejected pictures, so that the public should be enabled to pass an opinion on the discrimination exercised by the selection committee. Art Society of N.S.W. (1888, September 20). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from

William Lister took a studio with Percy Spence in George street - this gentleman, perhaps known to readers as a Manly golfer and resident for some time, as well as the gentleman who produced those wonderful early artworks of enjoying the surf at Manly, has been mentioned before in:

Mr. Norman Murray, Commodore of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, has received an intimation from the private secretary of the Governor-General , in reply; to a communication, that 'the King will have pleasure in accepting the painting by Percy Spence of the arrival of the first Australian Fleet in Sydney Harbor’. The work is to the order of some leading citizens, who will present the canvas to the King. PERCY SPENCE. (1913, December 21).Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from 

Right 'H. M. Australian Fleet arriving at Sydney Heads' by P. Spence part of The Royal Collection

There are several anecdotes regarding the studio times this two spent together, one recall is illustrated in:

Mr W. Lister Lister, in opening the exhibition of water colours and pastels by Mr J H Young in the Fine Art Galleries, Hunter-street, yesterday, recalled the days when Sydney "had only about half a dozen leading artists, and," he said, "the public did not think very much of us "

Forty odd years ago, he said, he and Mr. Spence took a studio together, and ordered a couple of tables and chairs from a furniture store. When the carter arrived with the goods Spence was posturing before his easel, making a dab here and there, and standing back to survey the result. The carter was intrigued "What are you doing?" he asked Spence "Just trying to catch a little colour from our surroundings," answered the artist. After watching the operation for a moment or two, the carter withdrew, saying "Painting may be all very well, but give me fishing "

Mr Lister Lister, who is president of the Royal Art Society, mentioned that Mr. Young had been a pupil of his in those far-off days. Some of the pictures hanging on the walls were gems well worth acquiring.
Mr. B J Waterhouse, a trustee of the National Art Gallery, said he had been with Mr. Young when many of the sketches were made, and there was no doubt they bore the Impress of the charm of the moment. AUSTRALIAN ART (1935, August 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from 

Which earlier was:

Women Writers Entertain Artist
'A handsome boy of 19 was Jackson,' said Mr.' Lister Lister, who was the guest of honor at the Lyceum Club on Monday at the Society of Women Writers' party. 'He and I set up a studio behind Palings about 40 years ago. (Mr. Lister is to be found there still.) 'One day Jackson was posing before the easel when a man from Hordern's called with a table. 
'Paintin', are you?' asked the man. ' 
'Yes’ replied Jackson, giving another flourish with the brush. ' 'Well, paintin's all right, I suppose, but give me fishin'.' 
Mr. Lister always wears a straight tie. His friend, however, used to wear a wide bow, so he thought he had better get one too. The youth behind the counter brought out some bows, but they were not big enough. .'I want a very wide one.' said Mr. Lister. 'The sort that artists wear.' 'I see what you mean,' said the youth, 'but who wants to look like an artist?' 
Mr. Lister told this story to Sir Walter Davidson. After they had both laughed, Mr Lister added; 'And so I bought, the other day, this straight tie. Sir Davidson looked at it quizzically and remarked : 'Not the other day surely, Mr. Lister?' 
Mr. William Moore told of the excitement in the old days when people rushed about exclaiming: 'Lister's sold a picture!'.' 
Mrs. Moore (president of the Society of Women Writers) said that poets always looked up to artists, and wished they could make as much money. 
Mr. Montefiore, one of the founders of the Art Gallery, was remembered through his daughter, Miss Carrie Montefiore, who was present. Mrs. Lister Lister was presented with a charming flat posy of violets and pansies. 
Those present were Mr. and Mrs. William Moore, Mr Liddell, Mrs. Fotheringham, Miss Coralie Wilson, Miss Agnes Mowle, Mrs. T. K. Bavin, Miss May Summerbelle, Miss Blaxell, Miss Etta Cowan, Mrs. T. A, Wallace, Miss Williamson, Mrs. Stanley Davenport, Miss Millie Marr, Mrs. Florence Taylor, Mrs. Herbert Nelson, Miss Cox Taylor, and others. LISTER LISTER'S NECKTIE (1928, August 19). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 20. Retrieved from 

William Lister Lister painted every Pittwater beach, a feat followed in the next generation by Clareville resident Robert Johnson. Lister was a great advocate of plein air painting, probably a skill acquired during his formative painting years and according to a 1905 profile, by fellow artist D.H. Souter, all his small works were 'begun and finished in situ, and many of his larger canvases completed in the open air’ [2.]. 

He is also known for introducing, or inspiring his pupils to come to the area as well - this article by Artist Alfred R. Coffey, a Council Member of the Art Society of NSW during the period he speaks about:

In the Sydney Artists' Colony.
By Alfred R. Coffey.
The artists' life may be regarded as a decidedly pleasant one notwithstanding the drawbacks from a monetary point of view, for buyers are scarce in Australia, and most of the colonials have been too busily occupied up to the present to pay much attention to art. A From his first start as a student, however, the artist finds a keen enjoyment in his work.

Take the ordinary life of one of our principal Sydney artists, W. Lister Lister, President of the Art Society. He has large classes for landscape painting, and is very much liked by all his pupils. 'Uncle' (as he is called by some of those who have been longest with him), followed by a dozen or more lady students, is a familiar sight at Freshwater Beach, and other sketching places. Of course, he is always tied down to the city, and goes away on several painting tours during the year. Occasionally some of his pupils get up a party, and stay at Narrabeen for a month or so, and have a delightful time, painting all day, and then boating on the lagoon or impromptu musical programmes at night.

Lister is a hard worker, as shown by his contributions to the annual exhibitions, many of his pictures having been purchased for the National Gallery, including 'The Ever Restless Sea.' (1892)

f.9 - Lister, William Lister. Narrabeen Lake, From: Farewell presentation album to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brough from the playgoers of Sydney, 1897, Item No.:e00345_0013_m, from the collections of the State Library of New South Wales.

A Lion, by F. P. Mahony.

Piguenit is another well-known landscape painter, but, as he does not teach, he has more time to himself, and generally goes farther afield for his subjects. He is also well represented in the National Gallery, 'Flood on the Darling,' being the last of his pictures purchased by the Trustees. Julian Ashton, Tom Roberts, Gordon Coutts, and Bennett are some of our principal figure painters. Ashton holds several classes for drawing and painting, and requires to be very much in town, but he generally, manages a couple of sketching trips notwithstanding. He has had more influence on art than any other man in New South Wales. His works in the National collection are well known, including a portrait of Sir Henry Parkes and ' The Prospector,' for which an old soldier named Jock Nicholson posed. Poor Jock used to sit every Sunday afternoon in the gallery and tell visitors that £150 was paid for his likeness. Roberts is at his best - in portraiture, though he occasionally goes in for landscapes. His work is too well known to need further description, there being several specimens in the Art Gallery. Gordon Coutts is the instructor at the Art Society. Probably the most attractive work which he has exhibited is ' Too Late,' a priest standing in front of a boy who is no longer conscious. Apart from the artistic merit of the picture, there is a certain interest attached to' it,' as the boy died of consumption three days after it was finished, and the model who posed for the priest is now serving a sentence of ten years for housebreaking. We will not describe Spence, Hanson, Long, Watkins or Bennett, who are well known artists in Sydney, as the details in regard to them would be very similar to what we have already given. Frank P. Mahony, the animal painter, has a strong individuality, and there are very few artists who do not like him both as the wild, warm hearted fellow that he used to be, showing traces of his Irish blood and artistic character, and as the settled down married man that he has lately become. As an animal painter, he must necessarily spend a large portion of his time in the open air studying his subjects, which are not always the most tractable, especially in the summer when they are made restless by the flies. Mahony could tell many a story about his trouble with restive horses, fierce cattle and scared sheep. 

There is a little group which we must mention in passing: Collingridge, Daplyn, Spence and Fullwood, in addition to Lister and Hanson, meet almost daily at the Cafe Francais and discuss the latest art matters while sipping their Cafe noir. The bluff Collingridge, with a slight lisp, a strapping big fellow, who presents a striking figure especially to those who have seen him in costume singing the Marseillaise. He spent a long time in France and is, I believe, partly of French descent. What a staunch friend he is, and how he makes one feel at home. He must be regarded as a decidedly energetic man, for very few besides himself would have spent two nights weekly travelling in the brain to Bathurst where he now teaches in the Technical College, and two other schools, besides having private classes. Daplyn is a well-known figure. For a long time instructor at the Art Society' and secretary at present, he leads us back to the time when the artists' camp was pitched at Balmoral, and Phil May, Condor, Minns and Hopwood used to stay there, men who have since made a name for themselves in Europe, and who will soon be followed again by Spence and Hanson. Daplyn was the moving spirit in the formation of a sketch club, of which he was secretary for many years. He is still a member, though the management has now passed on to Mr. Coffey, whose 'Queen of the Revels,' exhibited this year, is reproduced.

Queen of the Revels, by Alfred R. Coffey.

What jolly evenings the Sketch' Club have Artists from other colonies are always welcome at the monthly meeting in the rooms, 70 Pitt-street, where sketches are freely criticised, and then the company turn to biscuits and cheese with something to wash them down, and songs, recitations, etc, soon make the hours fly. For the artists are always a jolty hospitable set, and those who have attended their Smoke Nights and other entertainments nearly always wish to come again. 

The art student's life has a decided charm with all its changes and delights intermingled with disappointments and vicissitudes. Some students, the favoured few, have enough to live on and can devote themselves altogether to Art, others have to work at different occupations during the day, attending drawing classes at night, painting on Saturdays and Sundays and sometimes, in Summer, getting a few hours in the early morning for work — work that holds them with an inexplicable fascination.

Time after time even the best students think they will give up, but in a couple of days they come back again with renewed energy. Then there are the numerous little adventures attending trips to the country and sketching in strange places. The artist is a romantic impulsive fellow and, though he is devoted to his art, he generally manages to fall in love : but what he is going to support a wife on he finds it very hard to tell in his student days. Still most artists marry young or not at all. Spence, Hanson, Coutts, Phil May, Minns, Tristram, all married young. It is remarkable with all the opportunities for so doing, how few artists ever full really in love with their models. All the charming tete-a-tete lunches and the trips to the country when an outdoor picture has to be painted seem to have little effect, though some of the models are very attractive. An artist may be already in love with a girl or engaged to her and she may sit for him. But that is different. One never hears a model complain that she has been treated disrespectfully by an artist. She may be a poor beggar girl, but when she is sitting all seems to be forgotten. The difference between the poor and the rich, the virtuous and the doubtful, seems to vanish, and to the artist she is an object to be admired and studied.

The Station Smithy, by Albert J. Hanson.

Models come from different classes of society; some under assumed names unknown to their friends, others openly. One lady who came under her own name was the daughter of a Sydney doctor. Some find the work very trying. One beautiful girl of 15, although only sitting comfortably in a chair, fainted several times the first afternoon she posed. She used to recover almost immediately, and I think the artist's nerves were more upset than her, for there were no more sittings, although she was willing to continue. Others can sit or stand without showing any signs of fatigue. One fair damsel is still remembered amongst the students as the 'Première danseuab.' She had been in a ballet, and therefore her foot, as might be expected, were altogether spoiled, nor hair was false, and she might have been taken for a marble statue on account of the amount of powder which she had on. It is needless to say that she was not employed very often. It has generally been found that the good girls (for many of these models are really good girls) have the least affectation or pretended modesty when they pose. Some of the models become great favourites with the artists, who are sorry to lose them, and a few of the younger 'men still think with retirement of the dark-eyed gipsy, Jenny, who from the bright life and freedom of the studios was taken away to the confines of Callan Park. The male models are often extraordinary characters, for they are generally picked out on account of some peculiarity in their appearance. A very bald thin man named Abbot has often been made use of. With his long hair falling to his shoulders he 'may be seen any day in Sydney walking in the gutter. He always walks in the gutter. Under his arm he carries a small parcel wrapped in brown paper which contains letters relating to his alleged claim against the Government for £70,000. Another old man, an Albanian, holds long conversations with spirits which he sees floating about the room. The spirits are rather a nuisance, as sometimes, when he is posing, he gets up to drive them away - if he blinks they are coming too close. During one of his saner intervals he has expressed the desire of entering into a contract for cutting all the artists' hair, but this proposal could not be entertained, as, of course, it is an understood thing that an artist never has his hair cub. The black and white artist requires to be to a certain extent a business man in order to keep in touch with the publishers and newspaper proprietors. This is the most paying kind of work, bub, before an artist is well known he has a trying time having to submit to his work being very much criticised, and often having to alter some of the best portions in order to suit the taste of someone who may know little about drawing. 

The 'Bulletin' has been the means of developing several of the younger men, Minns, Spence, Phil May, Lambert, Vincent, Souter and Fischer. To the professional artist the principal event of the year is the annual exhibition. For a month or more beforehand you will not find an artist with five minutes to spare. They are all busy finishing their pictures, which are shown to private friends and likely purchasers on a certain day prior to being sent in. By the way frames are a very serious item to the artist, for, even if a picture is not sold and the same frame can be used again the following year, there is always a considerable amount of expense for renovations. There are now two societies in Sydney which hold annual exhibitions, but it is undesirable to have two rival shows where there is only room for one. It is to be hoped that before long both parties will give way something, and forgetting part of their real or imaginary grievances, unite and form one strong body. All pictures sent in are judged by a committee who sit in a row, while each picture is carried along in front. A boy with a box follows immediately after, and each judge drops in a piece of smooth or sand paper, the smooth paper indicating that he thinks the picture should be accepted ; the same paper that it should be rejected. The majority of votes decides the matter. The rejection of pictures causes a great deal of unpleasantness, some disappointed artists threatening legal proceedings, and other stronger measures, but the majority take things quietly, and work hard to improve.

After all the judging is completed, the accepted pictures are loft to the Hanging Committee which decides where the pictures are to be hung, the best places being awarded to the best pictures. Opinions on pictures being very different, the Hanging Committee generally have to put up with a lot of adverse criticism, and being only mortals they sometimes deserve part of it. Then come varnishing day, private view, smoke night, conversations, concerts, and though numerous other functions connected with the exhibition. The trustees of the National Gallery spend a certain sum in purchasing local works, and the artist, whoso exhibit is selected, may consider himself lucky, as at present the trustees are almost the only purchasers of large works. in addition to soiling pictures, and black and white work, there are other sources of income, open to artists — private pupils, schools, technical classes, etching, lithographic work, designing, decorating, &c., and I regret to say that many of our best 'men have to spend their time in these side branches of art. Let us hope that a day will come when the wealthy people of this colony will see their way to encourage art in a fitting manner. .For it is only when our artists are relieved from working for the bare necessaries of life that they can afford do spend their time on great and lasting works which would reflect glory on themselves and on their country. 

There is no room in this article to do more than mention the sculptors, of whom we have several good ones amongst us, including Simonetti, Mackintosh, Batchon, Illingworth and Hutchinson. But we cannot close without noticing the work of those artists — Gordon, Goatcher, Brunton and others — which is produced under most exceptional circumstances in the midst of rush and hurry and innumerable distractions, work often continued far into the night or oven until long after daylight comes again, but which well repays the artist for his labour, for when the curtain rises at the theatre the scenes disclosed are the delight of thousands of the people of New South Wales who little know the strain of mind and body under which they have been produced. In the Sydney Artists' Colony. (1897, December 25). The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1942), p. 5. Retrieved from 

Art Society Exhibition of 1897: “Mr Alfred R. Caffey [sic] has confined himself to figure subjects and portraits this year, amongst which will be noted a likeness of Miss Carrie Chisholm, and one of Miss Eva Bryan as 'Queen of the Revels’”. “Mr Alfred R. Coffey sends in a number of figure-paintings of unequal merit. 'Pets’ (no.17) a young girl bearing paroquets upon a pole, may be especially commended for the clearness of the flesh-tones; 'Queen of the Revels’ (no.45) is a pleasing portrait of Miss Eva Bryan, a noted belle of North Sydney, in fancy dress, well treated except as to the chest, in which the effect is hard and the shadow too regularly defined. His portrait of Miss Carrie Chisholm has good points, but a falling-off is shown in Nos.120 and 109”.


Mr. W. Lister Lister was born in Sydney, and educated in England and France. He has been an exhibitor In the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, and in, the Manchester Art Gallery. Mr. Lister returned to Australia in 1888, and he has been president of the Royal .Art Society of New South Wales for the last 10 years.No title (1908, October 11). The Sunday Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1903 - 1910), p. 10. Retrieved from

In 1898 Lister won his first Wynne prize for landscape painting with 'The Ever Restless Sea' (Art Gallery of New South Wales). He won the Wynne prize a further six times; in 1906, 1910, 1912, 1913 ('Federal Capital Site' which also won the Commonwealth government's £250 prize), 1917 and 1925. 
In 1899 he married a divorcee, Bessie Emily Jenkins, an Illawarra girl. They lived in Redan street, Mosman in a house with brilliant views of the water. They had a daughter, Muriel. 

William Lister Lister's 1889 offering in the art show was again on his just left themes; Wilberforce or Emancipation Oak, Keston Vale, Kent" (No. 90),"and was bought by the trustees of the Gallery. The first one recorded of his birthplace, at this year's showing, is "Mr. W. Lister Lister, besides his picture bought for the gallery, has five others, all of them shewing a similarity of tone, and some, like No. 67, " The Foot Bridge, Manly Lagoon," a good feel-ing of Australian outdoor life and much careful detail,.."
Also among those listed is:

"Afterglow, Newport, N.S.W.," (No. 94), is a characteristic water colour by Mr. Fullwood, who has evidently not confined his attention to work in black and white for this exhibitlon. In the warm hues of the sky and their reflection in the water, thrown out against the low tone of the shadows in the foreground and the gathering gloom in the distance, the feeling of the evening is happily sustained. ," - THE ART SOCIETY'S AUTUMN EXHIBITION. (1889, April 1).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

Albert Henry Fullwood (15 March 1863 – 1 October 1930) made a significant contribution to art in Australia , painted with Heidelberg school artists around Melbourne and moved with Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton to live and paint at their camp in Sirius Cove, Sydney . Fullwood was the Australian official war artist to the 5th Division in the First World War.

Fullwood was born in Hockley, Birmingham, son of Frederick John Fullwood, jeweller, and his wife Emma, née Barr. From 1878, Fullwood studied art at evening classes at the Birmingham Institute. He studied art at the Birmingham School of Landscape Art at the Birmingham YMCA, Needless Alley, Birmingham. After graduation, he migrated to Sydney in 1883 and obtained work at John Sands Limited as a lithographic draughtsman and designer. He joined the Art Society of New South Wales in 1884, and shortly afterwards obtained a position on the staff of the Picturesque Atlas of Australia, for which he traveled a good deal in the north and did many drawings. He later worked on The Sydney Mail and other illustrated papers of the time. He kept up his painting, and in 1892 two of his water-colours were purchased for the national gallery at Sydney.

In 1895 Fullwood took a leading part in forming the Society of Artists in Sydney, a breakaway group from the (Royal) Art Society of NSW, and was a member of its first council.

Pittwater Looking Towards Lion Island, New South Wales
Watercolour, signed and dated 'A. Fullwood, '97' lower left, 23.6 x 31.3 cm
courtesy of Christies © Albert Henry Fullwood or assignee

Watercolour, signed and titled 'A. H. Fullwood/Newport', lower left, 23.5 x 33.5 cm
Courtesy of Christies © Albert Henry Fullwood or assignee

[Livintonia Australis ] Whale Beach, Pitt Water, by Arthur James Long, 1914 - Housed in a postcard album. Written on the inside of the front cover: June 1914. Photo's taken in New South Wales & Queensland by A. J. Vogan Esq. Special Correspondent of the Illustrated London News at the time of the Eruption in New Zealand. His book 'Black Police' deals with the brutality dealt out to the Natives of Queensland by the early settlers. Courtesy State Library of Victoria. 

Mr Lister's works, interspersed with others, grant us all some wonderful views:


Mr. John Lane Mullins opened an exhibition' of pictures by Mr. Lister Lister, in the Art Gallery of Anthony Hordern and Sons, Ltd., on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Lister Lister's work is too well known to the Sydney public to need much comment. The collection now on show includes nine oil paintings and fifty-three water-color sketches. Of the former, perhaps the most striking is a study of the Kangaroo Valley. In this the artist has succeeded adnirably in expressing on canvas the subtle mystery and sadness of the Australian bush at twilight. The Jetty, Palm Beach, is a distinct contrast, showing, as it does, the bush on a sunny day, when sunlight is streaming through the branches of the trees and flecking the water with gold. In the water-color section the finest piece of work is undoubtedly, a comparatively small study entitled, The Smooth Apple Gum. The subject is simply one of our tall giant gums seen against a background of saplings and scrub, but it is the wonderful life and color with which the artist has imbued it that make this picture the gem it is. As you watch the tree you imagine you can see the rich, red sap oozing from its bark and feel the soft bush wind. Nothing Mr. Lister Lister has ever achieved in art is finer than this one study. The Soft Summer Evening Stole Over The Land, reveals the artist in a soft restful mood. 

Narrabeen Lagoon is another effective study, in which Mr. Lister Lister has caught with marked success the peculiar atmosphere of calm and melancholy that broods over this spot. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a holiday on one of the northern surf beaches will recognise the familiar sand spits, and the winding road at the foot of the shadowing mountains. Quite a number of pictures in the exhibition have been taken from scenes around this district and as far as Barrenjoey, whilst Bega and other places on the South Coast have supplied the inspiration for the majority of the remainder. The exhibition will remain open for a month. LISTER LISTER'S PICTURES (1917, May 13). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 26. Retrieved from

The Close of Day Near Narrabeen - William Lister Lister
Oil, signed lower right, 39.5 x 44.5 cm
Courtesy of Lawsons © William Lister Lister or assignee

Warriewood Beach - William Lister Lister

The sea too has its strong loves, its ceaseless admirers. The range of sea scapes here is large. There are pictures of coast land and harbor, sea and bay, of moonlit and sunlit waters. There is an exquisite moonlight scene, by J. W. Tristrain, a picturesque piece of the Newport coast, by Lister Lister, a gay beach scene, by Alfred Colfey, of The Swimming Pool at Austinmeer. And other attractive beach studies. 'Evening Shadows On The Golden Sand,' and 'Prawning In The Lake,' Dee Why,' by Marion Ferrier, also bring a breath of the sea breeze with them. A fine study, by .1. Giles, is entitled Morning Light. N.S.W. Coast, consists of a rocky headland and dancing waves, over which the first faint yellow light of morning is having play. Some delightful scenes of still waters in and around Sydney Harbor have been painted by .lames R. Jackson; and R. M.S. New Zealand, anchored in Sydney Harbor, has been painted by C. E. S. Tindall: and the Evening Of July 19 in Sydney Harbor, with the searchlights from the squadron playing over the Harbor, is reproduced by Marion Ferrier. WOMAN'S WORLD (1919, September 5).The Sydney Stock and Station Journal (NSW : 1896 - 1924), , p. 2. Retrieved from 

Beach Scene with Gulls (Newport ?) - William Lister Lister

Mr. A. J. Daplyn. Inspired by the example of Mr. Julian Ashton, who recently presented a number of pictures to the Bondi Public School, has given two oil paintings to the Department of Education. These pictures, which were formerly hung In the Royal Art Society's Exhibitions, are about 6ft. by 5ft. in size. One of them, "Narrabeen Lagoon," will be hung In the Boys' High School and the other, "Morning on the Hawkesbury," goes to the Girls' High School. ARTIST'S GIFTS (1924, December 11).The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 8 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from 

Balmoral Beach- A.J. DAPLYN (1844-1926)- Gift of Howard Hinton 1939

Newport, the Combers in foreground, New South Wales, ca. 1925 [picture] / [John Cosh]. nla.obj-135195387-1, courtesy National Library of Australia.


The Anthony Hordern Art Gallery is now showing a new collection of pictures, re-presenting the latest work of the well-known painter, Mr. W. Lister Lister, himself a trustee of the National Gallery. On account of the latter honor, Mr. Lister excludes himself as a seller to the National Gallery of New South Wales, although his brush is represented there, through the patriotism of public subscription, notably in his "Golden Splendor of the Bush."
This well - known Australian artist has been highly successful with his latest exhibition. The exhibition is attracting a steady flow of visitors, among whom are connoiseurs and buyers; and the total selling amount is nearing three figures, one of the purchased pictures being "Shimmering Light," which is destined for the National Gallery at Cardiff, Wales.
Our photo of the artist is by May Moore, Ltd., Sydney. MR. LISTER LISTER'S ART. (1925, May 2). The World's News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 1955), p. 9. Retrieved from 

Gum tree, windy ridge, Palm Beach. c.1926 Place made: Palm Beach, Sydney by Arthur Streeton. The Oscar Paul Collection, Gift of Henriette von Dallwitz and of Richard Paul in honour of his father 1965. Accession No: NGA 65.80 - National Gallery of Australia.

Members of the Royal Art Society and other artists are busy designing the black and white and coloured screens which will be a feature of the Black and White Artists' Ball, to be held in the Paddington Town Hall on July 29. To augment the proceeds of the ball, which will be given to the Picton Lakes T.B. Settlement, a motor treasure hunt will be held on Sunday, when cars will leave the Art Gallery at 10.30 am. for Mona Vale. Mr.Grant Hanlon is In charge of arrangements. NEAR AND FAR. (1929, July 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

The appeal fund of the T.B.  Sailors and Soldiers' Association will hold one of its final activities before the fund is closed, a combined motor picnic and treasure hunt at La Corniche, Mona Vale, on September 1. The party will start from the Art Gallery, Sydney, at 10.30a.m., where clues will be given out. For those who do not wish to take part in the hunt a special programme of amusements will be provided at Mona Vale.
NEAR AND FAR. (1929, August 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

Robert Johnson
Painter of ' Palm Beach to Barrenjoey, 'The Picture Selected as the Supplement to the' Sydney Mail ' Annual .'
ROBERT JOHNSON'S rise to prominence has been unusually rapid. Belonging originally to New Zealand, when not much more than a student he left to join the Anzac forces, first in Egypt and then until the end of the war on the Western Front, from which lie brought back mementoes in the shape of watercolours done behind the lines and one large oil painting of the famous Cloth Hall at Ypres, now included in the official war records kept at Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin. Some eight or nine years ago he took up residence in New South Wales, and from that time has exhibited with the Society of Artists and smaller group exhibitions. For five or six years he was yet comparatively unknown beyond the small circle of art enthusiasts, since he occupied only his leisure in painting. His cognoscenti, however, had their eye on this promising young painter, and when he had once decided to devote himself entirely to an artist's career his reputation was quickly established, and with an ever widening public. His first one-man show at the Grosvenor galleries in Sydney in the latter half of 1927 had most gratifying results; practically all the pictures were sold out in the first two or three days, one example belonging to the National Gallery of New South Wales, the other to Lady Stonehaven. His second one-man show1 the same galleries a year later, equally successful the point of view of sales, marked a distinct advance in the standard of accomplishment. He was hailed on every hand as 'the coming Streeton,' and his position among the first half-dozen painters in oils of Australian landscape was secured beyond question.
Since that time his work has gained still more in breadth and sureness. There is every reason to deduce from the steady consistency of his development hitherto that he will maintain and improve upon his own standard, and that along the line he has marked out for himself he will go from strength to strength.

THOUGH he included some very agreeable still-life compositions in his exhibition last year, Robert Johnson has revealed himself so far as primarily a painter of landscape and of the harbour and the coast. In landscape he seems equally attracted by the wild grandeur. of rocky hillsides, by the gentler beauty of rolling pastures and of fruitful farmlands with homesteads and cattle, and by the domestic charm of the countryside on the fringe of the metropolis. Turning to the harbour he seeks for preference those smiling reaches and unspoiled foreshores not sullied by the city's touch. His treatment of the gum-tree, one may say, breaks down Heysen's monopoly. Like Gruner, he has been fascinated by problems of landscape-painting against the light. He is, of course, a pure realist, not over-much concerned with theories and the latest dicta of the pundits. His aim is first and foremost to transfer to his canvas the scene as it appears to him, expressing to the full its natural beauty, but playing no tricks of heightening or distortion to make a striking pattern. And the genuineness and sincerity of feeling in his painting is always apparent, conspicuously free as it is from all suspicion of being worked up in the studio from slight sketches and memoranda made on the spot. His pictures are rounded harmonies in which there is successful elimination of unnecessary detail; there are clarity and definition, but no hardness. His colour is full, yet mellow, avoiding on the one hand stridency and on the other anaemia or a muddy dullness. Particularly admirable in many cases are his distances; and he knows how to paint water as translucent. IN the example of his work reproduced for the supplement to the 'Sydney Mail' Annual Johnson's special characteristics are shown to advantage. This noble prospect, looking from the rocks and sandy scrub of Palm Beach heights beyond Barrenjoey Lighthouse and Lion Island to the further shores' of Broken Bay, is one on which the eye loves to dwell. The artist in his presentation of it has captured no small proportion of its glamour. BEATRICE TILDESLEY. Robert Johnson. (1929, October 9). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 9. Retrieved from 

'Mona Vale Trees' -  Robert  Johnson

Three Art Exhibitions in Sydney
Landscapes by (Robert Johnson
It is easy to understand why Mr. Johnson has quickly won such popularity among picture-buyers' in Sydney. There in little doubt that the exhibition of his oil paintings, nearly forty in number, now opening at the Grosvenor Galleries will be as successful as his first one-man show, held there last year, when practically all the pictures were sold out in the first few days. 
THIS artist is freely lipped as the coming Streeton. And those who make that claim for him have much to support their view. It was Streeton who first, as a painter, really discovered Sydney Harbour. There are pictures of Middle Harbour in tin's collection that are entirely individual, and yet call to mind Streeton. They are not as brilliant in colour as many of that artist's harbour scenes, but the deeply glowing blue of the water, with no rawness in the tone, helps the suggestion. On the other hand, Mr. Johnson runs Heysen pretty close in his paintings of gum-tree boles and foliage. But he is no copyist of Heysen, any more than of Streeton. Altogether one would have small hesitation in placing him in the first half-dozen Australian landscape painters in oil. Mr. Johnson's rise to the prominent position he now holds has been almost meteoric. In New Zealand, where he was born, he had already painted landscapes and figure compositions before the war, which removed him to far distant scenes. On his return from France he came to settle in Sydney, but did not at once devote himself exclusively to an artistic career. It is on his paintings of New South Wales landscapes during the last two years- or so that his reputation mainly rests, though he demonstrates by two charming still-life studies in the present exhibition that he can paint other subjects. He is a realistic painter, and, like Streeton, not over-much concerned with theories or novel methods of presentment and technique. Painting landscape always in the open air, he finds a subject which attracts him, and be sets out to convey upon canvas the pleasure he has felt in it himself. There is an impression of complete sincerity given by all his work, and in his best examples a seeming effortlessness because of their success. He has a notable mastery in rendering the effects of reflected light in shadows, as, for example, in the bare stony heap which balances the moss - grown rocks of one of the Middle Harbour pictures, entitled 'Rocky Foreshores.' The same picture provides an illustration of the fact that this artist never scamps his foreground . or leaves the less significant portions of his landscape meaningless and indeterminate. Like some of the other harbour and Pittwater scenes, it shows, too, his ability to give the effect of translucence to water to the shadow of a steeply rising shore. Another beautiful example of his capacity in this direction is the picture called 'At Castlecrag,' looking across to the heights of Mosman opposite. Here the blue water lies under a deep shadow -.beneath the further, cliff, above, which there is a stretch of- pale blue sky with hazy clouds. lying on the horizon, and against this background there stands out boldly in front 1o the right a; tree. and pile of stones. Equally beautiful is 'Middle Harbour.' ' 'Trees at Mona Vale,' painted against the light, like 'Ermington,' a view in the district towards Eastwood, contains not only a conspicuously fine, handling,. . of a white gum tree-trunk seen against a' pale blue sky, but is remarkable for its rendering of reflected light, iii shadow. 'Sunshine and Shadow,' with glimpses of houses between straight-up. tree-trunks, is a successful painting of a quite different effect of light. Amid the variety of other subjects, one pauses with pleasure at the picture of the old cottage, with later additions and an iron roof replacing its original shingle, entitled 'The Eighties,' and at 'Milking Times,' where the cattle are collecting round the farmstead. The biggest picture in the exhibition is the spacious 'Valley of the Hawkesbury. 'This could already have been disposed of several times over at the very beginning of the exhibition. The artist, has also painted a fine view of the 'Valley of the Wollondilly,' looking down from a height upon the winding stream. 'Flame Tree' is a delightful small picture, showing the tree on the left next to a cottage behind a tumbledown fence, through which white fowls are straying.
: 'MOUNTAIN PASTURES,' By Robert  Johnson.
'MILKING TIME,' Another example of Mr. Johnson's art. Three Art Exhibitions in Sydney (1928, August 29). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 20. Retrieved from 

'Houses above the Beach' (Bilgola) Robert Johnson

'Lake Narrambeen' - Robert Johnson

'Warriewood Beach' - Robert Johnson

'Avalon Beach' - Robert Johnson

'Whale Beach' - Robert Johnson

'Whale Beach' - Robert Johnson
Mr. Lister Lister's Pictures.
Mr. W. Lister Lister, so well known as a landscape artist, has done some of his best work in his present exhibition, now on view at the gallery of Anthony Hordern and Sons. He has painted many charming spots on the Hawkesbury River, the South Coast, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney Harbour; and In these he has studied nature in varying moods, ranging from the golden glow of "Radiant Morn," his largest canvas, to the deepening shadows of evening In the group of oils in white mounts on the opposite wall. No. 19 in this group, "Still Evening," Is particularly attractive in the art with which the massed shadows of the foreground have been brought into contrast with the fading light of the middle distance. The picture is rich in tone, land an example of fine composition. "Evening’s Mystic Beauty" and "Under the Willows, Nepean River," are two other spirited subjects in this group.
The artist has produced an Imposing effect of sunlit dawn In "Radiant Morn," a golden sky above low river banks covered with reeds, almost blue in tone against the mass of radiance, and In the middle distance a farmer's horse and cart, crossing the bridge, are brought Into silhouetted relief. The whole subject has been spaciously treated, and with a keen sense of colour and harmonious proportion. "Spring Time, Hawkesbury," is another admirable study, to which a decided note of colour has been Imparted In the profusion of wild flowers on the river slope in the fore-ground, the peach trees In blossom, and the deep green of the river oaks. The visitor will admire, again, "Heralds of Spring, Richmond," a quiet scene with distant farm houses, and three or four fruit trees crowded] with pink and yellow blossoms filling the picture. Among other notable oils are the richly-painted "Sunlight Through the Trees," a National Park view, In which light and shade are mingled artistically, and reflected In the deep tones of the river; "Late Afternoon, Shoalhaven River," two views of Bomaderry Creek, "The Passing Shower," and an animated coastal scene at Narrabeen, a great stretch of shore with the surf breaking.
There are some attractive Sydney Harbour pieces among the water colours. In one of these a capital effect has been secured in a view overlooking Athol Wharf, seen from between two tall gumtrees, with the city in the far distance. A Balmoral Beach study, with sails dotting the water, Is also distinctly effective. "An Old Homestead, Richmond," "The Look-out, Echo Point, Blue Mountains," and "The Track Through the Gums," reveal certainty In the use of this medium, in the hands of an experienced artist. Mr. Lister Lister has roamed over a vast extent of this State in collecting the subjects for this exhibition, and he has painted them with a keen appreciation of the charm of Australian landscape.
The pictures will be on view till May 15. LANDSCAPES. (1930, April 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

Coast Near Narrabeen - William Lister Lister

Mr. W. Lister Lister, president of the Royal Art Society, is holding his annual exhibition In Hordern's Art Gallery. This show has become a fixture as confidently awaited by picture-lovers as those of the two rival societies.
In a time when the small picture represents the discouraged feeling of the younger generation towards his art it is heartening indeed to see the "old-timer" still working upon large canvases, Mr. Lister's big picture this year is of Avalon, one of the beaches towards Broken Bay. This is a typical coastal seascape, and shows an advance on recent work of the same kind by the same painter. The color is clean and there is a good feeling of mass and texture. W. LISTER LISTER (1933, April 20). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 20 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from 

As is usual in the work of Mr. W. Lister Lister, the Australian landscape is reflected in many aspects among the pictures which he Is exhibiting at Anthony Horderns' galleries. Countryside, sea coast, and harbour have inspired the 49 oils and watercolours on view; no figure subject is included. The largest canvas, entitled "The White Crested Waves Roll Onward to the Shore," presents a wide expanse of sea and shore at Avalon Beach. Here the natural scene offers a pattern of curves-in the sweeping lines of the sand, the foam crests, and the waves farther out-broken by a rugged projection of cliff in the fore-ground. The luminous blues of coastal shallows under strong sunlight are skilfully rendered. "King's School, Parramatta," another large oil, is a pleasing treatment of the school in its setting of rural charm. In contrast with the agreeable lightness of these works,the treatment of beach scenes in "Low Tide" and "Bilgola Beach" is somewhat heavy, and In the latter the breaking waves are hardly effective.
"In the Bush" Is one of those studies of gum trees which are characteristic of Mr. Lister's work. That brushwork leaves the foliage lace-like against a pale sky. "Under the Trees" is a delicate treatment of bush-land in pale greys and greens. In "Balmoral Beach" there is a less degree of naturalism than in most of the works shown. It is attractively decorative, rendering less the scene than its holiday mood of boats and bathing where beach and greensward meet. The oils, of which there are 25 (including a second and smaller picture of The King's School) constitute the most interesting portion of the exhibition.  ART EXHIBTION. (1933, April 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 

1934 Avalon Beach - William Lister Lister  the 'white waves'

Amazing Generosity of Mr. Howard Hinton
Fifteen More Pictures
Mr. Howard Hinton, of Sydney, whose amazing generosity in his benefactions to the Armidale Teachers' Training College, is known throughout the State, has capped all previous actions by sending along another fifteen pictures, including eight oils, one monotype and five water-colours.
"If Mr. Hinton had done nothing else but present this representative collection, be would have been deserving «of our best thanks," said Principal C. B. Newling this morning.
The new pictures cover a wider ange of subjects, and bring the total number presented by Mr. Hinton is one hundred and five.
The new subjects are: —
Petunias (Matson Nicholas); The Bathers (J.  S. Watkins), Avalon Beach (W. Lister Lister), Art Students (Fred Leist), Interior (H. Gallop), In the Sunlight (Datillo Rubbo),Evening, Shoalhaven River (Gordon Esling). Bebe (Phillips Fox), Orientale (Marjorie Chesney), West Coast Tasmania (Tom Garrett), LossoePark, Ireland (Daryl Lindsay), Old Houses, Middleburg, Holland (G. V.S. Mann), Sailing Ship Cutty Sark(John Allcott), Kurrajong Orchards (Gladys Owen) and Daffodils (Brenda Holland).
These pictures will be on view to the public as from Sunday afternoon next. TOPPED THE CENTURY. (1934, July 30). The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser (NSW : 1856 - 1861; 1863 - 1889; 1891 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from 

Image: Lister, William Lister, 'Near Bungan Beach
Oil on canvas laid on board (AF), signed lower left, 61 x 93 cm
Courtesy of Lawsons © William Lister Lister or assignee

'Summer day, Mona Vale' 1937 James R Jackson

'Summer day, Avalon' 1937 James R Jackson

Oil Painting by G. V. F. Mann.

THE COAST AT NARRABEEN (1937, July 14). The Land (Sydney, NSW : 1911 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

The veteran painter Mr. W. Lister Lister, hangs his annual exhibition of pictures at Anthony Hordern's Art Gallery.
For his largest work he has chosen a picture which we have seen before and are glad to see again, a study of banksia trees on the flats at Narrabeen. This picture was sent to London in the exhibition of Australian Art, shown in the Royal Academy some years ago, and received most flattering notices from the critics. Another old friend is "The King's School" shown from across the water. A number of new works are also exhibited in which the painter shows that he has lost none of his ability to put down what he sees in a downright fashion. In water-color and oil he Is equally at home; always his pictures are realistic and cheerful transcripts of the bush and sea-coast, and have many admirers, who are assured that they will like this show as much as they did the last one. — H.A. MR LISTER'S ART EXHIBITION (1938, March 30). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 9 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from 

Exhibition of Landscape
Sir Philip Goldfinch, K.B.E., opened the annual exhibition of Mr. W. Lister's Landscapes at Anthony Horderns' Art Gallery on Thursday, March 23, when a large gathering was present, and showed great appreciation of the exhibits. The artist is renowned for his work of Australian scenery of bushland and sea and surf. Some of the pictures are really new to lover’s of art, who visit Mr. Lister's exhibition yearly, hxxt they are warmly welcomed by newcomers. The artists'
oils this year are stronger than those presented for some time. There is not the scope to-day for- large canvases, as modern homes will not. fit them, and itis a great pity, as in these Mr. Lister's work is seen at its best. 'Summertime where the Bark Falls' Is characteristic of the bushland. This picture was hung in Paris at the International Exposition of 1937. Several of Sydney’s lovely watering spots were delightfully produced among the smaller oils. No. 1 in the Anthony Horderns' series offer's another example, in which Avalon Beach is the subject, and this picture exactly reproduces the spaciousness and gay glitter of that scene as seen from the headland at the southern end. Many of these wonderful works, too numerous to mention, are seen in this grand exhibition now being held.
Exhibition of Landscape. (1939, March 30). Catholic Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1933 - 1942), p. 17. Retrieved from

Image: Lister, William Lister, Avalon Beach
Oil on canvas laid on board (AF), signed lower left, 61 x 93 cm
Courtesy of Lawsons © William Lister Lister or assignee

'Clareville Beach' - Robert Johnson
Courtesy of Lawsons © William Lister Lister or assignee

'Clareville, among the trees' - Robert Johnson

'Newport' - Robert Johnson 

                                                                                    'Avalon Beach, both headlands'  - Robert Johnson, 1943

Palm Beach - Robert Johnson, 1944

What About The Girls?

Women artists, as shown above, were among the early exhibiting artists, although always a 'Mrs.' or a 'Miss', these women eventually came to reown their christened names

Curl Curl Lagoon, 1865 by Edith Blacket (1844-1928) 
Attributed to Edith Blackheath. Inscribed : ‘Curl Curl Lagoon, Manly Aug 25th 1865’. Signed, inscribed, dated and titled in pencil along the left and right of the artwork. 

Blacket was the eldest daughter of prominent Sydney architect Edmund Thomas Blacket (1817-1883). Born into a family of wealth, Edith’s artistic training would have been an integral part of her education. It is likely that she was simply an amateur artist depicting her local surroundings. There are sketchbooks and watercolours surviving by her in the Mitchell Library NSW. The Mitchell Library also has a photograph after one of her drawings of the family home in Glebe, which was designed and built by her father. [4.]

The Art Society of New South Wales. 
The women artists of New South Wales, like their elder sisters of (ire; it Britain, have attained a distinguished place in their profession, and have won this distinction by genuine hard work and persistent study, aided by au enthusiasm in art. But, not without justifying the saying- that there is a ‘royal road to fame in art 'success has been achieved in the midst of difficulties, but with all there has come an earlier recognition to many in this new laud than would probably have been the case in that much larger field at home. Of the 269 pictures exhibited this year, 71 are by women — the work of 20 exhibitors against 198 pictures produced by the 41 men artists— an average of about 3 ½ against 4 ¾ pictures each. In the portrait class, recognised by many as the highest branch of the limner's art, the women are j distinctly successful. Mrs. Stoddard sends six portraits. That of Sir Henry Parkes (130) is an excellent likeness, showing the Premier in a thoughtful, reflective mood, free from the turmoil of politics. This is painted with the greatest care, j reminding one of the great Denner's work in its minuteness. It has all the finish of a miniature on ivory. Mrs. Busby's (184) is also a faithful portrait, the eyes particularly well painted and the details of the dress all good. Miss Brown (193) will be recognised at once by all friends The head is finely posed; the chestnut hair, head, and fan all bear close examination. 

Miss Salter (213) and Master Jack Merivale closely resemble each other in colour. There is, however, more character in the boy's portrait. ' The president of the Australian Club ' (222), is, in our opinion, the gem of the portraits exhibited: it is a most speaking likeness, and finished with minute attention and fidelity. The one still life study (237) is a sweetly effective painting ; a large shell backed by a green curtain ; some violets carelessly thrown about give a good contrast in tone : the texture of the shell is beautiful, so 'dear that one almost sees through it. These are all in oil. 

Madame Roth sends seven pictures, all in water-colours, heading this part of the collection with a landscape and the lines : — Last by Phillip's farm I flew To join the brimming river. The slope to the river and the path leading to the farm on the rise in the distance are excellently drawn ; the vivid green and purple tints mark the specialties of Australian colouring. Next to this is the 'Berrima Girl,' standing within a poor hut, shelling beans — a boldly drawn and effective picture. 44 and 54 make a good pair; the first, 'Old Narrabeen,' a farmhouse and sheds ; the second, a dilapidated cottage, 'To Let or for Sale' these drawings are marked at prices beyond modesty, and bordering on the 'great bargain' plan. 92 'The Goose Girl,' is a charming bit of rural life : a number of geese are slowly winding up the path, followed by a well -drawn girl ; the perspective and colouring combining to make a very natural and taking picture. 'The Moon and I' (107) represents a fine owl, with a big moon behind him. 116, 'The Old Homestead,' bears the coveted red ticket; the boy leaning over the fence and the foreground are excellent. There is a great variety in these pictures, and abundant character as well as technical skill. 

Mrs. M'Ilwaine sends eight pictures, all in oils : (153) 'Saplings,' a charming little picture ; the creek in the foreground, and beyond the trunk of a tree lying across ferns and branches ; a good little painting. (1/0) 'Near Mossman's Bay;' (176) Moonlight' (sold) ; (189) Above the Falls, Mossman's Bay,' the foreground much better than the strong light on the back part ; (202) ' A Glimpse of the City' has some very good work in it ; but the best of the group — despite what in our opinion is a grave fault — is (236) ' Pastureland, ' a lagoon in front, cattle browsing around, and the distance to the hills finely drawn ; the sun's rays slant across the hills on the group to the right naturally enough , but those on the left fall on broken 'ground, and therefore must be interrupted. On an indifferent picture such a detail might not be noticed, but in such a generally faithful reproduction of nature, this frsak jars. The verdure and general effect are excellent. (249) ' A Sunny Corner,' trees on the borders of a creek, grass and reeds lighted by the sun, is a painstaking, careful picture. (223) 'A Rift in Clouds,' completes the list. This is a cleverly executed picture; the cattle and foreground very naturally and carefully painted. This lady's pictures compare exceedingly well with the productions of the artists of he sterner sex in the same class. 

Miss Ethel A. Stephens is entitled to special attention from the variety in her work. She sends three portraits, one of Dr. Norton (150), a boldly painted and good likeness : (148) Miss Isabel Suttor, not so good, though there is effective colouring: and (162) 'The study of a head,' evidently a rapidly made sketch, in which the straw hat and feathers are the best part as regards the work, though there is character in the face. (98) ' On the way to Fairy Bower,' a water colour, a pretty woodland bit. apparently drawn with very little effort. ('2..) ' Lagoons at Bondi,' is too coarsely painted to be really pleasing. (183) ' White peonies,' is n capital group of flowers, with good colour effects in the accessories; and the wood panel, Purple Iris,' on a golden ground, represents flowers well drawn. Another young exhibitor receives well merited recognition — all the more welcome from what was generally considered ' hard luck ' at a recent exhibition—Miss Lilla Creed, who heads the list as the largest exhibitor. She sends 10 pictures, of which one is a water-colour (sold), a clever little 'Study of an old woman.' Of the nine oils one will henceforth be public property, having been bought by the trustees of the National Gallery. This, a panel of pink roses, one of which has lost its leaves, is most charming. 1!)'Sunflowers ' is sold ; the drooping blossom in the foreground is most natural. ' Hollyhocks,' with two birds introduced, has been bought for five guineas. The purchaser should readily make a profit. Red Lilies (255) and a panel of purple flowers are also sold. There are, besides, the Castor-oil Plant, the foliage finely varied in tone ; Chrysanthemums (165 and 6) ; and a second panel of sunflowers. This lady is teaching, and her pupils are enthusiastic at her success. 

Mrs. Stone sends four paintings — ' Fruit Blossom,' the lightly-tinted petals, the brown stems, thrown into good relief by the well-drawn sky, and two birds sipping the earliest sweets giving life to the picture. (134) ' An Orange Branch ' is a capital study of colour, too high to catch the attention of hasty visitors, but well worth inspection ; (142) ' Winter Flowers in Italy,' an artistic group; and (266) 'Iris,' a small but naturally-drawn and finely-coloured painting. This lady displays cultured taste and skill: her contributions are all good.

Miss Nesbitt, is, we believe, an exhibitor for the first time. She sends but two pictures — a group of Chrysanthemiuns (244)'and 'A Study' (143). The latter is the best of its kind in the collection. A large plaque forms the background ; to the left is a covered vase of rather quaint design ; beyond a tumbler filled with roses ; and, still more to the right, a little brown vase filled with flowers. The grouping is artistic, the technical part good, and the colouring harmonious and subdued ; a thoroughly meritorious work, deserving a place in any gallery. Miss Willis contributes five watercolours and one oil ; four door panels styled ' Banksia,' on a gold ground, very good. The watercolours (5) — ' Boronia and Wild Grapes,' (17) ' Yellow Roses and Jasmine,' (20) ' Christmas Bush,' and (56) ' Pear Blossoms' (sold) — are marked at prices which cannot be remunerative.

There is decided taste and skill in the grouping and painting. (20 and 5G) are companion pictures on neutral backgrounds, with very judiciously introduced shadows. (102) ' Single Dahlias,' though carefully painted, { is less successful than the others in the grouping. Miss Lazarus exhibits hut one picture, 'Victims,' which represents a group of game— hare and birds — hanging or lying on a stone recess, the sportsman's flask and strap near. This somewhat ambitious picture for a young student to attempt bears the red ticket. Miss N. S. F. Russell shows careful delicate work in her Bush Paddock (43), which is much better than her still life study of Oleanders and Quinces (210). Mrs. Halligan's basket of spring flowers suffers from overcrowding, though the painting is good (8) ; and, to a certain extent, 234 is imperilled from the same cause ; though here the waratah, in varied stages, is shown by a skilled hand ; the colouring, too, is very good. Miss Combes shows that her father's talent has been handed down ; and in two pictures. ' The Culvert by the Acacias' and 'Winter in the Bois de Boulogne,' displays considerable skill in reproducing characteristic scenes. Miss Flora Ross sends three oils, (205) ' Wallflowers ' the best though the 'Daisies' are good. Hiss I Truss (209) sends a nicely -painted screen. Although in flowers the women artists have almost a monopoly, they give good proof of skill in wider fields, and they form a very valuable section of our artistic community. ART. (1891, September 19). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 638. Retrieved from 

Constance Roth was a British-born artist, teacher and designer who came to Sydney in 1885 after arriving in Melbourne in 1884. She was significant in promoting the ideals of the British Aesthetic Movement, which sought to elevate the idea of beauty and to create artistically enhanced domestic environments.

Although Roth exhibited prolifically in Sydney, 'Apples' is one of her few extant works. It reveals the Aesthetic Movement’s crossover between painting and ornamental design that was central to Roth’s work. With its condensed and decorative composition, 'Apples' suggests the influence of Japanese art and manifests the 'arts for art’s sake' creed that underpinned Aesthetic practices.

Madame Constance Roth.
It is a matter for regret that we do not see more of the work of artists of the other colonies, but owing to the duty which is imposed on pictures and works of art, the Victorian Artists' Society have found it impossible to make any arrangements for the inclusion— at their exhibitions—of work by intercolonial artists. One of the leading artists of Sydney, Madame Constance Roth, has, however, exhibited in Melbourne on several occasions, when her work has always received a good deal of flattering attention from both Press and public. Madame Constance Roth (nee Jones) is the niece of the popular and highly respected Dr. Cutts, of Melbourne, that gentleman being her mother's brother. Miss Constance Jones was born on May 14, 1864, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, where her father, Dr. Jones, was well-known as a physician of no mean skill. As a child Miss-Jones received her education at home, the intervals between spelling books and grammars being filled in with practical lessons on cookery, all of which were equally obnoxious to the little girl, who would much rather have spent her time in drawing wild pictures on the floor of the kitchen with a piece of cinder if it had not been for the inevitable result of being afterwards compelled to clean the floor. This rather curious process of education came to an end as the girl advanced into womanhood, and as it was found impracticable to do anything with Miss Constance beyond giving her painting and drawing proclivities full play, her parents very properly sent her to the Derby branch of the South Kensington School of Art, where she received a thorough grounding. 

Subsequently she worked for a time at Heatherley's life class in Newman-street, London, and later on entered the class for the study of the antique at the British Museum, so acquiring a good steady art training. Having to make her own way in the world, Miss Jones soon established herself as a teacher but owing to her marriage, in 1881, art was for a time abandoned, the lady journeying with her husband to Australia. For a time she thought of remaining in Melbourne, but Sydney offering a stronger inducement Madame Both settled there, speedily becoming known as an artist and teacher of great ability. At present her teaching connection is one of the largest in Sydney while her excellent reputation as au artist, both with her fellow-workers and with the public, is well-known. The Victorian Artists' Society pay her the compliment of wishing she was working is Melbourne. Some time back the Sydney Illustrated News published a biographical memoir of the lady (with portrait), at the same time mentioning her best pictures. 

Right Madame Roth at 23 Orwell Street, Darlinghurst, 1886 - photo courtesy Yale University Art Gallery.

Madame Roth is especially fond of pen-and-ink work, book illustrations, and delights in painting Australian birds and animals. At present she is engaged in working up a number of Tasmanian studies from sketches made last Christmas, and for which she has already received several commissions. The improvements which Madame Both has recently made in her studio at 60 Elizabeth-street, Sydney, has had the effect of rendering it the most artistic work in that city. The studio consists of two large rooms, connected with each by an arched doorway, from which depend heavy curtains of olive green velvet bordered with broad strips of Indian embroidery. The walls are in a shade of Indian red, with the doors and wood work, olive green, and painted by the lady herself. The first room is for the reception of visitors; the second, the actual working room of the artist. In this latter, one corner is taken up with a divan, piled up with cushions of all shades of colours, while a number of picturesque lounges, backed by folding screens hung with Oriental draperies, break all the hard outlines. Unfortunately, for the energetic artist, the furnishing of the studio is a decidedly spasmodic affair, as every now and then, comes that familiar but unpleasant experience (to artists)—of being what the brush and palette fraternity in Sydney—denominate as " stone-brokey." Consequently when this period arrives, Madame Roth has to sit down and wait for more funds. For quite a considerable time all the studio possessed, apart from the decorations, was a magnificent Eastern carpet—and nothing more— the lady having wasted all her available substance upon it. Then came a costly Japanese vase, picked up as a bargain ; a carved ebony cabinet, and a gold-embroidered Koran cloth, after which ruin again stared the artist in the face until another quarter commenced and the fees came pouring in, only to be dissipated on genuine Oriental cloths and hangings, for Madame Roth is a connoisseur, in all matters that relate to art. But the comforting proverb of a everything coming to those who wait, has proved true in her case and the period of waiting and watching being over, Madame Roth’s studio, is now one of the finest in Sydney. Madame Constance Roth. (1890, July 11).Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939), p. 5. Retrieved from 

Please note these wonderfully artistic door panels were very very popular - the collator of this page remembers them from childhood, installed as doors on one of the properties of a family farm. You may also see such wonders, still, in some of the historic homes during open days. 

They may remind some of the beautiful decorative Art of Margaret Preston, who began her career under William Lister Lister. This wonderful Australian lady painter and printmaker, is regarded as one of Australia's leading modernists of the early 20th century. In her quest to foster an Australian "national art", she was also one of the first non-Indigenous Australian artists to use Aboriginal motifs in her work.

One Constance Roth's Narrabeen picture:

Old Narrabeen by Madame Roth -1891 - EXHIBITION OF EARLY PAINTINGS BY AUSTRALIAN' ARTISTS AT HORDERNS' GALLERY. (1925, December 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from

Our Sydney Artists
FROM Bohemia to Philistia ! 'Tis a far cry and a weary ; yet if there were not some hearts stout enough to take up its burden, where would be the artistic chances of the Philistine race, more especially that portion of it which favours the Antipodes ? When Mr. Jillian Ashton was busily wielding his brush in that paradise of Bohemia, a Parisian studio, sharing hopes, plans, aspirations with his happy-go-lucky brethren of the palette, while the great masters of the hour sauntered in to offer advice and suggestion, he probably had no prophetic vision of himself as vice-president of an Australian Art Society, waving the art flag over a Sydney slough of despond. But it is these men, with old-world memories of artistic labour and artistic joy, who infuse hope and courage into the young Australian whose sensitive eye and poetic instinct require the invigorating influence of an artistic atmosphere for complete development. Mr. Ashton's earliest experiences were not in Paris, a course of study at South Kensington having prepared him for the independent studio life which he started with some congenial spirits in the French capital. The results of his student life showed themselves for four or five years on the walls of the London Academy. Then, five years ago, came that voyage to Australia, which was to place him in the vanguard of the little band who are planting art's standard on a young continent. Mr. Ashton has now been three years president of .the Sydney Art Society, and apart from the invaluable help and encouragement he has given to younger men, he has worked indefatigably and exhibited numerous pictures. His method is too well known for any further' allusion to be necessary; but those who wish to refresh their memories on the subject have only to wander into the Sydney Art Gallery, where many of his works hang as the property of the nation.

Mr. B. E. Minns, whose work as an illustrator is well known to readers of this journal, is one of our young Sydney artists whose future is all before him, but who has already given earnest of the work which is required to build up the Australian Art of the future. Sydney born, and Sydney educated, Mr. Minns has a distinct claim on the interest of the Sydney public. His first training was at the Technical College, under the influence of Mr. Raley and Monsieur Henry. At the end of a year he passed into the Life Class of the Art Society, and has contributed to their exhibitions for the last four years, his earliest exhibit being a simple study of a cat's head, which attracted favourable notice at the time. He contributed four works to the last Exhibition, and is energetic as. an illustrator, having worked on the Sydney Mail as well as on the ILLUSTRATED NEWS. In this paper his' late illustration to Henry Lawson's poem, ' The Old Stone Chimney' attracted special notice by its picturesque detail and vigorous execution.
Signor Steffani is one of our public men who worship at the shrine of two sister arts. A student at South Kensington, and devoted to the brush, he simultaneously developed a gift of song, and a tempting offer led him to Italy and to stage life. After some experience as an opera singer he came out to Australia, ten years ago, in Lazar's Italian Opera Troupe, but left the stage some three years later and devoted himself permanently to his favourite art. Signor Steffani still trains singing pupils, but his chief time and energy are spent with the brush. He is keenly alive to the peculiarities and atmospheric attractions of Australian scenery, and for the last four years he has been an energetic exhibitor on the Art Society's walls.
Madame Roth, whose poetic delicate work has so often charmed us on the walls of the Art Society's Exhibition, hails, like so many of our artists, from the old home, and brings the influence of South Kensington to bear on the 'land of the sun and the red, red gold.' This young and rising artist was trained at the Derby branch of the South Kensington School, afterwards completing her. studies at a London studio, from whence, young as she was, she drifted into the

responsible post of manager of a Glasgow decorative firm. This work was peculiarly congenial to an artist who has the womanly attribute of loving to beautify and poetise home surroundings, and in Glasgow, she found an outlet for that graceful talent of adorning panel, wall, and mantel, of which she has given us so many samples. Five years ago the art decorator came to Australia, meaning to settle in Brisbane, but Sydney offered a more promising field, and, enrolling herself at once as a member of the Art Society, she contributed regularly to its exhibitions, showing her skill both in oil and water colour. She was also a prominent exhibitor at the 'Women's Industries.' Madame Roth excels in devising quaint and fanciful subjects for decoration. Cacti; kingfisher, sprite, and fruit-blossom mingle on her panels ; and, in this country, where the woman's work question is more chaotic than in Europe, it is surely well to find a talented female hand devoting itself to a form of art which is peculiarly associated with feminine tastes and home life.
Mr. Atkinson, a young artist of vivid imagination, with a brilliant future before him, has wandered to us from under the shadow of Antwerp Cathedral, where he drank in the surrounding atmosphere of artistic romance while studying at the Académie Royale under Charles Verlat. Previous to this he had begun art life as an articled pupil in England, and his Belgian course of study over, he returned to the native country only to find Iiis health give way. Climatic reasons drove him to New Zealand, probably the best thing that could have happened to him ; for, in a new atmosphere, amid new scenery, he found scope for his fertile fancy, and learned to treat the novelties of Maoriland with sympathetic and original touch : witness, for instance, his Maori child princess, her olive skin, mauve dress and green jade 'tiki' forming a delicate scheme of colour with the yellow matting on which she rests, while the characteristics of her people are dimly traceable in the tiny face. Sympathetic colouring is Mr. Atkinson's strong point, and his sketches, taken in the King Country, reproduce vividly the

brilliant atmospheric effects of New Zealand scenery, with its glowing foregrounds and its mauve hills which take their luxe from masses of reddish fern. The artist spent three years amid these surroundings, teaching, studying, and contributing to the Auckland Gallery, while one of his paintings has been, bought for our Art Gallery. He also contributed extensively to the excellent illustrations of the ' Picturesque Atlas.' After a sojourn of ten months in Sydney he returned to New Zealand, principally to find subjects for a book which will, for the first time, introduce English children to Maori legend, and to the birds and beasts of Maoriland. In the illustrations to this tale of ' A Southern Cross’ Mr. Atkinson has given full play to delicate fancy and finished execution, and we prophesy for the work such a welcome as English children seldom give to aught hailing from the Antipodes.

Lotos eating in the Fiji Islands ! Could anything be more conducive to the growth of artistic dreaming and its natural result-artistic perception? This was the training that fell to the lot of that luckiest of children, yclept Percy Fred. Seaton Spence. Small wonder if, under the shadow of the palm and the bread-fruit tree, he developed a precocious talent which now makes him one of our most promising young artists.

But there was an inheritance of artistic stuff in the lad. He was nephew to a certain Andrew Turnbull, whose picture of 'The Burial of Harold ' gained the third prize at the Westminster Hall Exhibition in 1848, and so it was not solely thanks to the tropical ferns and palms that, in 1880, little Master Spence, having reached the mature age of twelve, executed a water-colour commission for Sir William Des Voux, the then Governor of Fiji. From four to sixteen the years went by in tropical day-dreaming, and then came prose, in the shape of employment at the Suva General Post Office, a matter of congratulation to certain wise friends and neighbours, one of whom advised the young clerk to give up 'silly drawing now that he had a career before him’. The advice does not seem to have been duly valued, and we hear next of temporary employment as second draughtsman in the Government Survey Office, a post which was shortly abolished for lack of Government funds. In 1887 came migration to Sydney, the artist's birthplace, and work in John Sand's office, where we hear of unremitting kindness and encouragement. Very cheering also was the sympathetic help of Mr. Julian Ashton. Amid these genial influences Mr.

Spence plucked up courage to start a studio of his own, and since then he has never been out of work, his first sketches appearing in THE ILLUSTRATED SYDNEY NEWS, and other, contributions being sent in at frequent intervals to the Centennial and Town and Country.  Our young artist has executed two commissions for Lord Carrington, and his-picture in the last exhibition of the Art Society sold for a considerable sum. Of the poetic dreamy nature of his sketches, and the promise of future things they convey, readers of THE ILLUSTRATED do not need to be told. OUR SYDNEY ARTISTS. (1889, November 14). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 23. Retrieved from 

The Spring Show of the Art Society terminated on Saturday evening, 20th October, with a Smoke Night, which was well attended by members and their friends. The Hon. J. Inglis, Minister of Education, assisted at the proceedings, and several gentlemen contributed songs and recitations; an enjoyable evening being passed. During the time the exhibition was open, it was visited by about 5000 people : not quite as many as gave their patronage to the Baby Show, but de gustibus non est disputandem, and it would appear that at any rate to a great many people in Sydney, infantile human nature in unlimited quantities is more attractive than art.
The National Art Gallery was closed to the public during the last week in October to admit of the walls being painted and the pictures rearranged: Habitues of the Gallery will be somewhat bewildered on their next visit to find that a sort of game of general post has been going on among the pictures, and that most of their old favourites are in different places. ' The Anatomy Lesson ' and ' The Sons of Clovis ' have reversed their relative positions ; ' The Triumph of Spring' now hangs opposite Long's 'Dorcas Meeting' in the place formerly occupied by Leighton's ' Wedded,' which is now on the eastern wall. ' Desolation ' has also been moved to the same side, and the ' Peter Graham,' having had its glass removed and been transferred to the main hall, shows to far better advantage than it did in its old place.
The five pictures purchased by the trustees at the Art Society's Exhibition have all been hung at the end of the black and white room prior to 9 their removal to the hall set apart for works by 9 colonial artists. 
The latest addition to the gallery is a charming little oil painting which hangs under the 'Dorcas Meeting’ having for neighbours Keeley Holswelle's ' Walk near Oxford ' and ' A Farm in Kent'.
This little picture, which represents two young ladies, one in a white ball-dress, the other in a tea-gown, with a skirt of pale blue satin, robe of brownish yellow plush and loose front of lace, m seated at a writing-table, possesses all the merits Ï without the defects of the modern French school. There is a thoroughly Parisian air about the 

room, with its pink Japanese wall-paper, its book-shelves with the grotesque Japanese curios, on the toiJ, and the handsome portière looped back so as to show a couch in the alcove of the inner room. The colouring, though bright, is harmonious throughout, and if our sympathies are not specially appealed to by either of the faces, yet they are both cheerful and attractive, and the French artist is not, as a rule, anxious so much to tell a tale in his picture as to represent a bit of life in a natural manner. 
A short time back we remarked on Miss Edith Walker's generous gift of a picture by Edwin Long to our National Gallery, we have now much pleasure in recording a presentation just made to the trustees by Mr. E. J. Parrot, who, on his return to the colony after an absence of six years, fresh from visiting the chief picture galleries of Europe, has been so much impressed with the progress of our national collection, that by way of testifying his appreciation, he has presented to the trustees a remarkably fine bronze head of a Mameluke, admirable in modelling and execution, by Giesecke of Munich, and a Carrara marble bust, entitled ' Pensiero,' by Monsini of Milan- original works purchased by Mr. Parrot direct from the artists.
It is pleasant to note the disposition evinced of late by a few of our wealthy colonists to devote some of the riches acquired in the colonies to conferring pleasure' on the thousands of their fellow-citizens who visit our gallery by their presentations, instead of devoting it entirely to ephemeral social amusements. 

Mr. Coventry Patmore, better known as a poet than an art critic, has recently published, under the title of Principle in Art, a series of essays which appeared in one of the London reviews. The essays deal with subjects interesting not only to artists but to art lovers in general. ART NOTES. (1889, November 14).Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 23. Retrieved from 

Miss Ethel A. Stephens.

Mr. Ethel Stephens, who portrait we give in this issue, is the first lady member of the Council of the Art Society of New South Wales, and, therefore, occupies a somewhat irksome position, the duties of which she very ably performs. There are so many lady artists belonging to the Art Society that they require a trusty representative to look after their interests, and the artists have borne the innovation in a most friendly spirit. Miss Stephens shows decided ability as an artist, and has done some good work in the present exhibition. Madame Roth's dainty studio is now occupied by Miss Stephens, who will probably make it as pleasant a resort as it ever has been. Miss Ethel A. Stephens, (1892, September 17). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 31. Retrieved from 

There are a lot more lady Artists of course, many residents of Pittwater - more on them in the next Pittwater Art page on 'People'- one for example:


ESME FARMER, of Mona Vale, who studied in Sydney with Fred Leist, and at various art schools and galleries abroad, will hold her first exhibition of pictures at the Macquarie Galleries. The exhibition will be opened by Miss Jeanie Ranken next Wednesday. Mrs. Farmer is the wife of F. Rhodes Farmer, who published his first novel, "Thirsty Earth," a few years ago; they have a three-year-old son, Bill. TO HOLD HER FIRST ART EXHIBITION. (1940, January 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 17. Retrieved from 

 Finalist in Wynne Prize 1941 - Esme Farmer: Title Old Bakehouse, Mona Vale

Mrs. Farmer's Exhibition.
Among all the centres of population along the coastal road to Palm Beach, Mona Vale has been least spoiled by tourists. Half a mile from the beach are rows of tiny, picturesque farms, inhabited by simple rural people.
In her exhibition at the Macquarie Galleries, Esme Farmer has depicted the Mona Vale district with singular directness. Her style is as fresh and unsophisticated as the scenery. She joys in the growth of trees and vines and bushes, and she communicates that enthusiasm to the beholder.
Yet, although Mrs. Farmer places her colours and forms on canvas with such youthful liveliness, she has a solid record of academic study behind her. She won the figure painting competition at the Technical College, and, having gone to London, continued her researches at the Royal College, South Kensington, and at the St. John's Wood Art, School. The exhibition will be opened this afternoon by Miss Jeanie Ranken.
MONA VALE SCENES. (1940, January 10).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 9. Retrieved from 

A Shift In Tides: Into The Surf We Go Whenever We Want To - Swim Where You Like!

Pittwater's connection to Manly began prior to rough tracks wending north and Artists using these byways to reach here. Connected still through the many resident Artists the Manly Art Gallery & Museum hosts annually, it was at Manly that recording people enjoying being in the surf any time they felt like it was established and led to iconic images that have become part of the Australian psyche - Dupain's 'The Sunbaker' not least among these.

This shift came prior to the commencement of the Summer of 1903:

There was a time when  the proceedings of the Manly council were what may be described as decidedly "lively," but all that has been changed, and the business of the marine borough is now transacted in a manner which reflects much credit upon the Mayor and aldermen. The usual fortnightly meeting of the council last evening proved no exception to what has come to be regarded as the rule, and the small amount of business which came before the ratepayers representatives was quickly disposed of. 

The Mayor (Alderman Quirk) presided, and there were also present Aldermen Passau, Carroll, Walker, Russell, A. Ogilvy, D. S. Ogilvy, Dargan, and Meyer. 

The only matter, of any Importance before the council was a motion by the Mayor, In the following terms:— That it be referred to the by law committee the desirability of having the bylaw relating to bathing on the ocean beach repealed, and the following one substituted:-
"It shall be lawful for all persons, whether male or female, to bathe In the sea at all times and at all hours of the day at those portions of the sea beach within the municipality of Manly, duly, set apart for such bathing, provided such persons. desirous of bathing, being male or female, shall be clothed or covered from the neck and shoulders, to the knees with a suitable bathing dress or costume; and all children above the age of 8 years, male or female; shall be so clothed to prevent exposure or Indecency; such clothing or covering shall be approved of by the council or other persons appointed, as caretaker or caretakers. Any person Infringing the provisions of the bylaw shall be liable on conviction to a penalty not exceeding £1, and not less than 5s.
During a short discussion Alderman. A. Ogilvy suggested that buoys connected with chains should be put In position off the beach, in order to prevent loss of life. 
The Mayor pointed out that the council should first see its way clear to some return for what would be a heavy expense, especially as the facilities for bathing were largely enjoyed by visitors from Sydney and other Suburbs. 
The motion was carried. MANLY COUNCIL (1903, November 3 - Tuesday).The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 7. Retrieved from
"The only house in Manly in 1848' - image No.: a1572012h, courtesy State Library of NSW - from Album: 'Colonial sketches: an album of views of Sydney and NSW / E. West, F. Terry, Conrad Martens et. al.'

Nature and Art—Christmas at Manly Beach, near Sydney. (1886, December 18). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 21. Retrieved from - We suggest you visit this link and get the full page view of this etching.
The holiday season on Manly Beach 

Photograph by Sydney Mail Photographer. No title (1906, January 3). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 32. Retrieved from

Shooting the breakers at Manly Beach, Sydney 4 August 1906 Newspaper illustration

Surf -Bathing - Shooting the breakers' by Percy Spence. Australia, print 1910

How many stories have we run so far on the 'first person' to do this - more than two! And how can he be 'first' if he learnt this from a gentleman who was already doing this at Manly - an insight into how people thought and what papers ran as 'truth' follows (that last sentence saves them!);

The number of people' in and around Sydney, who have acquired the knack of riding on the waves, . must surely now run into , many thousands. Every year that passes, adds scores more to the list, and it is not unreasonable to think that before long, the man who cannot 'shoot', j will be as much the object of ridicule amongst liit friends, as the one who is unable to swim. ' To become proficient in the graceful art of shooting, the breakers is the envy, if not the ambition, of every person who enters the' surf. Those who have been fortunate enough to experience the exhilaration, the pleasure, the fun, and the absolute joy of being picked up by a foaming billow, and carried with a reckless, abandoned rush shorewards, enthusiastically acclaim it to be one of the most delightful sensations imaginable, it might even better be described as 'an acute accentuation of supremest erstasy.' ' . - ' A. good deal of controversy has been going on lately in the swimming world as to how the now famous 'crawl' stroke originated, and who was responsible for its introduction here-; but not the least, doubt, exists as to how we came to be initiated into that phase of surf-bathing, which makes it the fascinating pastime it is today, namely, the art of maintaining one's body on the top of the wave as it bounds along. The general public have not had many opportunities' of becoming acquainted with the facts of the case, although no* doubt many of our 'shooters' have often discussed it' amongst themselves, ' after spending a good day in the breakers, and paid a tribute to the man who started the idea, but of whose, name they -were unfamiliar, and whose existence they knew no-thing of. A 'Sunday Times', representative, therefore, discovered the whereabouts of Mr. F. C. Williams, who was THE FIRST WHITE MAN TO UNRAVEL THE SECRET and demonstrate it to others here. In reply to a request for a little information on the subject, Mr. Williams related the following interesting story. 

"My people first took up their residence in Manly some 25 years ago. Shortly after, I developed the habit of going for a dip in the breakers every morning, along with my brothers, at the south end of the beach. I need hardly add that things were very much different then to what they are to-day. On arriving at the beach one morning, about five years after we first started, I was surprised to discover a South Sea Island native disporting himself in the water. As there were never more than one or two of us about at a time in those days, he was naturally an object of great curiosity to us, and I, in particular, was fascinated with his movements, and watched him intently. "He waded out, I remember, up to about his waist, and then to my amazement, threw himself onto a wave and was brought ashore. Of course, we had never heard or dreamt of a man shooting the breakers at the time, and it caused quite a flutter in our little dovecote. However, I was always of a curious turn of mind, and a few minutes later found myself trying to imitate his actions. I did exactly as he did, only he went on, and I always left behind. "I could not understand it at all. However, this native I refer to, was in the employ of a Mrs. Moore, who resided in Darley-road, and he continued to put in an appearance every morning, about the same time I did. You can imagine how anxiously I awaited his coming especially after I had chummed up with him, and had got him to show me the way he held his body etc. And so things went on, until one morning I hit on the secret underlying the whole mystery, that is to say, I happened to "time" my movements correctly, and the rest was plain sailing. 

I WAS QUITE STARTLED BY THE SENSATION of being propelled along, as it were, by an in-visible hand, when I succeeded, in riding my first wave." Was there anything peculiar about the method adopted by this particular native? queried the interviewer. "No," said Mr. Williams. "He kept his hands alongside his body, drew his shoulders up, lowered his head, and used his legs in the way that we now call the crawl kick. He never tackled the big waves like we do nowadays, but confined his attention to those inshore." I suppose after you had learnt how to manipulate the breakers like the "darkie," you did not forget to let your school-mates know about it ? suggested our representative. "No, you bet, I didn't. I was as proud as 'Punch.' They were not to be outdone, and first one and then another picked up the knack. After all, it's very simple. "As bathing was not permitted after 7.30 a.m. on the beach, we made a practise of going over to Freshwater, where we could indulge in our new-found amusement to our heart's content. Of course, there were few or no houses there, then, and it had a wild appearance." Can you recall any of your old chums, Mr. Williams? "Rather. I remember as well as possible. There was old Frank Row, Alan Moore, the two Hayes boys, and the late 'Bob' Hawkes. They were great enthusiasts, and equally keen as myself. We used to get up competitions amongst our little party to see who could 'shoot' the furthest up the beach.' And with what result? 'Oh,' said Mr. Williams. 'You sae; I was always on the 'fine' side, and anyone built that way has a big advantage over a heavier person when it comes to 'shooting,' consequently I could keep going the longest.' How do you think our' best exponents compare with the natives in the,. surf ? Mr. Williams was asked. 'Well, you see, I have never been to the Islands or any place where they actually live, but- judging according to what I have, seen of the men who have paid a visit to Sydney, a.t ono time or another, I certainly think we have made a big improvement on their stylo. As a li'.le a native does not bother himself much, and goes about things In a more or less lazy fashion, whereas we have always been striving to pro 'one better,' and . . 

HAVE REALLY DEVELOPED IT INTO A FINE ART.' In. what other ways did the state of affairs existing in the old days differ from what they are now ? . 'In the first place, we were only obliged to wear V-trunks. The only dressing accommodation available was the old shed that stood in the corner near the rocks. It has recently been enlarged and handed over to the Manly Life-saving Club. It was fitted up with a couple of heavy ship's lifebuoys, with a roll of thick Manilla rope attached. When the bathers became more numerous and a person got into difficulties, and there was no good swimmer about to render assistance they used to form a chain by holding hands. Many .rescues were effected by this means.' Were you ever associated with any. fatalities in those days ? 'Yes ; I arrived on the scene after two people had disappeared once, and had the melancholy satisfaction of assisting to recover their bodies. They had been in the water too long, unfortunately, and we failed to rescusitate them after spending some hours in trying to do so. The Sylvester method was the one then In vogue. By the bye, we always had a superstitious dread of the corner of the beach in the early days, as on a memorable occasion a man sunk, and another South Sea Island native went in after him, but neither of them was ever seen-again — dead or alive. We held the belief that a subterranean passage CONNECTED THE HARBOR AND OCEAN  BEACHES.' and that, at times, it Caused a regular whirlpool which was liable to suck a person under.' 

In conclusion, Mr. Williams mentioned that it was not until the year 1902 that the right to surf bathe all day was won for the people. It rapidly advanced in popularity, but the knack of shooting the waves did not become generally known until season 1905-6. The illustrated papers about this time gave it much prominence, and the cult spread like wildfire to all the benches along the coast. Mr. Williams, who is 39 years of age, the subject of this sketch, was secretary of the old Manly Club for many years, and latterly took up similar duties in connection with the famous East Sydney Club. He is a popular and familiar figure still at all gatherings of a natatorial character.
MR. FRED. WILLIAMS, of Manly, who was the first man in Sydney to acquire the art of breaker shooting. THE FIRST MAN TO "SHOOT" THE BREAKERS. (1913, February 2). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 15. Retrieved from 

Sixty-six days out from Yokohama, and within a mile and a half of her destination, the French barque Vincennes was blown ashore at Manly Beach, Sydney, in the easterly gale on the night of May 24. She now lies almost high and dry on the beach at low tide, within a stone's throw of the sea wall. She appeared to be snug, and was settling down in the sand. There did not seem to be any prospect of the rocket apparatus being required. Nevertheless it was deemed advisable to stand by until daylight. At dead low water one could almost walk to the vessel, and the shouting of the ship's crew was distinctly audible on the shore. As a matter of fact, there was less than 4ft. of water at the deepest part between the shore and the Vincennes, but a very strong eddy was running. Comfortable quarters were offered the sailors ashore, but they declined, and preferred to return to the vessel. The remarkable spectacle of a brass band in the height of a violent storm playing a variety of airs on the open beach for the entertainment of the men on the stranded vessel was witnessed at about half-past 12 on Friday morning by a large gathering, which had assembled. Members of the Town Band on their way home from a local concert heard of the shipping disaster, and at once proceeded to the scene. When they learned that the vessel was in no immediate danger, and was so close in to the beach that conversation could be carried on between the vessel and the shore, it occurred to the bandmaster that it might cheer the shipwrecked mariners mariners if they heard some their national airs. An acetylene lamp was secured, and, under shelter of umbrellas held by willing hands, members of the band played "The Marseillaise." The performance was lustily cheered from the Vincennes, and was encored three or four times. Subsequently, for the benefit of a couple of Englishmen among the crew, the band played "Home, Sweet Home" and "Auld Lang Syne."
Some excitement was caused when the health officer, Dr. Reid, made his appearance on the beach, and requested that a boat should be sent ashore, so that he might get on board to examine the crew. Three of the crew got on board a boat to come ashore, but she got on top of a roller and turned broadwise, and eventually went over. The three men were thrown into the water, and they struck out for the ship. Two of them reached a rope ladder, which was lowered for their use, but the third man became exhausted. A young man, named Arthur Rosenthall, dived in after him, and a line was also thrown from the ship. Rosenthall took the man over to the line, and they were both hauled on board, amid the cheers of spectators. Dr. Reid, finding it a useless experiment, returned to Sydney.
The vessel is well up on the beach. Although her port anchor is out, she gradually worked her way in throughout the day, and at nightfall was considerably closer inshore than early in the morning. At low tide, about 2 o'clock, it was possible to walk out to within 3ft. of the barque.
A member of the crew said that at 8 o'clock the lights of Sydney were first seen. At that time the vessel appeared to be on her proper course. Everything seemed to be going well until half-past 9, when the captain called all hands on deck. An order was then given to drop anchor, and a few minutes later the ship swung round, and her stern struck the beach. It was raining heavily at the time, and it was very dark. All efforts were made to get the vessel out of her dangerous position, but without success, and at a quarter past 10 distress signals were made, until someone appeared on the beach waving a lantern. The crew were nonplussed, and did not know where they were, or as he said, "We didn't know whether we were at North Shore, Balmain. or Watson's Bay." From a statement made by another of the crew, it would appear that the mishap was caused by a red lamp on the shore, which was taken by those in charge to be one of the harbour lights. The captain refuses to say anything on the matter. WRECK OF THE VINCENNES. (1906, June 2). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 27. Retrieved, from 



HOLIDAY EXCURSIONS. (1906, December 15). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 27. Retrieved from 

Drawn by Percy F. S. Spence. AT MANLY BEACH: (1909, March 31). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 33. Retrieved from 

Surf-bathing - girls' life-saving team' by Percy Spence. Australia beach, 1910
CAPTION PRINTED BELOW PICTURE: 'Surf-Bathing-Girls' Life-Saving team at Practice'
Antique colour print from a watercolour painting - Published by Adam and Charles Black, London

Fancy Dress Procession.
The Manly surf carnival yesterday drew an enormous crowd to the village by the sea. A fine, warm day smiled on the proceedings, and surf conditions were good. The southern end of the ocean beach was thronged by holiday-makers, and on the hill overlooking the scene were several thousand persons, clustering on the various points off vantage. 

The proceedings began with a procession, the feature of which was a display supposed to show the arrival of Lieutenant Shackleton and party at the South Pole.'The Amateur Fishermen's Association had a good display, and a good setting was provided in the "Early Settlers' Camp" and the "Surf banner," upheld by a girl in flowing robes, who was surrounded by lusty children in bathing dress. On the banner read, "Health greets the surfer." The local fire brigade appeared in their turn-out, and the various competing surf clubs in costume, with the residents of Manly, in motor-cars and carriages, made up a really interesting procession. 

The procession over, the surf competitions and displays were begun. 

The results were as follow— Alarm Reel Race. — First heat, Thirroul; second heat, Manly; third heat, North Steyne; fourth heat, Maroubra. . Final: Manly, 1; North Steyne, 2; Merubra, 3. Wheelbarrow Race.— Brown and Johnson (Coogee). Surf Race (five competitors).— Cecil Healy, L. Solomons, S. M'Kelvey, T. S. Smith, and l A. Wright. Result:— Cecil Healy jumped in, and was followed by Smith, and then came Solomons. Smith put in a fine effort, and just missed a shoot that might have taken him to victory. It was the only chance. 
Rescue and Resuscitation Competition.— Bondi, 1; North Steyne, 2; Coogee, 3. Cock-fighting.— A. T. Browne and C. Mondel (Coogee). Inter-club race and Resuscitation Competition.— Little Coogee, 1 ; Manly No. 1, 2; North Steyne, 3. 

During the afternoon a fine exhibition of life-saving was given by the following team of ladies:— Patient, Miss Aggie Sly; support, Miss Dorothea Cracktanthorp ; belt, Miss Dot Wessberg; 1st line, Miss Amy Cox; 2nd line, Miss Joyce Wessberg; 3rd line, Miss Flora Glen; reel, Miss Nellie Kuhl; nurses, Nurse Alice Glen and Nurse Jessie Sly

In the surf-shooting R. M'Kelvey made some beautiful runs, but had a board. J. Holland and C. Healy also gave an exceptionally fine exhibition.  The Misses Jessie and Agnes Sly and Miss Lemers were little behind the men in this exhibition. Manned by Stan.. Jones (capt,), A. A. Watson, A. W. Bye, V. Rowlands, and W. A. Kellner the surf boat shot in in the breakers in fine style, and drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd. 

A spectacular feature of the afternoon was a grand display entitled "Arrival of raft with shipwrecked crew, attack by cannibals, and rescue by men-o'-war." It was carried out very successfully, and created considerable amusement. Owing to lack of time many events were dropped, the Iast decision not being given till nearly 7 p.m.  MANLY SURF CARNIVAL. (1910, March 20). The Sunday Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1903 - 1910), p. 1. Retrieved from

Percy Frederick Seaton Spence (14 December 1868 – 3 August 1933) was an Australian artist. Born in Sydney, seventh child of English parents Francis Spence, civil servant, and his wife Hannah, née Turnbull, he spent his youth in Fiji where his father held a government position. Spence became an illustrator to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Illustrated Sydney News and The Bulletin and also exhibited at the Royal Art Society.

In 1893 Spence made two drawings of Robert Louis Stevenson in Sydney; one is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Spence went to England after marrying Jessie Wright 30 January 1894; illustrations by him appeared in Punch, Black and White, the Graphic, and other well-known publications of the time. Spence had two pictures in the Royal Academy exhibition of 1899 and his work was also accepted in the three following years. In 1901 he was responsible for the illustrations to Britain's Austral Empire, mostly portraits of the leading Australian politicians of that period.
In 1905 Spence was back in Sydney and held a one-man show of his work, and in 1910 he provided 75 illustrations for the volume Australia, in Black's colour series. They show Spence to have been an artist of ability and variety. [3.]

The many personal friends and well-wishers of Mr. Percy F. S. Spence will be very pleased to hear of his prompt success in London. Writing from South Kensington. under data July 18, to a friend in this city, Mr. Spence says, "You will, I am sure, ha astonished to hear that although 1 have been in London only seven weeks I have already contributed four drawings to Black and White and a number to the Graphic. I have also received commissions for work in The Golden Penny (a new illustrated), and have sold several drawings to the Daily Graphic. Also chances of permanent work on Black and White are very good. Of course 1 have visited the best picture shows. The Royal Academy, the National Gallery, and Took's and Grace's are simply revelations to me. You will be pleased to hear that in addition to my illustrated periodical work I have painted a portrait of Lady Dorothy Neville, and have been commissioned to paint a picture of the daughter of Lady Jeune." This news points out the strong improbability of Mr. Spence’s reappearance in Australia for some years at least. MR. PERCY SPENCE. (1895, August 23).The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 5. Retrieved from 

After seven years of profitable experience in London Mr. Percy F. S. Spence, the well-known artist, last week returned to Sydney by the steamer Miltiades. His black and white work here, much of which appeared in this journal, was sufficiently meritorious to make a reputation which extended outside of Australia, and he experienced no difficulty in establishing himself in lucrative employment on high art publications in the big city.
The Graphic' and 'Sphere' drawings and book illustrations left little time for colourwork, but despite this he produced successful paintings. He was represented at four of the six Royal Academy exhibitions held whilst he was in London. Twice be had the honour of being placed 'on the line,' the subjects ('The Toilers,' and the 'Cold Blast') in each case dealing with equine life. The severity of climate checked a career of great promise. London winters, with October and November fogs and bitter December and January frosts, dreaded by even the sturdiest of Englishmen, are fatal to many Australians. Mr. Spence longed for his old home, where ordinary clothing sufficed to maintain necessary warmth, and he is now once wore happy and revelling in Australian sunshine. MR. PERCY SPENCE. (1905, March 8).The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 613. Retrieved from 

Mr. Percy. F. S. Spence has an exhibition of pictures in the atelier at Beard, Watson, Ltd.'s. establishment in George-street. There are more than 100 pictures on the wall, and every one is a work of art, which means a lot, for, as a rule, one-man shows are not well balanced. The artist, however, has proved himself a judicious selector, and in including many originals which have been made famous by reproduction, he has wisely catered for the collector as well as those who buy pictures for decorative purposes. In the ranks of decorative art he is not a mere servitor. He is the captain of an advanced guard; but there are few who will not be attracted by the dozen, large canvases on which future generations will look and will see Australia as it was. There are stirring scenes in bush life, in the depicting of which Mr. Spence is a master. One of these is a stampede of cattle. Roused from their slumbers by a storm that casts a pall on one part of the. sky and slashes It with a segment of a rainbow in another, the cattle rush headlong over a low hill, with the stockman helter-skelter on their' flank, with the lash of his whip just about to play on a red-eyed stag turning on the : pursuer. Another typical canvas is the sheep drover, with a large mob of merinos moving along slowly over 'the hill, the old drover on a grey crock well at the rear of the sheep, which' are browsing leisurely, as they .move along, and the dog. mouth open arid tall- extended, over, on the alert.. Further along a pack-horse and another drover. The red road winds over the hills, the grass looked somewhat parched, for the sheep are travelling for new pastures at the foot of the distant hills. These and other works show the artist as a writer of history in pictures. He has not, however, borrowed all his material from Australia for this purpose, for there is a large picture of ships which look like the squadron of Van Tromp when the Dutch ruled on the world's highway. It Is full of life, and shows the artist's great talent as a marine painter. 
There are numerous allegorical subjects, depicted with subtle meaning, charm of treatment, and that soft coloring effect which the artist gets' Into his beautiful portrait types. He certainly does "catch the manners living as they rise," for there are scenes in our parks, on the golf links, on the harbor, at Kosciusko amid the snow, Manly steamers crossing the heads in a storm, Circular Quay at night-lime, the Art Gallery, yacht races, and warships. It is a splendid exhibition by an artist who demonstrates that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. Even when he dreams in color, he does not forget the smallest detail. PERCY SPENCE'S PICTURES. (1913, August 27). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 


We today reproduce a splendid snapshot of Mr. Percy F. S. Spence, the famous artist and golfer, taken on the Manly links. We have all admired Mr. Spence’s pictures, both In the National Art Gallery and elsewhere, and all who have seen and know Mr. Spence himself admire him both as a golfer and a man. He began golf In England by playing two games at Chiswick Golf Club with Mr. S. Begg, the well-known artist of the 'Illustrated London News.' Work and illness, however, prevented his taking his game seriously till his return to Manly early in 1905, when his friends, Mr. Harry Brewer and Mr. E. Duret, induced him to take up the game ; and, living near the old course in Farrcll's Paddock, he became devoted to the Royal and Ancient pastime, and quickly came down from 'the limit' to a 'fair handicap,' a result which was due to his great love of the game and a good deal of practice. 

In 1906 Mr. Spence returned to England, and there Joined the Ealing Golf Club, and won several club competitions, and was runner-up in the Junior George Cup. In 1909 he again returned to Australia, and Joined Royal Sydney and Manly Golf Clubs, and at Manly has won a number of competitions, and, from a handicap of 10, has come down to scratch. His best competition rounds at Manly are three of 73 each, and his best win In inter-club matches was, in the Manly v. Kensington match about two years ago, when he beat the then amateur champion, Eric Apperly, by 3 up and 2. This year, in the Manly Cup, with a field containing Apperly, Howden, Laldley, and other fine players, on a heavy course, Mr. Spence won with a round of 77, or one over bogey, taking, unfortunately, 5 for the 10th hole and 8 for the 14th. We all trust that he will have many more such successes. (A PHOTO OF MR. SPENCE WILL BE FOUND ELSEWHERE.) PERCY F. S. SPENCE, ARTIST, GOLFER, AND A MAN. (1913, October 11). Saturday Referee and the Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1912 - 1916), p. 8. Retrieved from 
A GOLFERS' DINNER. (1914, April 23).The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from 

Mrs. Percy Spence. 
Mrs. Percy Spence, the wife of the well-known artist who came from England recently to place her son at Hawkesbury College, is now linked by her family to three continents. Her daughter in India, Mrs. Norris, is upholding the family traditions, being a most talented artist. Mrs. Norris was a pupil at a Manly Kindergarten, and at a very early age produced pictures which were used to decorate the school walls. 

Mr. Spence, who was engaged during the war as special artist to the firm of Vickers-Maxim. Ltd, the great gunmakers, has now turned his attention to modelling and finds it a fascinating medium after painting. In London Mr. and Mrs. Spence live in Edwards' Square, which is beautifully situated, and has wonderful art associations. In one end of Mr. Spence's studio is a great canvas of Sydney Harbor, and this brings a welcome note of home to the Australian visitor. This picture disappeared for some years after it had been shown at one of the big exhibitions, and was restored to Mr. Spence through a friend seeing it in the home of an art lover to whom it had been sent by mistake, and who had decided to give it house room until the owner appeared. Mrs. Spence is enthusiastic about the prospects of an exhibition of Australian art in London, and considers that such a show, properly managed, should be of great benefit to this country. SOCIETY (1923, February 25). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 22. Retrieved from 

Art in Manly of Statue/Sculpture/Monument  medium that proves 'everyone's a crtitic' - more on that in the next page focus on 'People' too:

A correspondent wrote in the 'Evening News' recently: — Now is the winter of our discontent, especially so in Manly, where the aldermen have lately, by some mischance, become possessed' of strange stonework, miscalled statuary. These have been placed at the entrance to the Village, and along the Corso.
Needless to say that the much-lauded seaside resort bears now more resemblance to a graveyard ^than a popular pleasure-ground, and the mournful appearance of the usual happy visaged residents is something 'more than humorous to see. Of course, the matter of expense cannot be considered where Art is concerned, that is, of course, real Art; but the ratepayers are perplexed to know why money should have to be borrowed, when apparently there is plenty to waste in making a naturally beautiful place appear ridiculous in the eyes of the least artistically inclined. If the councillors would give some serious thought to the welfare of their town there would not be clouds of dust made on Saturday - evenings on the Corso by the road sweepers, nor would the shopkeepers be allowed to use the public streets as cleaning grounds for their mats, or receptacles for the shop sweepings. The trees on the Corso did at one time lend adornment to the place, but they have been so harshly treated that their days are practically numbered, unless great attention is immediately given to their needs by way of freeing the earth in the area surrounding them to treble the space that now exists. They should also receive plenty of watering to help in their recovery.



SPECTRES IN MANLY. (1910, September 9). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 10. Retrieved from 

Manly in 1923 held an exhibition that would lead to the formation of a committee that would bring about the MAG&M - this was an all in community effort, and the hard work of a handful of people (all exhibitions hinge on the hard work of a handful of people), who commenced something we all still hold as one of the best galleries in New South Wales for what it presents and how it goes about doing that:

The new concert pavilion erected on the harbour beach at Manly was declared open by the Mayor of Manly, Alderman Heaton, on Wednesday evening. There were 10,000 people present, the space between the pier and the pavilion being densely crowded. A vaudeville entertainment, arranged by Mr. A. N. Tosseau, the Poster King, was given. The pavilion cost £1000, and promises to be a remunerative Investment for the council. MANLY CONCERT PAVILION. (1922, November 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from 

An exhibition of oils, water colours, and etchings of Manly consisting of 300 pictures, have been placed in a building especially erected for the purpose, near the council chambers. Mr. J. R. Trenerry, of the "Manly Daily " promoted, and Mr. Henry A. Forsyth organised the exhibition, for which 600 exhibits were sent in, and subsequently cut down by one half, in order to keen up a high standard. Judging in oils and water-colours was done by Mr Sydney Ure Smith, Mr. Howard Ashton, Miss Ethel Stephens, Mr. Datillo Rubbo and Mr J. F. Watkins.
In this section the first prize of £50 was awarded to Mr. J.R. Jackson for a painting "Middle Harbour from Manly Heights. " Second prize, £15 went to Mrs. M. W. Sherwood, "The Beach, Deewhy." Mr. A. H. Fullwood secured third prize, £10, for a painting "Manly Beach."
In the section for etching and black and white scenes in the municipality of Manly or the Shire of Warringah, "The Bend of the Road, Pittwater," by J. Barclay Godson, A.R.C.A., secured the first prize of £15. Second prize £6 went to "Fairy Bower, Manly." by Mr. Bruce Robertson Helen Farmer secured third prize, £4, for "Chinese Gardens, Manly Vale"
The judges in this section were Mr E Warner and Mr T. Friedensen.
The exhibition will not be officially opened until next Saturday. ART AT MANLY. (1923, December 17).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved from 


Various schemes of a novel character have been successfully carried out from time to time. The latest was in operation during the holidays. Some of the local 'live wires' organised an art exhibition and offered £100 in prizes. They erected in the park near the centre of the town a special pavilion, of neat design, constructed of fibrous cement, with iron roof. The whole work of construction was carried out in 10 days, evidence in itself of the energy and enthusiasm displayed. Over 600 pictures were sent in, including some of a no-competitive character. A selection committee set up a certain standard, and finally selected 280 of the pictures. These covered the walls of the pavilion and formed a most interesting- art display of oils, water colors, and black and white.

Prominent artists were represented and many of the pictures were specially painted representations of scenes about Manly. Amongst the non-competitive sections was a fine collection, of Norman Lindsay’s works, and other notable artists were worthily represented. The centre of the pavilion was devoted to an attractive display of statuary. These specimens and most of the pictures were for sale and many found purchasers at good prices.. Sixpence was charged for admission, but even if the promoters were not recouped for the whole of the outlay probably they would not worry so long, as their main objective, to advance the interests of Manly itself, was- gained. That is the true public spirit and is worthy of emulations. It may be added that the promoters of the exhibition are looking: ahead. There is a proposal afoot to- erect a new Town Hall on a commodious scale and it is suggested that it should include a permanent art gallerry. The initial exhibition in a temporary building, it was thought,  would furnish some- indication of  the likely future requirements, so far as an art gallery is concerned. CIVIC SPIRIT. (1924, January 4). The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder (NSW : 1913 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from 

A public meeting, held In the Manly Town Hall last night for the purpose of founding an art gallery In Manly appointed a sub-commlttee. Mr. Forsyth. secretary of the Manly Art Exhibition, stated that assistance had been promised by leading citizens. NEWS FROM ALL QUARTERS (1924, February 29). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from 


Mr. Charles Bryant, R.O.I., superintending the hanging of pictures at Manly yesterday for the exhibition valued at £3000, which will be officially opened to-day. PERMANENT ART COLLECTION FOR MANLY. (1930, June 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 18. Retrieved from 


The Chief Justice (Sir Philip Street) on Saturday (June 14th) officially opened the Manly Art Gallery and Historical Collection on the West Esplanade. The scheme was inaugurated in 1924, and the contents of the new building are valued at more than £3000. Many well-known artists are represented in the collection, which includes paintings by Messrs. Will Ashton, Charles. Bryant, Dattilo Rubbo, Syd. Long, Lawson Balfour, Lister-Lister, Fred Leist, Muir Auld, and W. A. Bowring. OPENING OF THE MANLY ART GALLERY. (1930, June 18 -  Wednesday).Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 3. Retrieved from 


Today we illustrate the new Manly Art Gallery, which is situated on the Western Esplanade. Until lately it was used as a concert pavilion, and was controlled by the local Municipal Council, but a committee of residents and members of the council converted the premises into an up-to-date art gallery. The old building was almost demolished. An ornamental front and a picturesque garden setting add to the general appearance. The remodelling scheme was carried out by Mr. J. Porter, builder. A number of leading artists have interested themselves in furnishing the building, and many of them have contributed pictures to hang upon the walls. Mr. H. R. Marriner is the secretary, and Messrs. C. Bryant and Datillo Rubbo, two local artists, lent much assistance to the work.
A one-time concert pavilion at Manly converted into an art gallery. MANLY ART GALLERY. (1930, July 29).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from 

A little more on Sydney Ure Smith - 
Bilgola Headland, Newport, 1921 / Sydney Ure Smith - Image No.: a7065001, courtesy the State Library of NSW
Signed on plate 'S. Ure S., March 1921' and below it in pencil 'Sydney Ure Smith'.

Below plate to right written in pencil: 'It was here that Colonel Oswald Watt met his death. Drawn from Col Watt's seaside residence 'Bilgola' when I was staying a weekend with him - a few months prior to his death'. 

Bilgola, New South Wales, 1921 by Lionel Lindsay
Inscription: "Lionel Lindsay Bilgola No.3 ed. 30."--In pencil below image. Part of: A collection of prints and woodcuts by Lionel Lindsay, 1890-1939.
Also available online, courtesy National Library of Australia
Everyone is familial with Mr. Sydney Ure Smith's delightful pen and ink drawings, particularly those in which he has preserved in pictorial record the rapidly disappearing relics of our past. They have about them a quality suggestive of etehings, and Mr. Ure Smith was right in believing that if he could acquire knowledge of the technique of etching he would be able to express himself in that medium better than in other. He has not served a very long apprenticeship at this mysterious and difficult art, but already the collected reproductions of his work in this genre show that the select hand of Australian etchers has received a remarkably skilful recruit. The delicate line and the mass" effects that etching can produce lend themselves to his characteristic style. Once again the antiquities of Sydney and its environs have been a potent source of inspiration to him Mr Ure Smith levels in the dark and winding alleys, the quaint courtyards, the crumbling cottages, the massive doorways that can still be seen in the Rocks and the home counties by those who know where to look for them. Among the 70 odd plates that form the collection it Is difficult to particularise, but everyone will covet "The Argyle Cut" and the glimpse of the top of King-street with the old Convict Barracks and St James' porch, while there are a number of charming views of Windsor and its river. (Art in Australia ) Mr. URE SMITH'S ETCHINGS. (1921, April 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from 


Vice-President of the Australian Academy of Art, a well-known Sydney artist, who is conducting for the A.B.C. School Broadcasts Department the current series of "Adventures in Art" in the National programme — Sundays, at 3.30 p.m. SYDNEY URE SMITH (1942, April 23).Northern Star(Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

Bruce Robertson is represented by some pictures of trees, whose branches and foliage he has worked up into compositions of the most diverse moods. In "The Road to the Beach, Mona Vale," there is a stirring turbulence of line; in "The Ocean Fringe, Narrabeen," a placid, scattered effect; while In "Australian 'Sunrise" three gnarled, blasted boles stand out bleakly against the radiant sky.  PAINTER-ETCHERS' SOCIETY. (1926, December 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

Annual Exhibition. 
This year's exhibition by the Australian Painter-Etchers' Society, which opens to-day at the Blaxland Galleries, contains a great deal of interesting work. Most of the pictures have been supplied by local artists; but there are also some etchings by noted artists from overseas, such as Fred Burridge, RE., Malcolm Osborne, R.E., A.R.A., and Sir Frank Short, R.A., P.RJS. 

The president of the society, Mr. Sydney Long, has contributed a particularly attractive group. "St. Stephen's, Camperdown." takes first place among the line etchings, on account of the strength, the poise, and the majestic serenity that pervade it. The depth of the shadow contrasts gives the beautiful old building an impressive feeling of ponderousness and perspective. Two charming aquatints are "Street Scene, Alexandria," and "The Old Boatshed, Narrabeen." Both are in semi-silhouette, and both show such a ' masterly gradation of tones, such a richly complex building-up of design, that their monochrome almost gives the effect of colour. In "The Old Boatshed" one finds an admirable combination of decision and romantic fancy.

Narrabeen Lake - undated post 1928 – Sydney Long

Narrabeen landscape - undated post 1928 - Sydney Long

"Study of Trees, Narrabeen," blends together exquisitely the poetic vagueness of wash and the crisp delicacy of chalk drawing. "The Camp, Avoca," a soft ground, gives a splendid effect of confidence in the execution. Its play of light and shadow, though subtle, is never laboured. 

The virile sense of design manifest in Mr. Long's work shows out strongly again in the etchings of Malcolm Osborne. "Chenon Castle" balances, by the restraint and repose of long horizontal lines in the foreground, the swarming luxuriance of detail in the panorama afar off. "City Walls, Avignon," displays a similar harmony between upright and horizontal line, and "Wayside Tale, Dieppe." weaves its details into a pattern much more complicated, but still agreeably definite. "Nathaniel Sparks" Is a portrait full of character and vitality.

Typical of Sir Frank Short's style is "An April Day in Kent," free and sweeping in every line, and conveying with the utmost fidelity the atmospheric effects produced by capricious weather.

Among the rest of the work, apart from that of Mr. Long, one of the most stimulating groups is that contributed by David Barker. He attracts attention because his work is imaginative as well as technically sound. , "Gums" is full of restrained and formal beauty In the way the foliage and shadows , of the foreground find an echo in the misty line of trees at a distance. In "The Cloud," the great mass which hangs in the sky, seeming to press down upon the figure of a lone ploughman on a meagre strip of field, conveys a vivid sense of surging motion. "Sunlight" gives rather the impression of some sort of fairy moonlight, flickering soulfully amidst the grove. These three pictures are aquatints. 

Jessie Traill also shows strong Individuality In her group of four etchings. There is a beautiful quality of airiness about the sky which fills most of "Sydney Bridge Going Up," and the sparse, soaring line of the cables hanging from a crane against the faintly defined clouds intensifies the impression. "The Ants' Progress" is another view of the Harbour Bridge, this time powerful and uncom-promising in its bulk, as opposed to the frail figures that throng on it. "Phillip Bland Frieze" is a gracious study of ti-trees.

The principal unit In Squire Morgan's group is a large portrait in chalk of the late A. H. Fullwood. The head, with its shaggy mop of hair, has been strongly treated, and the outcome is a satisfactory likeness. In "The Corn Barn," Mr. Morgan achieves strength through the concentration of design upon the central object, and "The Lakeside" reproduces appealingly the feathery quality of young gum foliage. James Crisp, though his composition often lacks definiteness and interest, sometimes catches the spectator's attention with the skilfulness he displays in matters of detail. "Porch, St. Michael's, Rose Bay," for instance, suggests well the luxuriant depth of the vines which clothe the gothic arch. In "Fishing Boats, San Francisco Bay," he weaves together with marked feeling for balance the oblique lines of the sails and masts. Bruce Robertson shows the same generalised vagueness which from time to time takes pos-session of Mr. Crisp's work; but succumbs to it more consistently. Miss Gladys Owen has imparted to her wood engravings a strong and clear-cut style eminently suited to this medium. In his etchings and pencil drawings, Douglas Pratt conveys the essential character of gum trees by means of a care-fully-controlled complexity of detail, and in one particular etching, entitled "Garden Island," shows notable realisation of the emotional value of long, quiet lines.

The exhibition holds many isolated pictures, or groups of two or so, which stand out as meritorious. Such etchings as Harold Byrne's "Sun and Shadow," for example, with its bold, dramatic contrast in lighting; Martin Hardie's "Bric-a-Brac," strong and subtle in its shadows; Brien O'Reilly's "The North Pylon," bleakly but healthily vigorous; and J. C. Goodhart's "Windswept," suggesting motion so well in its streaming lines, are well worth inspection. There are also larger groups by J. Barclay Godson, Ellis St. John, Sheila McDonald, Thomas Friedensen, Will Ashton, and many others. PAINTER-ETCHERS. (1930, November 18). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

Sydney Long (20 August 1871 -  23 January 1955) was born at Goulburn, New South Wales, the fifth child and posthumous son of James Long, an Irish Commission Agent and his Australian born wife, Susan Fletcher. As a young man he moved to Sydney and worked for some years with a wine and spirit merchant. From about 1890 to 1894 he studied under A.J. Daplyn and Julian Ashton at the Art Society of NSW School.

In 1894 the National Art Gallery of NSW purchased Long’s first major painting, By tranquil waters, a plein air study of boys bathing at Cook’s River, near Tempe railway station. The following year Long’s style started to move towards the flat surfaces and decorative art nouveau style as expounded by the English Studio magazine, which was widely circulated in Australia. His works, such as Pan 1898 (Art Gallery New South Wales, Sydney) and Spirit of the Plains 1897 (Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane), were reproduced in The Studio, and pay homage to the English Aesthetic movement. Long remained passionate about Australian subject matter though and his eucalypt, ti-trees and open plains are sometimes inhabited by distinctly Australian fauna such as magpies, as well as nymphs and fauns.

From 1895-1910 Long taught at the Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School, and in 1907 this became a full-time appointment. He had long wanted to travel, and in he finally managed to leave Australia. He arrived in London in October 1910. Later he visited France, Belgium and Holland. World War I disrupted his relationship with his dealer, Adolf Albers, and finances were uncertain. He was also troubled by his youthful appearance that made him vulnerable to possible conscription. 

In 1918 Lionel Lindsay sent him a copy of Pastoral a softground and aquatint he had made to show how a Sydney Long painting could be rendered as an etching. Long began to study printmaking at the London Central School and rapidly became an accomplished printmaker, converting a lot of his images into etchings and aquatints. He was appointed an Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in 1921, and returned to Australia with a reconfigured career. He stayed for 18 months but returned to England, where he married Catherine Brennan, a dancer on 1 December 1924. In 1925 the couple moved back to Sydney where they settled at Lane Cove, although Long spent much of his time with students, either in his studio in the city or his caravan, which was permanently based at the Narrabeen Lagoon.

The bent tree, Narrabeen, (1914) by Harold Cazneaux 

The bromoil process is used in The bent tree, Narrabeen to enhance the moody and stormy atmosphere of the scene. A bromoil print is created through an intervention in the printing process when a gelatin silver photograph is bleached and fixed, then soaked in water. A greasy ink is then applied and gradually built up to the required density.

Winter showers, Narrabeen, circa 1920,  by Harold Cazneaux

Harold Cazneaux was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1878. His parents, Pierce Mott Cazneau and Emma Florence (née Bentley) worked in commercial studios in New Zealand before returning to settle permanently in Adelaide during the early 1890s. At the age of 18 Cazneaux went to work alongside his father at Hammer & Co studio as a retoucher. He moved to Sydney in 1904 to join the larger portrait firm, Freeman’s quickly ascending to the position of ‘chief operator’ (as camera portraitists were known). Studio work was highly formulaic, with little scope for creativity. Cazneaux used his time walking to and from work to experiment with pictorialist aesthetics 3. The Photographic Society of New South Wales organised an exhibition of Cazneaux’s photographs in 1909, the first such solo exhibition of its kind in Australia. In 1916 he and fellow pictorialist photographer, Cecil Bostock founded the Sydney Camera Circle. The group was particularly interested in the how pictorialism could be adapted to and extended within an Australian context. The mechanised, standardised and frenetic pace of Freeman’s increasingly took its toll on Cazneaux’s creativity and health, and he resigned in 1917. He moved with his wife and daughters to the Sydney suburb of Roseville, and in 1920 he was employed as the official photographer for The Home magazine. This new position let him work in a varied indoor and outdoor environments. In 1938 Cazneaux was awarded an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of London. He continued to work until his death in 1953. [2.]

Although only the smallest of insights into a large subject, hopefully you may be inspired to go find more original Pittwater Art and look forward to what comes next - an insight into the development of Pittwater as the place so many Sydney Artists either visited or lived in - creating their own individual works and forming what were termed 'Artists colonies' as they left 'colonial art' behind and expressed the visions of a clear Australian voice.
On the Narrabeen Lagoon, AT MANLY.
The picture, shown on this page, is taken at one of the most picturesque spots on the lagoon. It is on the opposite side from Manly, close to the gasworks ; though it is sacrilege to name, the lagoon and gasworks in the same breath. The party in the boat wended their way pleasurably up one of the many pretty tributaries. The picturesquely-wooded foreshores, with their fretted rocky caves and mirror-like waters, form a surpassingly beautiful scene. Ferns, flowers, and grasses are plentiful. Shady nooks and bathing places easily found. The picture is quite an artistic creation, and does not belie the original.
On the Narrabeen Lagoon-Manly. (See letterpress on this page.) On the Narrabeen Lagoon, (1892, March 19). Australian Town and Country Journal(Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 30. Retrieved from 

Notes, References And Extras

1. TROVE - National Library of Australia
2. Art and Architecture, 2, Jan-Feb 1905, no 1
3. Wikipedia
4. Progression | Women in Australian Art - Day Fine Art, Colonial to Contemporary
New Art Society.
The newly-formed Art Society of New South Wales held its first meeting last evening at the Coffee Palace, No. 1, and was a great success, most of the leading artists of this city being present. Resolutions were proposed end earned, and a committee of 17 gentlemen was appointed for the purpose of drawing up rules to be submitted at the next general meeting of members on July 6. The principal object of the new association is to enable our local artists to hold exhibitions of their pictures in Sydney, and in a suitable building. This has not hitherto been afforded, and it has long been a reproach to this city that no encouragement has been held out to those who can produce works of art. The Victoria Academy of Art in Melbourne has been doing for years what the N.S.W. Art proposes to accomplish and will no doubt succeed, as Sydney possesses several painters in oil and water colours of no mean ability. New Art Society. (1880, June 23). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from

The first exhibition organized by the Art Society of New South Wales will be held this week at the Garden Palace; and at 2 p.m., today, the Hon. E. Combes, C.M.G., will deliver the opening address. This society, which has now about 145 members, was only started in June last, its object being to form a school of Australian art, and the number and excellence of the exhibits at this early stage of its existence are gratifying auguries of its future success. The exhibition is held in the east gallery of the Garden Palace, just opposite the place where South Sea Island curios were displayed during the International Exhibition ; and the space occupied has been enclosed so as to form a spacious, well-lighted gallery. 

During the latter part of last week the hanging committee were busily engaged decorating the room, erecting railings, and hanging the pictures sent in, and as these gentlemen, Messrs. J. H. Carse, George Collingridge (who first started the society), E. W. Minchen, and W. C. Piquenit, were engaged in a labour of love, they worked faithfully and well. Mr. J. C. Hoyte, president of the society, assisted them; and those who attend the exhibition to-day will find much to admire, not alone in the excellence of many pictures sent in by members of the infant society, but in the good taste shown in hanging and grouping them. Altogether there are about 200 exhibits, of which only five or six are loan pictures, for though at first the committee solicited loans they soon found that original works came in in such number's that to fulfil their primary aim and to display these they would not be able to afford room for the others.

The principal exhibitors are :- H. Brees, J. H. Carse, A. Collingridge, G. Collingridge, E. Combes, Miss Craig, J. B. Despointes, T. H. Fielding, H. Finlay, F. B. Gibbes, J. C. Hoyte, G. F. Halstead, L. Henri, E. W. Minchen, Mrs. G. Parsons, W. C. Piquenit, Miss H. B. Piquenit, G. Podmore, J. T. Richardson, Montagu Scott, C. Whitley, and P. Williams. Of the merits of the different pictures we shall speak after the exhibition has been opened. On Saturday- varnishing day - a few gentlemen, principally press-men, were admitted to a private view of the exhibition, and the secretary. Mr. E. W. Minchen, was freely congratulated on its excellence. ART SOCIETY OF NEW SOUTH WALES. (1880, December 6). The Sydney 
Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from


SOME PICTURES OF THE ART SOCIETY OF N.S.W. BURNT AT THE GARDEN PALACE. (1882, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 5. Retrieved from

Art Pictures Destroyed at the Garden Palace
THE Art Society of New South Wales were severe losers by the conflagration at the Garden Palace, the whole of the pictures-230 in number-sent in for the intended annual exhibition, having been destroyed. It is true that a portion of the money value of the collection was covered by a judiciously effected insurance, but the actual loss-from an art point of view-is irreparable. In connection with the exhibition a catalogue was being prepared, adorned with sketches by the artists them-selves of the leading works exhibited. From this we have been permitted to make a selection characteristic of a display which would have shown in a most favourable light the progress of artistic taste and skill in the colony. 

No. 1 was a charming view looking towards Botany Bay, by Mr. E. W. Minchen, which was much admired; as was No. 2, a dainty bit of Nepean scenery, by W. C. Piguenit, in his best style. No. 3, by the same artist, represented the Head of Tarbar Creek. "Roses in the Bush" was the title of No. 4, a well executed oil painting, by Mr. C. H. Hunt, who was also represented by a water-colour picture, No. 7, entitled "Day Dreams," a work full of imagination and poetic feeling. No. 5, "Portrait of a Cob," was by Mr. F. Mahoney, one of the leading pupils at the late Art Academy of New South Wales, and who belongs to the small but increasing band of native artists who may at no distant period aid in founding a distinctive school of colonial art. No. 6, Mr. James Dalgarno, the honorary secretary, furnished a delightful view of Balmoral, Middle Harbour ; Mr. Dalgarno's abilities being displayed also in No. ll, a boldly conceived view of South Head, Botany. No. 8, " Lane Cove River, from Hunter's Hill," by Mr. J. M. Kennedy, showed that gentleman's powers in a most favourable light ; while the honorary treasurer, Mr. Charles E. Hern, was worthily represented by a couple of excellent works, No. 9, "The High Rocks, Bulli-Morning," and No. 14, "Long Bay, Middle Harbour. " No. 10, "Joe Craft's Creek, Berowra Creek," was a fine and characteristic example of Mr. Arthur Collingridge's artistic genius, in which he appeared to have caught the real spirit of the scene. No. 12, " The Dawn of Civilization," representing a couple of kangaroos disturbed by an advancing herd of oxen, showed that Mr. Turner had made good use of his powers of observation, a remark also applicable to No. 13, "Young Australia," finished in Mr. Turner's best style. In No. 15, Mr. D. Commons gave a fine view of the Grose Valley ; Mr. J. C. Hoyte furnishing, in No. 16, a splendid example of his skill, the subject being " Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand."Art Pictures Destroyed at the Garden Palace. (1882, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 21. Retrieved from

A Glimpse of the Hawkesbury.

By Francis Myers.

That blue glimmer of electric light along the quay gleams as the entrance of an infernal city, and the red lights above beam as the eyes of a thousand devils, and the smoke goes up as the smoke of a place of torment; for we brain-wearied workers, who have been ground in its mills for many months, are flying away to rest. Yes ; to rest amongst the cool sea spaces and the nodding caps and the sleeping islands and the majesty of beauty and the blessed peacefulness and quiet of that larger heaven within the heads of Broken Bay.' We travel by Manly, and a short hour's journey brings us to that fair suburb. From Manly, by the primitive old coach, to Pittwater. Horses rough, harness rough, coach shaky, road bumpy; still, however rude, right pleasant work, for the great white Easter moon floods all the land with silver sheen and mystery. The low hills rest like sleeping creatures with folded wings, the still lakes are as great glassy windows through which spirits of the inner world might peep at the outer glory, here and there stands a tall palm as a sentinel, and rounding headlands by the open sea the murmur of the waves come up as of a million sea doves cooing through their dreams. 


High shorelands sink to shelving braches, and there through the weird water the pink sand flushes, as the cheek of a young Endymion to the kiss of the lady moon. Still tearing along with wboop, and halloa, and much persuasion to the tired horses, and by a quick turn upon a sidelong track into woodlands high and dank and dewy, all dark below save for the glimmer of a few white starry flowers, but fringed with silver aloft, for it is midnight, and the moon is in mid heaven. And 'twere well if we could all go to heaven for an hour or two, for the mundane aspect considered in mundane fashion is not inspiriting The journey is ended, and from a grim house comes a grim custodian, gaunt and churlish. House, man, and furnishings all much alike — better forgotten, o-better, perhaps, fixed in memory as things seen upon the shores of that lovely water in the Easter of 1883. What will it be in '93? Certainly it will not be fairer than it appeared at the very earliest dawning of the following day. Look outward and be happy, for the sunrise has not yet lipped the hills. The lovely purple uncrowned by one single gleam of gold deepens to indigo upon the edge of the water, which in its centre reflects the gray of the sky and the dying lights of some few pale twinkling stars. The birds are piping timidly as fearing to break the solemn hushfulness. 


The tall trees hold every bough and branch and tiniest leaflet motionless. Only the blue mist quivers waiting, waiting — and suddenly, swiftly as the unfurling o1banners at a trumpet blast, a red light flashes on the high clouds to the westward, and the blue mist is burned up, and the glassy face of the water is broken, and the mystery of beauty of the dawning is thrust out of the world be for the glorious majesty of the day. The day spreads his livery of gold and brightness upon All the hills. The day smites the inner waters and the outer deeps with his strong hand and the white caps leap and flash, and the surges ring upon sand and rock. But very soon that white sail we are awaiting comes stealing, floating, gliding on, compelling the little fluttering breeze to her will, straight up the mid channel and round with a flutter of canvas abreast the narrow space of half civilized shore. And quickly we are on board and at rest. 

There is no rest in the world to compare with that perfect abandonment, that absolute repose which comes with the idle lap of water against the vessel's sides, the near shores drifting backwards, a new heaven and a new earth perpetually opening ahead. At noon that autumn day we sailed into ' The Basin 'and dropped anchor. Ten years hence the article will be qualification enough for that basin. It will be no more necessary to ask what basin than what queen when Englishmen stand together to do allegiance. There are beauties enough within our own harbour gates, but they areas tiny pearls to an emperor's crown-jewel when compared with this. Here is a deep, still pool, a Constance, a Leman, a Katrine filled twice a day with the vigour and freshness of the strong sea tides. 



Round Barrenjoey comes the swirling rush, rolling along the eastern harbour branch through the deep channel, washing the point of the sandspit, whispering on every beach, and lapping gently at the rocky base of every cliff, then resting for a quiet hour while the sun sets or the moon rises, and some few strange birds chirp contentedly in the forest. The hills, of a lordly size in the daylight, rise huge and vast when the moonshines. The great tree trunks below are scarcely perceived, but above, each leaf edge touched by the white light sparkles and gleams, and the waterfall sings louder through the dark, dank fern, and lazily-moving oars strike fire from the blackness that is barred from shore to shore by the long moon rays. Strange that no poet has sung of the mystery of the moonrise, the dawning of the night light. It is colourless but marvellously beautiful, a perfect revelation of all the divinity of form. 'What will the future show us about that basin's banks? Houses, homes, pleasure grounds, one of the chief playfields of the city ? It has marvellous capabilities. Room enough upon the promontory jutting out from cliff toward cliff for such an hotel as we have not yet seen in Australia, water enough, always smooth and still and pure, to give battle space for half-a-dozen warships, or to bathe a nation, and water that about three chains of stout sea- fencing would render absolutely safe against all sharks and finny monsters. 


Now, a yachtsman's cottage and a fisherman's hut occupy the promontory, and for 11 months out of the year there is no more life or appreciation about the basin than about some lone tarn of the backblocks upon whose shore has been erected a boundary rider's hut. Morning brings us a dip in the lazy rollers upon the sand, a splash beneath the fresh water, raining from the ferns, a great breakfast of the black bream that swim into the fish-trap, poor foolish creatures, innocent and trustful as if their home were a thousand miles from any dwelling of man. Noon sees white wings spread again, and a further flight towards undiscovered beauties. Seeking the true Hawkesbury, we beat down abreast of the Heads, past the long sandspit coupling Barrenjoey to the mainland, regarding with much interest the huge,
grim, wave-washed, time-worn crag that lacks but around tower and a romance to fetter it to the hearts of a people. It bears a lighthouse useful to the mariner, but only vexatious to the dreamer. Wild and strong and stern frowns that rock with the sea foam at its base and the few sparse wind-tortured trees about its bead. It should have memories other than those of lamp- trimmers' yarns and convicts' jeers and groans. 

And Elliott Island, lying almost in mid-channel, is also an artist's rock, so strangely shaped as to be capable of any comparison ; a lion couchant, a headless sphinx, a remnant of some giant's work of the world's strong youth worn down to vast indistinctness by winds and waves. Ah ! let us recall one evening when moored off the west head, the island and the rock, with every distant point, and all the dome of Heaven and the spaces of the sea, were seen transfigured and glorified by the out breathed spirit of a dying day. A thunderstorm had rolled over and lay upon the eastern bar and light from the clear inland western sky smote all its breast with fire. Some little shreds of cloud in midheaven let down a film of rain which bent the rays till they made bows upon the thundercloud, three separate trichord bands of light upon three points of distant land, an intense blackness below, and beyond a strange rich purple and greyness. Right out in the fore
ground Barrenjoey, his face as the face of an angry giant, every line, point, dent, and scar glowing as with the fire of an inward-born passion, and separated but by a silver band, the lovely Elliott Island cradled in blue water, fringed with the leaping foam, swathed in a silver haze that deepened to golden mist, end darkened too soon to a purple veil, all evanescent and beautiful as a dark proud woman's smile, and yet, thank God, in memory perpetual. 


Round that West Head the river's mouth, or rather the ocean estuary, divides, and as we keep to the southern bank for a time the land is dreary, its monotony only broken by occasional fringes of sand and damp ravines, down which the waters flash, or trickle silently through wondrous mate of ferns, dense masses of luxuriant colour these ferns, showing every varying tints of tender green and rarest brown, the withered fronds above, dyed in the richest blood of autumn. But they are meanest details, thumbnail sketches in the great gallery. A merrier breeze pipes up from seaward, and in an hour we enter darker water, brown with all the silt of the big river, robbed of its beauty by the land stream and of its usefulness by the tide. A Glimpse of the Hawkesbury. (1883, April 7). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 640. Retrieved from 

These Illustrations would have been made from woodcuts or engravings. 

By the death of Mr. John Clark Hoyte,  which occurred at his residence, 141 Avenue-Road, Mosman, on Friday morning, the art world of Sydney loses one of its oldest identities. Mr. Hoyte was born in England in 1835, and received his early artistic training there, but  some years of his early manhood were spent in the West Indies. Returning to England about 1860, Mr. Hoyte married, and shortly  afterwards decided to go out to New Zealand, where some time after his arrival he joined the teaching staff of the Auckland Grammar School.        
It was about this time that Mr. Hoyte's artistic work began to bring him into prominence. It was not long before he occupied a leading position in New Zealand art circles, and it is as a portrayer of the scenic beauties  of the Dominion that he will be long remembered. Right up to the time of his death his work found keen appreciation there.  About 1877 Mr. Hoyte left New Zealand, and settled in Sydney.        
He was one of the founders and the first president of the Royal Art Society,
 among those associated with him at the time being Mr. A. J. Daplyn, the present secretary of the society. Of late years Mr. Hoyte had been but little before the Sydney art public. He was one of the old school, and found it difficult to adopt his ideas to the conventions of the newer artistic cult. The deceased has left a widow and two married daughters (one  daughter having died some years ago), and  several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  A VETERAN ARTIST. (1913, February 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from


One of the least pretentious improvements, externally, but not the least interesting to those who have watched the progress of this city, has been the entire remodelling of the buildings in George-street formerly known as " Giblin's" , a well-known hostelry in years gone by, famous as the house of call of numerous "choice spirits" of the sporting and other fraternities, and as the birth place of many a good story and of many a heavy wager on sporting events The position is excellent for the superoir class of business done there, and the site itself is extremely valuable. 

The premises were opened about 35 years ago, as auctioneer's sale rooms, by Messrs Cohen and Co , and five years later they passed into tho hands of a French- man, a Mons. Cheval, who started a restaurant, &c, there. His enterprise was highly remunerative, and at the end of six years he retired on a handsome competency and migrated to New Caledonia, where he established a coffee plantation, from which he derives a large income. He parted with his interest in the concern to Mr. J.F. Maloney, of the Imperial Hotel, Wynyard square, who remained for 10 years in very profitable occupation of the premises. 

Mr. Wheeler was the next tenant, and at the expiration of 12 months he retired in favour of Mr. T. M. Giblin, who occupied the cafe and billiard-rooms for 11 years, and under whose energetic control the business expanded rapidly. 

A coach to Windsor / poster and ticket for four horse coach to Parramatta & Windsor, ca. 1870. Image No.: a3660001h, courtesy State Library of NSW. Beneath title is printed "A four horse coach will leave the Cafe Francais, George Street for Parramatta & Windsor Every Saturday at 1 p.m. returning from Windsor on Monday Morning at Six. Fare for the double journey 20/- box seat 30/- James Wheeler, Booking Agent, Cafe Francais." 

Mr. Giblin's lease terminated upon the 13th February last year, when the owner of the building signified an intention to raise the rent payable by the next tenant. Mr. Giblin could not see the way clear to incur this increased liability and therefore vacated the premises, which remained practically shut up for many months. At this juncture Mrs. Elizabeth Bowes became the lessee, she was formerly at Melbourne, where her husband, Mr. W. Bowes, a much-respected master of the hounds -- of whom an interesting obituary notice appeared in the Sydney Mail of the 15th May last-was for many years in charge of Tattersall's Hotel, which business she carried on by herself successfully for seven years before removing to this city. Upon taking possession of the promises she found them, particularly the cellars and the ground-floor, in a condition of disrepair and dinginess scarcely inferior to that of the celebrated " Dirty Dick's," which all visitors to London used to go and see as the nearest attainment of the art of getting as much "matter out of place" into one building that was reason-ably possible. The floors were old, worm-eaten, and decayed to such an extent that it was marvellous how they had borne the weight placed upon them. The stairs were almost in the last stage of their existence, jammed into odd, out-of-the-way corners, dark, narrow, and unsafe. Three "active and intelligent " fox-terriers, celebrated dogs in their day, were attached to the regular staff of the establishment for the express purpose of hunting and keeping down the hordes of daring and ferocious rats which infested the place and effectually prevented any spare victuals from getting stale for the want of eating. Many a portly customer has been ignominiously and suddenly upset, while quaffing his beer at the bar, by one of these terriers charging between his legs at rat scampering away in front of the counter. This café was also famous for a large and inquisitive breed of " roaches " who would persist in having, not a finger, but several dirty feet in every pie and other comestibles. But all these merry practical jokes are over now. "We have altered all that, Messieurs. " 

Mrs Bowes at once saw that nothing but a complete remodelling of the promises would do in these days of fierce competition, and she issued instructions accordingly to Mr. J. Kirkpatrick, the architect, under whose careful directions the internal accommodation has been entirely recast and a new front put to the ground floor.

The site of the premises has a frontage of 40 feet to George-street and 76 foot to Wynyard-lane and a depth of 90 feet. It required the exercise of careful ingenuity to make the best use of the available space. The ancient shop-front in George-street has disappeared and a modern front has been substituted, neatly ornamented in the Italian style, haying four large plate-glass windows and wide double doors. The restaurant is entered from George street by a double door with moulded panels, and a semicircular fan-light over them. On the immediate right and left are handsome lavatories, fitted with marble topped, lift-up basins and silver-plated furniture, the floors being laid with black and white tiles. A protective margin of brass surrounds a sunk mat. The lavatories are enclosed in panelled and embossed glass, in screens bearing the hand-embossed name of the café with a gold monogram. The lavatories and entrance form a convenient lobby, with large inner swing-doors, 4 feet wide, opening upon the public dining-room, 63 feet x l8 feet, with three rows of tables, laid out in the most approved continental style, and capable of seating 100 customers. At the further end of the room, on the right hand side, is a small private bar, and a carving table with fittings, warmed by steam, for keeping dishes hot, also hot-plate racks and sliding-doors in front and back. On the left-hand side is a pantry, &c., and stairs leading to the floor above. Beyond the dining-room is the kitchen (which required an excavation of 8 feet of the old site), 25 feet x l8 feet well lighted and ventilated by three large windows, fitted with a Ward's 8 feet 6 inches range, separate grill &c. There is also a steam boiler, sinks, with hot as well as coldwater laid on, bain marie, and every necessary convenience for cooking for many customers. A serving-lift communicates with the floor above. Next to the kitchen is the tradesmen's entrance from Wynyard-lane, and other conveniences. Adjusting the restaurant, and communicating by a separate door with George street, is the cafe, 68 foot x l8 feet, divided by venetian blinds on spring rollers, which are let down at night. The entrance from George-street is similar to that of the restaurant, with a similar convenient lobby. The cafe is fitted up with a magnificently-carved counter and buffet, of special design, in rich, dark blackwood and mahogany. The buffet is of imposing appearance, ornamented with five pediment-headed recesses filled with large mirrors, and with a very finely-carved vase over the central recess. The gas fittings of this buffet are all silver-plated, with globes hand-painted in rich floral designs, the shelves and racks are also of special patterns. The counter is a very fine specimen of solid, handsome work, and looks remarkably effective, the front being divided into panels by richly-carved pilasters, set back on a slope, with floral drops and carved caps and basis. The plinth of the counter is protected by a foot-rod of brass, supported by a standard in front of each pilaster, and is supplied with a couple of three-pull beer engines heavily silver-plated, fixed on marble stands. The buffet and counter were executed from the architect's full sized details by Messrs. Bradley, Newton and Lamb and as specimens of art-workmanship are highly commendable, the carving being all of the most artistic kind, and its sharpness having apparently not been destroyed by the pernicious and officious use of sand-paper, for which many carvers have an incurable mania. Adjoining the cafe is a lounge-room, lighted by a skylight, fitted in the Pansian style with marble-topped tables, and supplied with easy chairs of inviting appearance. Here the constant rattle of dominoes may be heard from about a dozen tables, the games being often intently watched by critical bystanders, and here the smokers also do congregate for a friendly chat over the post-prandial wood. Under this floor are commodious cellars. At the end of the lounge-room are stairs leading to Wynyard-lane and to another bar, under which is another cellar. From the café the guest mounts to the first floor by a flight of easy stairs of massive and ornate appearance, executed in rich blackwood, with elaborately-carved newal, of elegant design, supporting an artistically-modelled bronze figure carrying a gas globe light. These stairs have an enriched close string and elegantly-carved balusters. On the first floor, facing George-street, is a most comfortable club-room and private dining-room, 37 feet x l8 feet, with two fireplaces and rich marble chimney-pieces, a private drawing-room 21 feet x l8 feet, and a parlour 15 feet x11 feet. At the back of these rooms, and extending nearly all round the open area, is a glazed balcony communicating with a spacious billiard-room 46 feet x l8 foot, with two tables, amply lighted by a large skylight and six windows. The manager's office, 10 feet square, and a store room, are also on this floor. Parallel with the billiard-room are three bedrooms, approached by separate stairs communicating with the rooms above. On the second floor, towards George-street, there are five bed-rooms, a bathroom, and other conveniences, and at the back are seven bedrooms and another bathroom, &c. There are 28 rooms in the building, exclusive of the restaurant and café.

Cafe Francais, George St Sydney, Government Printing Office . IMage No.: d1_49562, courtesy State Library of NSW

The most noticeable features in the rejuvenated premises are the perfect good taste and comfort shown every-where. Lincrusta has been used in the restaurant, café, and private dining-room, &c., with great success, the effect being increased by subdued and artistic decoration of the walls and ceilings where necessary, the whole harmonising with the well-designed furniture and appointments in such a manner as to give pleasure, not pain, to the connoisseur. The sanitary arrangements are complete, and placed wherever required. PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS. (1887, March 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

Art Society of N.S.W.

 The gods help them -who help themselves,' or, in other 'words, persistence and perseverance will almost invariably secure a just award. It is but a few years since the first exhibition of the efforts of the members of the 'Art Society was held in a corner of the upstairs portion of the late Garden Palace. That the productions were somewhat of a motley order is true; but the spirit was in the work, and it was evident, by the exertions put forth, that the Art Society, meant business, that it intended to garner to itself the talent and the imagination of the artists of the colony, and by the means of an annual exhibition of the productions of its members to kindle the fire of emulation amid the artistic circle, and to tower as a beacon,' directing the tastes of the dilettanti toward that haven of art, purity and simplicity of depiction. It is enough to say that the ninth exhibition has more than fulfilled the anticipations of its founders. The presence of three of the Ministers of the Crown, together with the elite of the art world of New South Wales, at the society's unnnftl dinner last Saturday evening1, demonstrates the success of the society, and shews what can be accomplished when the heart is in. the work. The Premier's speech at the banquet is probably one of his best efforts as an orator, and behind the speech is to be discerned a recognition of the claims of the society to participate in a monetary grant toward further propagating a love of art. Leaving these diatribes and coming at once to the pictures and drawings. The numbers as they run will possibly be the most easy method by which a, visitor can follow our remarks and judge of the merits of the exhibits. 

The watercolors range from Nos. 1 to 55 in the catalogue. No. 3. By J. Mather, ' Surf ' : The sea breaking on an ironbound coast. The natural color of the rocks and the living motion of the water is faithfully and naturally rendered. No. 4. 'A Rainy Day/' by Percy F. Spence, calls for, more than common notice. The picture represents a loaded lorry drawn by the horses, which appear to be trotting up Macquarie-place in the face of a heavy shower of rain. No more lifelike drawing is to be found on the society's walls, and Mr. E. Barton must consider himself most fortunate in securing so graphic a delineation of a Sydney scene. This drawing could have been sold over and over again at the price affixed to it, which shows the modesty of tru« talent in not affixing a prohibitory value. No. 7, by Catherine Devine, is full of merit and promise. No. 10, by John Smedley, 'Bradley's Head, with Sydney in the distance,' is one of those happy inspirations which one is not inclined to leave without a longing look cast behind. Mr. Smedley s sketches in oil of Japanese subjects, which he first loaned to one of the earlier exhibitions of the Art Society, were full of vigor, and stamped him at once as an artist in culture and in feeling ; nor does this simple little watercolor lessen the appreciation of his ability; it is really a charming work. No. 14, by Robert Atkinson, ' An Old Farmyard, Titirangi, New Zealand,' deserves attention ; the drawing is good, and the cattle and figures are good, but the coloring is a trifle too pronounced. No. 20, by Donald G. G. Commons, ' Long Bay, Middle Harbor ' : Mr. Commons must have made Middle Harbor a home ere he could have so successfully portrayed the tints the bush therein daily assumes. No. 21, by B. E. Minns, ' Near Double Bay,' is a view of the blind creek running into Double Bay and the tumble-down rocks which mark its juncture; the grays and reflection lights are highly artistic. No. 22, by J. E. Ashton, ' A Solitary Ramble '': No more can be said in praise of this inspiration than the fact that one may wade through a dictionary without finding words sufficiently strong to characterise the graceful pose of the figure, or the serenity of its surroundings. The National Art Gallery is to be congratulated on securing1 so eloquent a specimen from the hand of the president of the society. Breaking for one moment the discussion as to the merits of the pictures, Mr. Ashton's exhibits confirm the opinion that he is the right man in the right place ; the watercolor drawings and the oil paintings he has contributed to enhance the interest of this year's exhibition not only stand out as the creme de la creme of the collection, but set forth vividly the Turneresque adaptability of his genius; neither in water nor in oil is he found wanting. No. 26, by Donald G. G. Commons, 'At Manly': A charming composition, small but effective, the perspective and coloring perfect. No. 37, by B. E. Minns : This is pure in color, and thrown in with a dash appertaining to the true artist. The trees are handled remarkably well No. 40, by W. Lister Lister, 'By the Sea, Hastings, Sussex:' This work should be studied, as the impression is that its author is a rising man. No. 42, E. W. Minchen, 'Mangroves, Lane Cove River:' Well worthy of note, and a vast improvement on Mr. Minchen's former exhibits. No. 44, by J. R. Ashton: Morning effect sear Richmond. The drawing as a whole is sober, the atmospheric effect and the delicacy of the touch quite unapproachable, yet as with all other earthly enjoyment, the stake or mistake in the drawing has to be shadowed out before one can get a full conception of its beauties. No. 48, by Donald G. G. Commons, ' Foley*s Head, near Newport.' This work of Mr. Commons deserves special notice, as it gives the promise of the limner becoming one of the most prominent of our artists. No. 49, by W. Lister Lister, ' Keston Common, Kent, Crystal Palace in the distance.' This is one of those conceptions which attract the attention of the observer^ clothed, as it were, in nature's own garments, there is no need of commendation to enhance its excellence No. 50, by J. E. Ashton, 'The Meesageries' Wharf, Circular Quay' : A powerful and effective combination of color and perspective. No. 51, by J. Mather, ' Landscape' : It is not well understood how this can be designated as a landscape ; it is in reality the rush of a swollen river, the water wonderfully natural, and the trees strikingly in keeping, yet a little too green. No. 53, by J. B. Ashton, 'The Bluff opposite Clontarf, Middle Harbor:' In this drawing the artist has not only had the opportunity, but has availed himself of it, of throwing in the multitudinous tints which this abrupt headland is noted for at all hours of the day ; approach it as ' you may, it has an ever-changing, ever-fleeting variation of color unsurpassed in the neighborhood of the city. Mr. Ashton has caught the agencies in a happy moment, and fixed them in his drawing. No. 51, by the same artist, 'Fremantle Lighthouse, Western Australia :' A group of buildings under a cliff, the lighthouse standing out prominently on the heights. Beneath the rise in deep gray shadow the houses are, as it were, in perfect repose ; but where the sun's rays fall on the foreground there is a display of figures and boats only to be pencilled by an adept. Respecting the watercolor drawings, those who have been in the habit of inspecting the contributions to the society's annual exhibitions most miss the once familiar names of Hoyte, Comber, Andrews, Coveny, Fletcher-Watson, and Carse, all good and true men, familiar with the brash, their works highly -esteemed, and -their industry acknowledged. Let, say what may be said, the absence of their names from tie list of exhibitors begets a train of thought which lingers on the past, forgetful mayhap that the new members, are not unlikely to eclipse the old in originality of design, skilful manipulation, and in public favor. There are many other examples amongst the watercolors which deserve more than passing attention j Miss Willis's ' Plumbago,' No. 5, and Madame Both's 'Kingfisher,' No. 24, being of the number; as alto Miss Lilly Creed's 'Pink Horse Chestnut/' No. 55. Mr. Hunt's 'In the Part' No. 1, a sketch of three figures, is very spirited. Mr. Hunt would have done well to have contributed more of his watercolors. The fifty-five drawings are from the pencils of the following artists: The president, Mr. J. B. Ashton, 8; G. E. Ashton, 2 ; E. Atkinson, 1 ; Geo- Collingridge, 9 ; Miss Creed, 1 ; Donald G. G. Commons, 3 ; A. J. Darlyn, 2 ; Miss Devine, 1 ; A.H. Fullwood, 1 ; Wo. Heron, 3 ; C. H. Hunt, 1; W. A. Ker, 1; W. Lister Lister, 3; F. P. Mahony, 1 ; J. Mather, 6; E. W. Minchen, 1; B. E. Minns, 3 ; Madame Both, 2 ; P. F. G. Spence, 2; G. Sedgfield, 1 ? J. Smedlev, 1 ; and Miss Willis, 1. The number of exhibitons in this branch of the profession is, as with the oils, very limited, and -it is somewhat questionable whether the society has not been too vigorous in its selection, net bearing in mind that everything must have a beginning, and the avowed object of that body is to encourage the tyro and foster any spark of genius presented to its notice. A suggestion was made by one of the visitors that a separate room might be set aside for the display of the rejected pictures, so that the public should be enabled to pass an opinion on the discrimination exercised by the selection committee.Art Society of N.S.W. (1888, September 20). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from

"Rigid Exclusion." How the Selection Was Made.
The pictures selected by the trustees of the National Art Gallery for exhibition in London In April and May will be despatched by the P. and O. Himalaya, to reach London, early in March, which will allow the London, committee, ample time for all preliminary arrangements before the opening of the exhibition. 

A "Star" representative, upon paying a visit to the Art Gallery, found active preparations for packing the pictures. A staff of workmen is engaged, and all the pictures are enclosed in zinc-lined cases. The number allotted to each case of course varies with the size of the pictures, and in one case are packed as many as 29. Each is firmly screwed by its back to strips of board, the ends, of which fit in slots at each side, and when full, and the spaces between the pictures filled with paper shavings, the whole is encased with zinc, which is made airtight to prevent the sea air from approaching them. 
Mr. G. E. Layton, secretary to the trustees, afforded thje information that the collection numbers ALTOGETHR 326 WORKS, and these it is expected will nicely fill the Grafton Galleries. These 326 Include 170 oil paintings, ' 89 water-colours, 52 black and white, 2 pastels, 4 miniatures, and 9 sculpture's. The trustees,' Mr. Layton said, were extremely Indebted to the committee of artists to whom they delegated the task of selecting the best from over 600 pictures sent in. 

Much dissatisfaction is expressed in artistic circles, however, at the fact that the decision of this committee has not been adhered to, and the collection to be placed on exhibition contains a number of pictures which were not placed before the selection committee, while several chosen by the committee, while several stated, been thrown out by the trustees. When questioned on this point Mr. Layton -said the trustees, In accordance with the regulations, were empowered “in the fulfilment of their obligations and responsibilities” to make the final Selection, and they merely — in the first place, out of courtesy, which, however from the magnitude of this work developed into the deep Indebtedness — appointed this committee to assist them, The committee consisted of five members: — Messrs. W. Lister Lister and W. CT. Piguenit, from the Art Society; (Messrs; Tom Roberts and Syd. Long, from the Society of Artists; with Mr. Frank P. Mahony as chairman. This committee viewed each of the pictures to the number, as before stated, of over 600, as they hung in the Art Gallery, and made their selection, which in due course they forwarded to the trustees. The latter disagreed as to the merits of several pictures — a very few, four or five at most — and accordingly placed them amongst the rejected, and being of opinion that the works, of Mr. Julian R. Ashton, which from some cause or other, whether because they were unfinished or otherwise, Mr. Layton could not say, were not placed before the selection committee, were entitled to a place - they included a number of this artist's, works In the collection, (Mr. Dayton was particular in pointing out that according to rule 3 of the regulations that trustees had the right of final selection. At the same time, however, rule 2 made it imperative that all work intended for exhibition should be delivered at the National Art Gallery on or before Saturday, December 11, 1897, and seeing that Mr. Ashton's pictures were not sent in by that time at is held that, apart from the question of their individual merit, they were not entitled to a place. In any case the works should, It Is thought, have bittern submitted to the committee with those of the other artists. We learn from Mr. Layton that the committee of experts concluded their work and sent in their recommendation on Tuesday December 21, and the two following days were spent by the trustees— a quorum of whom were present — In going through the selection. On one of these days Mr. Julian Ashton's Pictures were brought to the Gallery, and were accepted by the trustees. These pictures were the only works sent in after the Judgment of the committee was pronounced, and they were the only pictures upon which the committee had no opportunity of passing an opinion.

Sir J. P. Abbott Is a prominent member of the Art Society of New South Wales, and has on more than one occasion: been its president. He has come Into contact with artists of every school in the colony, and consequently is Qualified to express an opinion.

When spoken to this morning Sir Joseph said, "I cannot see what prominence Mr. Julian Ashton has attained as an artist to entitle him to be treated in a manner different from such men as Mr. Lister Lister. Mr. Piguenit, Mr. Tom Roberts, Mr. Fullwood, and a host of others, and If the pictures of these artists had to be submitted to a committee for selection, apart from the trustees of the Art' Gallery, one would think that the trustees, would submit to that committee the pictures of one of their own colleagues. " 

"Without (saying one word as to the merits or demerits of Mr. Ashton's work, it is an outrage, on the artists of Sydney that he should be a trustee of the gallery. If he were not a gentleman painting pictures for sale and teaching students there could be no possible objection to his being one of the, trustees. But whilst he is an artist, competing with 'the rest of the artists of Sydney both for (the sale, of pictures and for the teaching of pupils, it has always appeared to me to be most undesirable that he should be one of the trustees. It Is undesirable in his own interests, because if the trustees purchase some of his pictures— which they have done— all kinds of surmises and statements are made as to the Influences that induced them to make those purchases, and I have heard such, statements made. "On the other hand, should the trustees purchase works of any of Mr. Ashton's pupils similar statements are liable to be made. For Instance, some time since a purchase was made for the Gallery of a painting by one of his pupils. This painting appealed to the school of impressionists, and no doubt it would afford amusement to Mr. Ashton and the other trustees could they hear the criticisms passed upon their purchase by visitors to the Gallery. "Mr. Ashton is a clever artist, a genial companion, and one who endears himself to his friends. At the same time there is a strong feeling amongst artists that he is occupying a position which gives him power and preeminence over all other artists In Sydney, which no talents he possesses entitle him to. "The main question is whether Mr. Ashton as an artist is so pre-eminently above all others as to render it unnecessary for his work to undergo the ordeal of examination thrust upon the others?"

Mr. Lister Lister, the president of the Art Society of N.S.W., and one of the committee mentioned above, was seen in his studio. He thought it was rather premature to make remarks on the subject just yet, for he had not yet received from the trustees any intimation that they had rejected any of the chosen pictures, or substituted any others. All the same, he said, the trustees, according to the regulations, had a perfect right to do so. for the final selection remained with them. He offered no opinion as to the inclusion of pictures sent in after the advertised date. He had no oficial knowledge yet, he said, of the final selection.

Mr. Percy Spence, when seen in regard to the matter, said: "The difficulty is that, though I have opinions on the subject, I don't know whether it would be advisable to say very much at the present, because the artists are discussing the thing amongst themselves. It is, perhaps, a little hit of a mistake to invite artists to help the trustees, and then for the trustees to finally make the selection, leaving the artists out. The trustees are a body of non-artists, with only one artist to assist them. Mr. Ashton should at least have submitted his work to the committee, as everyone else did. But he has sent his works in to the board. That is the point which we think is not just. In other matters we have to abide by the laws and regulations contained in the circular.''
PICTURES FOR LONDON. (1898, January 5). The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 5. Retrieved from 

The president and secretary of the Art Society of New South Wales waited on the Minister for Public Instruction to-day, and asked him to open the annual exhibition on Monday afternoon next. Mr. Hogue promised to do so. With regard to a second request, that he would recommend that the title "Royal" be granted to the society, he promised to give the matter consideration. ART SOCIETY OF N.S.W. (1898, September 6). The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 7. Retrieved from

In endeavouring to estimate the position occupied by Art in Australia at the dawn of the twentieth century the necessary retrospect cannot be extended to the early years of colonial history. These were occupied by pioneer struggles for existence in a new country, and interest in the art of painting was doubtless at its lowest ebb. As soon as wealth began to accumulate in the colony, however, there were families of substance and refined taste who imported pictures of value from Europe. Their opportunities of purchasing to advantage on tho spot were probably limited, though several famous artists from time to time visited the country. The veteran artist, Conrad Martens, arrived here (with Darwin) in H.M.S Beagle in 1836, and resided here, painting assiduously, until 1879. Sir Oswald Brierley, afterwards Marine Painter to the Queen, came out in the Wanderer in 1812, stayed cruising about in that ship and the Rattlesnake for six years, and again visited Australia in the Galatea with the late Duke of Edinburgh in 1867. Many valuable examples of his style will be found in the collections of Australian connoisseurs, especially in Sydney Nicholas Chevalier was also at one time known m Australia. Thomas Woolner, R.A., and Summers (both sculptors) visited the country ; and, as pointed out by Mr. E. Du Faur in his speech to Viscount Hampden at the opening of the first completed portion of the National Art Gallery of Sydney, Skinner Prout, E. B. Boulton, Terry, H. Gill, and a few others, also kept the lamp of art burning here during the years in which the exigencies of early colonial life left little leisure for such pursuits. " But these scattered interests, and the disconnected episodes around which they cluster, can hardly be described as contributing a definite history of our art progress. To estimate this the record of organised movement, and that alone, can be followed. It was this which first formed Australian opinion on the subject, first led to the public exhibition of choice works of art, and first rendered possible the establishment of a subsidised school of painting. In this way from small beginnings, started actually as late as 1871, a continuous onward movement was maintained, which finally rendered possible a federal exhibition in London of works painted entirely in Australia. This was in 1898, when these works were acknowledged to reach as high an average standard of attainment as that which characterised similar shows by English artists trained in the old world.

Conrad Martens portrait -ca. 1840  painted by Maurice Felton. Inscribed in ink on reverse by Myra Felton, the artist's daughter, "Conrad Martens. By Maurice Felton M.D. Property of Myra Felton" . Image No.: a928666h, courtesy State Library of NSW

The origin of all that we now enjoy in the possession of a splendid National Art Gallery, and of Government subsidies for those societies that undertake the instruction of students, can be directly traced to a meeting convened by Mr. Edward Reeve on April 25, 1871. At this meeting, over which the late T. S. Mort presided, the New South Wales Academy of Art was formed, with the late E. L. Montefiore as vice-president, who, within a year, was joined by Mr. E. Du Faur as secretary. These two gentlemen after a time united in leasing the premises of the Royal Society, and the first art classes for students were held there under Signors Anivitti and Simonetti. The Government of the day subsidised the movement, which was then further extended by expenditure upon the formation of a Gallery of Art, the trustees for which were chosen from the council of the academy This was in 1875, and of the trustees then appointed there now only remain Mr. Eccleston Du Faur (president) and Sir James R. Fairfax (vice-president). The New South Wales Academy of Art continued to foster the good work its energy had vitalised until the end of 1880. By that time the importance of the movement had impressed itself upon the Legislature of the day, and the comparatively large sum of £5000 was voted by Government for the purpose of in-creasing the National Collection. The pictures were placed in a temporary building at the entry to the Botanic Gardens, and the gallery thus formed was opened by his Excellency Lord Augustus Loftus on September 22, 1880. Thereupon the academy, having accomplished the object for which it was founded, and feeling, in the terms of its final report, " that the farther development of art culture and instruction in the community rested with the public and with the Legislature, and had passed beyond the scope of a private society," decided to dissolve. In this way the first chapter in the history of art in Australia may be said to have been closed.

The first purchase from public funds for the national collection in Sydney consisted of six water-colour drawings, which the curious will find still specially grouped in the gallery. After five years of insecurity and risk in the temporary building, the trustees urged upon the Government the necessity for a more suitable structure, and on December 23,1885, his Excellency Earl Carrington opened the "shell" building at a cost of £10,000 on the present permanent site in the Domain. The total value of the collection was then only £14,000. It may now be estimated in round figures at £120,000, and includes about 300 oil paintings, 220 water-colours, 100 black-and-white drawings, 150 etchings, 50 photogravures, a few choice photographs, and a representative series of autotype copies of the old masters. The marbles, plaster casts, terra cotta, bronzes, ivory carvings, relevo work in metals and the like, comprise in all some 250 pieces additional. With the enhanced value of the collection there has been a notable increase in the public interest taken in it, so that its educational and refining influence can hardly be overrated. Thus the daily average attendance is now 500 on week days and 1700 on Sundays, the total for last year amounting to 243,998 persons. During the 20 years of its existence the collection has been visited by four and three-quarter millions of people. Always bearing in mind that a national art gallery should be the fountain head from which springs all that can advance the love of painting throughout the colony, the trustees have successfully carried out various schemes towards that end. Students to the number of 300 have been enrolled within its walls ; 44 pictures have been lent for continuous exhibition in Bathurst, Goulburn, and Newcastle; the Wynne bequest, awarding prizes for the best picture and the best figure sculpture of the year, has been administered; and a federal art movement amongst the colonies, by which some of the finest works we possess were temporarily interchanged with the galleries of Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne, was initiated on this side. An event of importance in the art history of the colony was the exhibition of a beautiful collection of some 600 pictures from private sources in 1897. It was on this occasion that his Excellency Viscount Hampden opened the first permanent portion of the gallery buildings. The work has since been steadily continued, so that probably one of the earliest official acts of the new Governor-General (Earl Hopetoun) will be to open the completed southern wing. This wing comprises five noble courts, each about 100ft. x 40ft, and has been erected at a cost of £40,000. Mr. W. L. Vernon, Government Architect, is responsible for the design of this spacious art temple of the future, which will ultimately cost about £115,000. Mr. George E. Layton, well known as an art connoisseur, is the esteemed secretary and superintendent of the gallery.

In the housing of its works Victoria was many years in advance of New South Wales. There is a fine collection of statuary and modern paintings in Melbourne in the splendid building known at the National Gallery and Free Public Library. It is with this collection that interchanges have from time to time been advantageously made. The National Art Gallery of Adelaide is far behind these two great collections, though it includes some fine works, and has a email school of painting attached ; and Brisbane has only begun to form an art gallery during the past few years. Attached to the Melbourne National Gallery is a school of painting, of which Mr. G. F. Folingsby was at one time director, a post filled since 1893 by Mr. Bernard Hall. Mr. F. M'Cubbin is instructor and master of design at this school of art, from which several accomplished painters have issued.

In 1880, the year which marked the voluntary dissolution of the Academy, the Art Society of New South Wales was founded by two well-known painters, the brothers Collingwood. Exhibitions were first held at the Garden Palace, after its de-struction at the Town Hall, and then at the society's own rooms in Pitt-street, where classes have been conducted for 12 years past. Here the Art Society has spacious and well-lighted gallaries, where, and in the studios attached, a vast amount of good work has been done. Since 1887 the Art Society has en-joyed a Government subsidy of £500 a year, and under its successive instructors, Messrs. A. J. Daplyn, J. R. Ashton, Gordon Coutts, and Y. V. Mahony, most of the younger artists of New South Wales have been educated. It will be noted that whereas the old Academy devoted itself chiefly to importing paintings worthy of notice, the Art Society's policy is expressed in the regulation attached to its annual shows-" No work will be recorded unless it be the bona-fide production of the member exhibiting it." The public has marked its appreciation of this policy by purchasing pictures to the value of about £8000, whilst 45 pictures have been transferred from its walls to those of the National Art Gallery. Mr. W. Lister-Lister has been for many years past the president of the Art Society, which can boast more than 200 subscribers, and which, in spite of the rivalries and the financial gloom of the latter half of its existence, has continued to flourish strongly.

From time to time kindred associations of the Art Society have arisen, such as the " Australian Academy of Arts" and the "Sketching Institute of New South Wales " (1834), but, so far, the only one that has established itself on a basis of enterprising ambition and widespread popularity has been the Society of Artists. This association, which was founded in 1895, with Mr. Tom Roberts as chairman, has since been headed by Mr. Sid. Long. The new society sprang from a disagreement with the old, the Casus belli being the fact that the general body of subscribers was allowed a vote in choosing the committee of selection for the annual shows. In 1897 the Society of Artists secured a Government subsidy of £400 a year-almost at once raised to £500. This enabled the young painters to rent a superb gallery in Pitt-street, and also to offer a travelling scholar-ship of £150 a year for three years to the best student of the year, a policy from which good should result. Sub-committees are now discussing a scheme of amalgamation between the two societies, which, in the interests of both it is to be hoped may be carried out.

Here mention may be made of the fact that the idea of a travelling scholarship was initiated by the Victorian Government. The Victorian Artists' Society is a strong body, that has sent many students of first-rate talent to Paris and London ; and some noteworthy pictures have been painted for the Mel-bourne National Gallery by the exhibitioners on their travels. The Art School in Melbourne is known throughout the country. Though, in sketching this history, if little is said about the sister capital, it must be remembered that the city itself was not founded until half the entire period under review had passed away.

Early in 1898 the trustees of the National Art Gallery (Sydney) invited the leading artists of both societies to assist them in the selection of pictures from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, and Brisbane for exhibition st the Grafton Galleries, London, in May and June. This great project was rendered possible chiefly by the generous co-operation of Miss Eadith Walker. Rather more than 300 oil and water colour paintings were accepted from New South Wales and Victoria, with a few contributions from other colonies. In this way, for the first time, those who had striven in the good cause on this side were able to gauge the progress made. A patronising or contemptuous attitude on the part of the public had been feared. All grounds for alarm proved needless. The " Times," after expressing astonishment at the great change which the past 20 years had wrought in the practice of art in Australia, reviewed the exhibition in terms of high praise, remarking especially upon the adoption of French methods, and adding finally, " The subjects are fresh, and in technique the average work of Chelsea or Clichy is no better." The "Standard " critic pronounced that the show attained a far higher general average than is reached by one or two semi-official London galleries bearing time-honoured and imposing titles. " Here, then, and in the fairly satis-factory amount of sales, was at last some guarantee that the art of Australia was not only out of its swaddling clothes and its nursery days, but had even reached the end of its school-days, and was entering with youthful confidence the wider sphere of the world's competitive life. In this exhibition the Art Society of New South Wales completely carried off the honours, selling 22 pictures for £768, the Society of Artists sold 11 pictures for £86, and £282 was divided between Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia, making a total of £1136. With this record of auspicious achievement, this brief sketch of the progress of Art in Australia may well be brought to a close. ART. (1901, January 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from

The State Governor Is in receipt of an intimation from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, through his Excellency the Governor-General to the effect that his Majesty the King has conferred upon the Art Society of New South Wales the title "Royal." ROYAL ART SOCIETY OF N.S.W. (1903, July 6).The Australian Star (Sydney, NSW : 1887 - 1909), p. 6. Retrieved from

The Progress of Australian Art
By William Moore
During the last ten years there has been a striking development in the advancement of Australian art. Summing up the event and tendencies I may note the following results: — 
( 1 ) The rise in prices which started with Streeton and culminated with Hilder. 
(2) The vogue of art publications which began with the Hilder school and Art in Australia. 
(3) The exhibition of Thirty Years of Australian Art at the National Gallery of New South Wales in 1918. 
(4) The success of some of the younger artists and the increase in the number of the friends of art. 
(5) The formation of the Australian Painter- Etchers Society. These phases mark the commencement of a new period; and the time seems opportune to review the past movements which helped lo establish art on the firm basis it enjoys to-day.

This Group was Photographed in the Early 'Nineties. 



ALTHOUGH the beginnings of art in this country may be traced to the  eighteenth century, the development of a distinctively Australian school practically begins with the eighties of the last century. A national school of art was founded in Melbourne in 1870, but most of the best-known Victorians of the elder generation, like Bunny, Mackennal, Streeton, Fox, Davies, Coates, Meldrum, and others, studied under the late Mr. G. F. Folingsby, who was appointed instructor in 1882. The Academy of Art in Sydney was started in 1871, but there was no marked advance till the founding of the Art Society of New South Wales in 1880. After that a more rapid progress is noticeable, and we reach the golden age of the later eighties, when Hopkins and May were producing their cartoons and some of the best known artists were on the staff of the 'Picturesque Atlas.' 

Then, also, John Longstaff won the first art travelling scholarship in Melbourne, and Roberts, Streeton, and Conder were camped on the heights of Eaglemont, at Heidelberg, on the Yarra.


Two later events I may note the founding of the Society of Artists in 1895, and the growing interest in the work of Norman Lindsay. 

FROM particulars supplied by well-known artists associated with the past years one gets some light on events between 1880 and 1900, the most picturesque period of our art history. 

'The Art Society was founded by my brother, the late Arthur Collingridge, and myself, because there was much dissatisfaction among artists regarding the control of the Academy of Art,' said Mr. George Collingridge regarding the beginnings of the society. ''A total eclipse of the moon, which was visible all over Australia, took place on the night of June 22nd, 1880, when the first meeting of the society was held. When I got home that evening I made and engraved a drawing called 'The Real Eclipse.' which I finished at 4 o'clock next morning. It represented the sun (the Art Society) eclipsing' the moon (the Academy of Art), and caused some discussion when it appeared in a paper the same week. At this time artists used to exhibit their pictures in the windows of music shops; so we went to Sir Henry Parkes and asked for a place for our exhibitions. He replied, 'Go over there,' indicating the Garden Palace, and later, when we asked for a subsidy, he said at once, 'You shall have it.’: So from the beginning Sir Henry Parkes was a good friend to the artists.''

AFTER spending some years abroad Mr. W. Lister-Lister returned to Sydney in 1888. I asked him to speak of this period. "It was a good time for black and white artists, but a poor one for painters. The picture-dealers sold surplus stuff from abroad, and no one was particularly keen on Australian work. The Government's appreciation of art at this time may be judged from the strange carvings on the Pitt-street facade of the General Post Office. When Lord Leighton saw photographs of these he said, 'Australia has uphill work indeed where such things are possible."

"But, like a cool breeze on a sultry day, a change came. The visit of H. S. Hopwood, the English painter, was very helpful, and when Streeton and Roberts came over here things seemed to go ahead. As a result of our English training Ashton, Fullwood, and myself were painting in low tones at this time, but after seeing Streeton's work we began to observe that the colour and atmosphere of the landscape were brighter than we had previously realised. We used to meet at the Growlers' Corner at the Cafe Francaise in those glad days, when most of the men were doing well, and all were enthusiastic."

MR. A. J. FISHER, one of the oldest members, spoke of the sketch club associated with the Art Society, which was attended by Hopkins, May, Ashton, Minns, Schell, Smedley, Fitler, Nerli, and others. "The subject for the drawing was given out a month before,' said Mr. Fisher, 'but May never remembered it. 'What is it?' he would ask, and, sitting down at the corner of a table, he would do his drawing in a few minutes.' On this page is his conception of 'Curiosity,' the subject chosen for one evening. 'Another interesting figure was Charles Conder, who had a fine sense of colour, but at this time was a poor draughtsman. He was quite apologetic about drawing for the Illustrated Sydney News,' saying that by doing so he was taking the bread from the mouths of better artists. But Conder, like the rest, had to earn his own living'. He was much struck with what Roberts (who had returned from the Continent) told him about impressionism, and not long after he joined Roberts and Streeton in Melbourne, where in 1899 the trio held their historic Impressionists' Exhibition, a leading critic of the time denouncing some of the works as 'distressing as incoherent images which float through the mind of a dyspeptic dreamer. Of course, impressionism was new then. 

'Frank Mahony,' continued Mr. Fisher, 'was a remarkably clever painter who rather lacked confidence in himself. He always needed bucking up, and nothing bucked him up like an exhibition, where he completed his pictures on varnishing day.

'As in the Days of Old' was only half painted when it was sent in, but he did wonders with it in one day, never stopping from 10 till dusk.' Referring to the fire at the Garden Palace in 1882, when all the works sent in for selection for the annual exhibition were consumed, Mr. Fisher said that as the collection was insured for £3000 the artists regarded their loss with equanimity, one painter getting sufficient compensation to enable him to take a trip to the Continent. In the opinion of Mr. Henry Fullwood the bright period in Sydney extended from 1887 to 1897. 

''During this time,'' he remarked, 'not only the leading Australian artists, but visitors, like George Walton, H. S. Hopwood. R. Atkinson, G. Nerli, Louriero.Lucien Henri, F. B. Schell, W. T. Smedley, W. O. Fitler, were attracted here. We were all hard at it then, and Phil May early in this period was amusing everyone with his black – and white. I frequently met May, and introduced him to the Rev. Mr. Brophy, a retired clergyman, who was the artist's inspiration for his well-known drawing 'When I Am Old.' Mr. Fullwood took a leading part in forming the Society of Artists; but I will introduce Mr. D. H. Souter to relate the incidents of the eventful night when a number of professional artists broke away from the old society to start the new. 


'There was a scene of disorder when all our men were not elected, ' said Mr. Souter. 'I 'moved' the president out of the chair, and wild resolutions were passed, while above the din could be heard the voice of Fullwood, who was denouncing the other side as 'a lot of dingbats' — a phrase as applied to artists which has since become permanent. Subsequently, about midnight, on the steps at the General Post Office, an informal meeting was held to form the new society, money was collected for advertisements to announce the next meeting, and in the back room of an oyster saloon in Pitt-street i wrote a paragraph to inform the citizens of Sydney of the big secession. That was about 1 a.m., and then we went home.' 

Mr. Souter went on to recall the day Lambert's picture 'Across the Black Soil Plains' was brought before the selection committee of the society. 'Lambert sent word to leave a space for him, as he would be working up to the last minute,' said Mr. Souter.





OLD-TIMERS (1889) : Standing: F. B. Schell, Livingston Hopkins. 
A SKETCH CLUB GROUP Sitting W. C. Fitler, Phil May, Julian Ashton, W. T. Smedley

'He had been painting himself into a fever over it, and one of his eyes had been affected by the strain. The big canvas was brought in late in the afternoon, and the artist, looking quite exhausted, sank into a chair. 'There it is,' he said; 'I've been painting till my head's been going round, and I don't know whether those things there are horses or bullocks.' It was the terrific strain under which he completed this work that gave such an extraordinary effect of force to the picture.' Dissatisfied with his first rendering of the subject, Lambert repainted the whole composition in three weeks.


THE social side of the Society of Arts' exhibitions was recalled by Mr. Sid. Long, "Tom Roberts, our first president," said Mr. Long, "introduced stage management into art shows. He was the first Australian artist to go to Government House and sign his name in the visitors' book, and so he started a movement that gave the society's exhibitions a certain social attraction. There was a series of afternoon entertainments arranged by a ladies' committee, and on one occasion Mrs. J. C. Williamson brought all the members of the Wilson Barrett company to some function. No one saw any pictures that day; they were too busy picking out celebrities."

"Then there were the smoke nights, when little comic operas written by Billy Beattie and composed by the late Goring Thomas were a big attraction.' 
Mr. Long went on to refer to what may be called the amalgamated period. ''In connection with the first exhibition when the two societies were united,'' he continued, 'it was felt that the low-toned compositions of the former members of the Society of Artists might be overshadowed by the broader effects of colour favoured by members of the Art Society. So I told the boys I would paint an 'amalgamated picture;' I would strike a top note, and the scheme of the composition would be burning red, and, looking round for something strong in colour, but women gave opportunities for design. I came across the flaming flamingoes at the Zoo.  I have painted more decorative flamingoes since, but 'Flamingoes' still remains the most popular of my pictures in the Gallery.''


'Every society lives on its young blood.' Mr. Julian Ashton was referring to the young painters who had come on in his time. He has seen quite a line of them, and, in a sporting phrase, he has always backed the right horse. For instance, Streeton was only 23 years of age when Mr. Ashton showed confidence in his talent by securing the young artist's 'Still Glides the Stream' for the Sydney Gallery. It was purchased in 1890, six years before the Melbourne Gallery bought a work by this artist. Norman Lindsay was 20, and looked younger, when Mr. Ashton first met him in Melbourne. 'He was a thin, slight chap with eager, brilliant eyes,' said Mr. Ashton. 'He was full of nervous energy, and had the same remarkable flow of words as he has today. When he showed me his Boccaccio drawings I thought it was extraordinary that such a youthful looking artist could have done them. I wanted to raise money to send him abroad, but meanwhile he had received strong inducements to stay in Sydney. His work created a great deal of discussion when it was first exhibited. I remember a well known lady saying, ;' 'This man should not be allowed to live; he should be killed.' Calling Norman over, I said to him, 'Allow me to introduce you to a lady who wants to have you killed.' In intellectual capacity I consider that Lindsay stands first among Australians today. He is the only man to whom the word genius can be applied. .  'Well,' resumed Mr. Ashton, 'art has made great advances here. Some people are afraid of a slump, but we have reached a period when Australians take a pride in their artists, and that should give us confidence. At the same time we mustn't think we are on the top of the wave of success; we still need in the forefront of Australian art men of high ideals. It is one thing to gain success, and another to hold it.' 

There is no space in the present article to deal with the early development of black-and-white, and to refer to the pioneering work of such artists as the late Arthur Collingridge, the late Montague Scott, George Collingridge, Alfred Clint, C. H. Hunt, and William McLeod. The last-named was connected with the 'Sydney Mail.' 


HAVING given a brief and imperfect outline of the growth of art at home, I may now refer to the progress of Australian artists abroad. It is about forty years since the first left here for London and Paris, and since then the works of Australians have been bung at most of the important exhibitions in Great Britain, the Continent, and America. 

Two artists, Rupert Bunny and the late E. Phillips Fox, were elected societaires, and G. W. Lambert, George Coates, and Bessie Davidson have been elected associates of the New Salon. At the Old Salon four of our artists— the late E. Phillips Fox, Arthur Streeton, Norman Carter, and Violet Teague — have been awarded medals, and nine have been awarded mentions honourable. 

Three artists — Rupert Bunny, the late Charles Conder, and Hilda Rix-Nicholas — are represented in the Luxembourg, Paris; and Bertram MacKennal, A.R.A., Harold Parker, and C. Web Gilbert are represented in the Tate -Gallery, London. The works of other Australians are to be found in other galleries in Great Britain, the Continent, and America. Fullwood is represented in the Municipal Gallery in Johannesburg, and James Quinn in a gallery in Tokio; so it may be observed that in forty years the art of Australians has spread round the world. The Progress of Australian Art (1921, August 24). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 8. Retrieved from 

' Sir,-If the general public remembered that the Lambert exhibition, at present In the Education Department's gallery, will close on the 12th. of this month, those people who have realised it would not be strolling from one masterly work to another in such unjostled comfort. This loan exhibition Is of absorbing interest, containing, as it does, so much of Lambert's recent and best work, which has never been assembled before, and, since a great deal of it is from private collections, will never be seen In this way again. It is interesting, too, to contrast it with the excellent exhibition lately held In Horderns' art gallery. Here the exhibits are almost entirely different, and the effect of them is concentrated. The whole gives a deep impression of power, versatility,  and an energy that is never slip-shod in its swiftness. It is no wonder that not one of these loan pictures is for sale.
I am, etc.,
DOROTHEA MACKELLAR. Pittwater, Dec. 6.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. (1930, December 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

George Lambert — Famous Artists Sudden Death
The late George Lambert was pre-eminent among Australia's painters — one of the finest that this country has produced. In 1922 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, and was the first Australian to achieve that honour.

WHILE spending a holiday at Cobbitty he died suddenly. He was found on Thursday evening lying beside some wood he had been splitting in a paddock near the house in which he was staying. He had been under treatment for heart trouble for some time, and had been advised to give up work for a while, but the love for art was too great, and he was frequently seen with easel and palette sketching the landscapes he loved so well. The funeral took place on Saturday at South Head Cemetery, the interment being preceded by a service at St. Mark's, Darling Point.

WE shall sadly miss George Lambert. From time to time he came out al the local exhibitions with a picture that was ol' outstanding quality, and few there were of his contemporaries in the last few years who dared put up one alongside it and price it at the figure Lambert could command. His personality was notable. He was easily dis-tinguishable from the masses by reason of the reddish beard he wore, which, as fashion goes nowadays, is a rarity. Many were inclined lo accuse him of theatri-calism, but to the discerning eye every picture that saw the light from his hand contained the unmistakable stamp of sincerity, and the man was as sincere as his work. Much of his assumed theatricalism was jest. He had the rare faculty of making his pictures out-standingly distinctive. When he painted a portrait it was more of a genre painting than portrait. Take that striking one now in the National Art Gallery entitled 'The White Glove". It was a portrait, but the man's artistic reaching-out temperament, the irresistible desire to do something more than present a copy of nature, compelled him to get away from the conventional. The ordinary was to him impossible, and artistry came out above all else, based unmistakably on sound craftsman-ship. So the portrait of Miss Somebody or Other became a picture, with a title that characterised its most prominent characteristic. The portrait he painted of himself is another in the same way — an excellent pic-ture of George Lambert, but one that arrested the at-tention because of the sheer Lambertism embodied in it. His pencil heads are delightful — light, ethereal things, without contrasts, but drawn with a master hand, the perfection of pencil work. Sculpture was part of his work with which we were not so well acquainted. We are not so familiar with Lambert statues or groups as we might have been had he been allowed another decade on earth, but the casts of the Henry Lawson memorial, another to the Unknown Soldier that is to be placed in St. Mary's Cathedral, and the striking work for the Geelong Gram-mar School are of outstanding qualities, all bearing the note of distinctiveness that marked everything he did. George Lambert was born at St. Petersburg in 1873, and was brought to Australia by his grandfather. When a boy he saw life on a station, and came to know the horses he loved so well. It was a characteristic that he should often be seen on horseback about Sydney when everybody else was riding in motor-cars. He had various employment in Sydney as a youngster — once in an office in Clarence-street, and again in a Government shipping office. For a year he was a station hand. Endowed by nature with the constant de-sire to draw and paint, he was always at work at his hobby, and in 1899 won a scholarship which enabled him to go to Europe for three years, and he remained in England, becoming eventually a member of the Inter-national Society of Sculptors, Painters, and Gravers, an associate of the New Salon, an associate of the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts, and an associate of the Royal Academy. He was a foundation member of the Modern Society of Portrait Painters. The War Museum contains a great number of his works. He was official Australian artist with the Light Horse in Palestine. After his return to Australia he painted many portraits. 



The picture in the N.S.W. National Art Gallery which was painted in his youth and which still lives in popularity in numberless prints. George Lambert—Famous Artist's Sudden Death (1930, June 4). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 15. Retrieved from

Buttrey - Lister Notes

November 30.— Ralph Bernal, barque, 315 tons, Captain M'Laren, from the Downs the 23rd June. Passengers— Mrs. M'Laren, Mr. Buttrey, Mr. Urkutt, and Mr. Capehone. ARRIVALS. (1849, December 1). The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (NSW : 1844 - 1860), p. 300. Retrieved from

Ezekiel King was indicted for stealing three kegs of butter, the property of John Armitage  Buttrey. The jury found the prisoner guilty. He was further charged with stealing a case of sealing-wax, the property of John Godfrey Cohen and another. The jury found the prisoner guilty, and he was remanded for sentence. Mr. Shuttleworth appeared for the defence. SYDNEY QUARTER SESSIONS. (1856, August 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from 

TO ISLAND TRADERS - Imported specially for this trade by the undersigned, ex Coleroon and Granite City
Muskets and bayonets (made to order)
English made fowling-pieces
Looking glasses
Also to arrive per Light of the Age, Victoria Regis, &c., &c. -
Butchers' knives and other cutlery Hall's F gunpowder, in kegs.
All guaranteed suitable for the above market.
JOHN A. BUTTREY and CO., 23, Wynyard-lane.
ENFIELD RIFLES. - The undersigned have a lot of these fine weapons, by a first-rate Birmingham maker, and guaranteed precisely as used in H.M. service. JOHN A BUTTREY and Co., 23, Wynyard-laneAdvertising (1859, December 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from 

SUPPLEMENTARY RETURN" of Spirit Merchants and Brewers, whose Registrations for the current year have been notified to the Chief Inspector of Distilleries, by the Clerks of Petty Sessions, in accordance with the Act, 13 Victoria, No. 26:—
J. A. Buttrey & Co. (removal)

Chief Inspector of Distilleries. Sydney,. 21st August, 1861. Government Gazette Notices (1861, August 23). New South Wales Government Gazette(Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 1816. Retrieved from

TO be peremptorily sold, pursuant to a decree of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in its Equitable Jurisdiction, made in a cause wherein John Armytage Buttrey, on behalf of himself and all other unsatisfied creditors of George Vile, deceased, is plaintiff, and Hannah Vile and others are defendants, with the approbation of the Master in Equity of the said Court, by Messrs. Mort & Co., at the Royal Hotel, Mudgee, in the said Colony, on Monday, the 23rd day of September now next, in the forenoon :—Certain freehold hereditaments and premises, situate in the Town and District of Mudgee, being alllotment number eight of section 2, and numbers 3, 8, IS, 16, 17, 18, and 20 of section 12, number 13, section 28; also suburban allotment number 13, village reserve at Windere, and 640 acres in the County of Wellington, on M'Donald's Creek, late the property of George Vile, formerly of Mudgee, innkeeper, now deceased. Particulars may be had gratis, at the Master's Chambers, King-street, Sydney; of Mr. Wiliam Hellyer, Solicitor for the plaintiff; of Mr. John Russell Jones, Solicitor, King-street Sydney; and of Mr W. R. Templeton, Solicitor for the defendants, Court-street, Mudgee; also at the Auctioneers' Booms; and of Mr. Mills at Royal Hotel, Mudgee.—Dated this 24th day of August, a. d. 1861.

Master in Equity. 
William Hellyer,
Solicitor for the Plaintiff,'
84, King-street, Sydney.  TO be peremptorily sold, pursuant to a decree of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, in its (1861, September 3). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 1909. Retrieved from

E. K. Bateson, brig, 162 tons, Captain M'Leod, from Fortuna (S. S. I.) 24th May. Passengers-Rev. H. Mondon, Miss Angestine, Mr. and Mrs. Buttrey and family, Mr. Crocker, and 2 natives. J. A. Buttrey, agent. SHIPPING. ARRIVALS.—JUNE 18. (1862, June 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from 

Light of the Age, from London - J. A. Buttrey and Co ; 204 packages, J. T. Armitage and Co. ; 823 packages,  Shipping Gazette (1863, January 24).Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), p. 9. Retrieved from 

Departure  August 9,- Eliza K. Bateson, for Sydney, ADELAIDE. (1865, August 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from 

ARRIVALS.-- Sept. 18
Eliza K. Bateson, brig, 163, Peverley, from Wellington. C. F. Stokes and Co., agents. NEWCASTLE SHIPPING. (1868, September 19). The Newcastle Chronicle (NSW : 1866 - 1876), p. 2. Retrieved from 

Randwick Ward.
Parishes of Alexandria and Botany: Bounded on the east from a point on the centre of Fern-street, bearing west from the south-west corner of J. A. Buttrey's 2 acres 1 rood and 34 perches, by a line southerly, along the centre of Fern-street to the centre of Susan-street; ...Government Gazette Proclamations and Legislation (1869, May 25). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 1373. Retrieved from

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
In the will of John Armitage Lister, formerly of Bedford, in the county of Bedford, England, but late of Moyne Villa, Granada Road, Southsea, in the county of Southampton, England, gentleman, deceased.
NOTICE is hereby given that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof, application will be made to this Honorable Court, in its Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, that letters of administration, with exemplification of the will of the abovenamed deceased, who died at Moyne Villa aforesaid, on the 12th day of January, 1886, annexed, which will was, on the 16th day of April, 1886, duly proved by Eliza Kirkby Lister, widow of the said deceased, the sole executrix named therein, in the District Registry attached to the Probate Division of the High Court of Justice at Winchester, in the county of Southampton, England, may be granted to Abram Bateson Lister, of Short-street, Balmain, near Sydney in the Colony of New South Wales, engineer, the duly constituted attorney of the said Eliza Kirkby Lister,—Dated this 17th day of February, A.D. 1887.
SPAIN & MOORE, Proctors for the said Applicant, 6 & 8, Exchange, Sydney. In the Supreme Court of New South Wales. ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION. (1887, February 18). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 1204. Retrieved from 

William Lister Lister (1859–1943)

JENKINS—WALDRON.—January 22, at Pyrmont Bridge-road, Glebe, by the Rev. Dr. Fullerton, Alfred Matcham Jenkins, youngest son of the late William Warren Jenkins, Esq., J.P., of Berkley, Illawarra, to Bessie Emily Waldron, third daughter of Alfred Waldron, Esq., of Springhill, Illawarra.  Family Notices (1885, February 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from 

Jenkins v. Jenkins. — In this case Bessie Emily Jenkins sued for a divorce from her husband, Alfred Jenkins, on the grounds of cruelty and drunkenness. Petitioner stated that she was married to respondent at Sydney in 1885, respondent being a man of independent means. Soon after the marriage respondent developed habits of intemperance and violent outbreaks of temper towards petitioner. In February 1891, petitioner in consequence of her husband's conduct left him. On the 8th of that month he threatened to take her life, and next morning he struck her, knocking her down. He also struck the baby, 15 months old, over the head with a cane. This occurred at Wollongong, and immediately afterwards she left him and came to Sydney, where she has frequently seen him in the streets in a drunken state. Under a settlement from respondent, petitioner was in receipt of an income of about £200 a year. His Honor granted the decree nisi, the petitioner to have the custody, of the children — two girls. It was also directed that the respondent should be allowed access to the children once a week at petitioner's house.  Divorce Court. (1894, August 13). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from 

THE wedding of Miss Muriel Lister-Lister, daughter of the well-known artist, Mr. W. Lister-Lister and Mrs. Lister- Lister, of Mosman, to Mr. Geoffrey Lamb, was celebrated at St. James's Church on Saturday. The bride wore a lovely gown of Ivory tissue with panels of lace and a silver bandeau clustered with roses. Mrs. Philip Goldey was matron of honour and Mr. W. O. Cromwell best man. The reception was held at the Australia, where Mrs. W. Lister-Lister received the guests. They Included Mr. and Mrs. Bateson Lister, Mr. and Mrs. T. Marshall, Mr., Mrs. and Miss Oxnard Smith, Mr. Charles Bryant, Miss Alice Bryant, Mrs. D'Arcy Williams, Mrs. W, J. Wall, Mrs. M. Taylor, find Mr. and Mrs., W, R, Bennett. WEDDING (1926, October 25). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 13 (FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved from

Mr William Lister-Lister, 83, the Australian painter, of Redan Street, Mosman, was fatally injured by a taxi-cab driven by a woman in Military Road, near Spit Junction, Mosman, on Saturday. His leg was broken and he suffered head injuries from which he died six hours later in hospital.

Mr. Lister-Lister who was born in Sydney was educated in England. As a boy he showed at once his love of painting. At 17 years of age he exhibited three watercolours at the Royal Scottish Academy.

His parents were not in favour of painting as a means of livelihood so he entered the College of Science and Mechanics at Glasgow and studied mechanical engineering for four years. During this time he joined the Mungo Art Club, Glasgow, as its youngest member. He went to sea for four years becoming chief engineer at the age of 25.

Later he started as a painter in London where he sold landscapes and seascapes. In 1888 he returned to Sydney after an absence of 20 years and he was placed on the council of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales the following year. He remained a vice-president for two years and in 1898 was elected president, a position he filled to the end of his life. In 1899 he was appointed by the New South Wales Government a member of the board of trustees of the National Art Gallery and in 1919 he was chosen a vice-president with Mr Henry Gorman.

Many of Mr Lister-Lister’s pictures are hung in the Sydney and other Australian Art Galleries, including those of Adelaide and Geelong. His painting ‘Ever Restless Sea’ is in the Sydney National Gallery and his painting of Canberra, executed in 1913 was bought by the Commonwealth Government. It won the prize for the best painting of the capital site. ARTIST KILLED BY TAXI (1943, November 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from

Two of William Lister's brothers returned to Australia:

LISTER,-May 25, 1928, at a private hospital, John Kirkby, beloved brother of Bateson and William Lister. Family Notices (1928, May 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from 

John Kirkby Bateson Lister, formerly of 64 Masons Hill, in the county of Kent, England, but late of 35 Wharf-road, Balmain, New South Wales, died 25th May, 1928; administration, with an exemplification of probate of the will, granted by the Principal Probate Registry of His Majesty's High Court of Justice in England annexed, granted to the Public Trustee, the attorney of Arthur Marshall Lister, the sole executor named in the said will, for the use and benefit of the said executor and limited till he shall apply for and obtain a grant on 16th January, 1929. PROBATE JURISDICTION. (1929, January 18). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 380. Retrieved from 

Abram Bateson Lister- born at Manly, 1857
LISTER.—June 23, 1932, suddenly, at his residence, 35 Wharf-road, Snails Bay, Balmain, A. Bateson Lister, beloved husband of Gertrude Lister. Family Notices (1932, June 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from 

Mr. A. Bateson Lister died suddenly at his residence, Wharf-road, Snails Bay, Balmain, on Thursday, aged 75. For 40 years he held a responsible, position in Mort's Dock. Born at Manly, he was educated in England and France. In 1884 he married Gertrude Catherine Croll, only daughter of Colin Croll, superintendent of the Highland Railways, Scotland. A year later he returned to Australia with his wife, settled in Snails Bay, and Joined the staff at Mort's Dock, continuing in its service till his retirement some years ago. He is survived by Mrs. Lister, a sister, Miss Lister, of Falmouth (England), and two younger brothers, William Lister Lister, the well-known artist, of Mosman, and Dr. Lister, of Norfolk (England). For many years Mr. Bateson Lister took a great interest in yachting, and was also associated with the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club. The funeral took place at South Head on Friday. MR. BATESON LISTER. (1932, June 27).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from 

A few other family relations:
Marriages - NSW Births, Deaths, Marriages Records

To the Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald.

GENTLEMEN,--By to-day's paper, I see that I was reported as being intoxicated at the time that the case related occurred. I beg that you will insert the names of the officers and men belonging to the ship, who are ready to swear to the contrary, and likewise of strangers who saw me shortly before and after the affair took place. Signatures by their own hands.

Joseph Thwaites, third mate
Patrick Simpson, second mate 
Edward Durney, fourth mate
Arbuthnott Goldsmith, midshipman 
R. Carreg, midshipman
C. Stephen Adcock, midshipman 
G. S. Dampier, midshipman
R. N. N. Hawkes, midshipman 
W. J. Brooke, midshipman 
James Taylor, carpenter 
A. Lushart, steward
Charles Sanders, cuddy servant 
Peter Smith, Ab. 
Thomas Brown 
George Hill
Henry M'Lean
William Bear, cook 
Henry Simmott 
James Stunten, baker 
Walter Peelfbrd ."' , 
Isaac F. King
David Gardiner 
George Lewsley 
William Croft
Thomas Slaiter
Samuel Coddard 
Thomas Powell
William Fordham, butcher 
George Grimes
John Canty, fiddler 
Thomas Wellings
Edward T. Herbert
James Barnes, three mates' steward Thomas Hutchinson, cuddy servant

To the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. GENTLEMEN, In perusing your paper of today, I find Mr, Mitchell Millar, chief officer per Resolute, is accused of being intoxicated while performing the duty of said vessel, which I can, and am ready to go on oath that he was not.

(Signed) WM. MITCHELL,
Chief Officer, per Phoenician.
George C. Buttrey, discharging on wharf as clerk
Matthew Burt, second officer of the ship Rajah of Sarawak, at 5 r.M.
James Masters, chief officer, ship Rajah of Sarawak, 5 r.M.

Chief Officer ship Resolute. November 6. Advertising (1851, November 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

Births - NSW State Records of Births, Deaths Marriages:
BUTTREY    ELIZA            2/1850 V18502 37A         Parents: GEORGE        ALICIA
BUTTREY  JAMES J   232/1846   V1846232 31A          GEORGE C   ALICIA
BUTTREY  GEORGE W  252/1844 V1844252 28

CORONER'S INQUEST.-DEATH BY DROWNING. - On Tuesday morning, an inquest was held by the Coroner, at the Rose Inn, George street North, on view of the body of James Buttrey, a fine little boy, five years of age, who was drowned on Sunday evening, off Lamb's Wharf. The father of the boy, who is storekeeper to Messrs. Lamb, Parbury, and Co., and resides at the Wharf, stated, that on Sunday evening the child was playing about the door whilst his parents were at tea, and, being missed, one of the elder children was sent to look for him ; directly afterwards, he was heard to cry " Dada ! dada !" from the water ; and the father, rushing out, found him struggling close to the brink. The water was about five feet deep there. He was instantly taken out, but life then appeared extinct; and although Dr. Greenup, who was immediately on the spot, used every means for nearly two hours to resuscitate him, it was of no avail. There were two marks on the child's fore-head, which were probably caused by falling on the rock. Dr. Greenup gave it as his opinion that death was the result of suffo-cation from drowning, and the Coroner having feelingly commented on the urgent necessity for the most careful surveillance of children of tender age in locales where danger (as in the present case) was always impending. The Jury returned a verdict of accidental death. No title (1851, April 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

BUTTREY—WALKER—May 26th, by special license, by the Rev. B. Quaife, M. A., Nathan Gough, eldest son of Mr. James Buttrey, of this city, wool broker, and grandson of the late John Buttrey, Esq., of Bruncliffe Lodge, near Leeds, to Mary Anne, second daughter of Mr. William Walker, of Newtown. Family Notices (1869, June 16). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from

On the 12th instant, at her residence, No. 4, Agenoria-terrace, Gipps-street, Mrs. NATHAN GOUGH BUTTREY, of a son. Family Notices (1873, May 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

BUTTREY.—September 19, at her residence, Cyprus Cottage, Mort-street, Balmain, the wife of Mr. Nathan Gough Buttrey, of a son. Family Notices (1874, September 25). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

BUTTREY.—January 5, at his residence, Long View, Point Piper Road, Woollahra, Mr. James Buttrey, wool broker, in his 75th year. Family Notices (1875, January 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

BUTTREY. - January 21, suddenly, at her residence, Bruntcliffe, Woollahra, Ann, relict of the late James Buttrey. Family Notices (1882, January 28). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 41. Retrieved from

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
In the will of Ann Buttrey, late of Woollahra, near Sydney, in  the Colony of New South Wales, widow, deceased. NOTICE is hereby given, that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof in the Government Gazette of New South Wales, application will be made to this Honorable Court, in its Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, that probate of the last will and testament of the abovenamed deceased may be granted to Elizabeth Armitage Buttrey, of Woollahra, aforesaid, spinster, the executrix named and appointed therein, leave being reserved for Nathan Gough Buttrey, of Queensland, master mariner, the executor named and appointed therein, to come in and prove.—Dated this 27th day of February, 1882.
Proctor for tho said Executrix,
Wentworth Court, Elizabeth-street, Sydney. ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION. (1882, February 28). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 1181. Retrieved from

BUTTREY.-December 8, 1886, drowned through collision at sea, Nathan Gough Buttrey, commander s.s. Keilawarra, in his 47th year; born at Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England; dearly beloved husband of Mary Buttrey, of Annandale-street, Annandale, leaving two children; eldest son of the late James Buttrey, of Woollahra, Sydney. Home papers please copy.Family Notices (1886, December 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from

At the time of the disaster and for some weeks previously the Keilawarra was under the command of Captain N. G. Buttrey, a navigator of considerable experience, who has been long and favourably known on the Queensland and New South Wales coasts from his connection with the A.S.N. Company, which extended over thirteen years. Captain Buttrey entered the service of the A.S.N. Company in the capacity of third officer, and owing to his genial and kindly disposition soon became a general favourite. He gained rapid promotion, and commanded in succession the steamers Queensland, Governor Blackall, and Glanworth. The first-named vessel was then trading between Brisbane and Rockhampton; the second in the same trade and also to Cooktown; and the Glanworth plied regularly between Brisbane and Cooktown, carrying the mails under contract with the Government. About eighteen months ago the Glanworth, which was then in command of Captain Buttrey, ran on the rocks at the entrance to Port Denison, sustaining serious damage. Owing to this misfortune the company dispensed with his services, but it was not long before he was taken into the service of Messrs., Wm. Howard Smith and Sons. Until he was promoted to be captain of the Keilawarra when she came out of the Melbourne dock a few weeks ago he held no fixed command, having previous to that acted as chief officer or relieving captain in various boats of the company. Captain Buttrey, who was a fine robust man, was in the prime of life, being about 45 years of age. He leaves a widow and two children to mourn their loss. CAPTAIN BUTTREY. (1886, December 18). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), p. 989. Retrieved from

Very little information is obtainable regarding the passengers whose lives have been lost by the disaster. Major McDonald held a very high position in Sydney, and was widely known. He was for many years the secretary of the New South Wales Shale and Oil Company, and was afterwards engaged in business as agent and importer. He was the commanding officer of the 5th Regiment of Volunieera (Scotch Rifles) and hon. secretary of the Highland Society of New South Wales. He had no family. His wife is a sister of Mr. J.H. Young, M.L.A. One of his brothers, Mr. James McDonald is a member of the firm of Mason Bros., general merchants, and another brother, Mr. Ebenezer McDonald, is manager of the Sydney branch of the Federal bank.

Mr Robert Wilson, who was accompanied by his wife was lately a director of the Queensland Mortgage and Agency Company Brisbane, and was widely known in that city. Mrs. Wilson is stated to have been a Miss Carandini. Miss Calder is supposed to be a daughter of Captain Calder, an old and well 
known commander in the service of the A.S.N. Company. Mrs. Johnston, who with her child has been lost, was the wife of a gentleman connected with the Manly Aquarium. Captain Buttrey was one of the oldest and most highly respected officers of Messrs. Howard Smith and Sons. He was 45 years of age and leaves a wife and a small family. Mr. John Thompson, the well known bookmaker, was to have sailed in the Keilawarra, but at the last moment he changed his mind and took his passage in the Cintra, which left the same afternoon.

The Helen Nicoll, which belongs to Messrs. John See and Co., is an iron screw steamer, built in 1882, by Messrs. Gourlay Brothers, of Dundee. The following are her dimensions, &c. -Length, 157ft, beam, 22ft, depth of hold, 10ft. 3in , tonnage, 240 net, 354 gross , engines, 85 horse power. She has been engaged trading between the Clarence River and Sydney for the last four years, and is a stout little boat. She is insured in the Mercantile Marine Company of South Australia for £9000, which it is estimated will cover two thirds of her value.

The steam-tug Gamecock was despatched from Newcastle at about 4 o'clock this after noon to meet the Helen Nicoll and the Australian, which passed Seal Rocks, 110 miles from Sydney, at 6.10 p.m. The Gamecock is expected to return to Newcastle with some of the passengers late to-night.

The last telegram from Newcastle states that the Australian and the Helen Nicoll passed the Nobbys, southward, at 20 minutes past 11, not intending to put into Newcastle The tug Gamecock, which was sent out to render assistance and bring in any passengers that might wish to come to Newcastle returned to port at half past 11. Captain Marr reported that he met the Helen Nicoll and the Australian 10 miles south of Seal Rocks. He went alongside the Australian, and asked if Captain Pegg required assistance, and got a reply, "No. We are pushing on as fast as possible for Sydney." Captain Marr asked if he thought it necessary to go to the scene of the collision. Captain Pegg replied, " No, you can do no good. The Keilawarra went down in 10 minutes." Nothing transpired as to the cause of the collision. Captain Marr then went alongside the Helen Nicoll for particulars, but the captain of that vessel referred him to Captain Pegg, who said that he had sent particulars to Sydney. No further Information could be obtained.

Captain Marr says that the bow of the Helen Nicoll was cut away as far as the fish davit, but not below the water. The width of the hole was about 15ft. Captain Marr expressed an opinion that if rough weather came on, the Helen Nicoll would not get to Sydney. The Australian and the Helen Nicoll were abreast of each other in close company when the Gamecock left them.

The news of the wreck of the Keilawarra caused a great shock, particularly at Maryborough, where the Scheppers family were returning home after a twelve month's absence in Germany, whence they returned to Sydney a fortnight ago. LATEST PARTICULARS. (1886, December 10). The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 8. Retrieved from

The Keilawarra disaster is one of the most appalling and heartrending that has ever happened on the Australian coast. All the survivors who have made statements agree that the night was not one of the kind upon which such an event us a collision might have been expected to occur. There was no thick haze or fog, there was a moon, and a comparatively smooth sea ; and it therefore' remains a mystery how the two steamers ran into one another without knowing anything about it until they struck against each other. The truth of the matter will probably be ascertained by the official tribunal which deals with 'such cases. The narratives are, of a very graphic character, and they describe the scene on both steamers after the collision as being something awful in the frightful consternation. Wild confusion and utter helplessness of the large majority of those on board. ' For a few moments both steamers were thought to be foundering, and the frantic rushing to and fro of the bewildered passengers, . their cries for aid, and the crowning calamity if. the Keilawarra sinking amidst a cloud of hissing steam which arose from her own boiler fires when the sea water got to them, made up a scene which those who witnessed will not readily forget. 

Captain Buttrey is credited with having behaved with heroic courage, and with never having attempted to save himself while so many of his ship's company were awaiting death. The Rev. W. Gray, one of the passengers of the Helen Nicoll, got on board the Keilawarra under the impression that the Helen Nicoll was sinking. He afterwards swam about when the Keilawarra went down and was picked up. According to the account of Mr. Alfred James, a comedian, who had gone by the Keilawarra from Sydney, he was lying in his bunk between a quarter and twenty minutes past 8 p.m. on Wednesday, reading the account of the wreck of the Corangamite, he felt a shock. His first impression was they had run on a rock. He rushed on deck at once, in his pyjamas, and saw the Helen Nicoll with her nose through the fore part of the Keilawarra. He returned quickly to the saloon, and before entering his own cabin awoke McGrade, the jockey, who was sleeping opposite to him. Mr. James left McGrade busy dressing, whilst he ran into his cabin, and slipping on his trousers and a singlet, put his money and ticket in his pocket and returned on deck. Everything there seemed to be in confusion. He made for the rigging, whence he saw, looking down, a scene that he describes as being heartrending in the extreme. The passengers were collected collected aft, in a struggling mass, from which one would dart out now and again and throw himself into the water. Seeing that the Keilawarra was sinking rapidly, he made his way on deck again, and finding no chance of getting into any of the boats, or rather, having witnessed the disaster which had followed the rushing of the dingy, he determined to try any means other than the boats for his life. He stripped off his superfluous clothing and dived into the sea. As he came to the surface some one jumped upon him, and nearly stunned him. As he came up again the swell of the sea caught him, and bore, him under once more. At last, just as he had abandoned hope, he succeeded in reaching the lifeboat, and was hauled in. On his way to the Helen Nicoll he saw the third mate in thep water, and tried to give him, first his hand, and then an end of rope, both of which, however, he missed. The first mate then sang out, "Pull out of this, for God's sake, ' or we are lost ! She's sinking!' The men bent to the oars, and the third mate was left behind.' The Keilawarra then settled down forward, until her stern almost stood perpendicularly out of the water, then she disappeared with startling rapidity. To those in the lifeboat it seemed that the four or five persons on the steamer waved their hands and hurrahed as she sank ; but one of the survivors has explained that this is mistaken for some of them putting up their arms to dive, whilst others gave a cry of horror. The last Mr. James saw of McGrade was when the jockey was standing fully dressed beside his three horses in their boxes on the starboard side of the ill-fated steamer. He seemed, to make no effort to save himself. Mr. James speaks in the highest terms of the third officer, who was perfectly self possessed throughout. When the men were trying to get one of the boats out he saved time by cutting away with a tomahawk at the ropes which suspended it, and Mr. James heard him say to them, ' Now, boys, remember, none of you jump this boat.' Charles Fyffe, a seaman of the, Keilawarra, gives the following account of the collision. Finding the ship was rapidly settling down, I ran aft and tried with others to lower the dingy. No sooner had she left the tackles and gripes than a crowd of panic stricken people wildly dashed into her, with the inevitable result that she swamped with all hands, several disappearing beneath the waves. Then, thinking I had a chance with the gig, I went for her. A similar scene occurred, and seeing my chance of escape by boats gone I commenced throwing seats and other moveable timber overboard, at the same time calling upon lady passengers to cast themselves into the sea. Very few, however, did so. At this time the water had reached the stoke hole. This fact was announced by a deafening hissing and dense clouds of steam from the soaked furnaces. Then three or four of us with the mate (I think the chief) and one or two engineers, cut the life boat adrift, and not a second to soon, for hardly had we taken to the boat than the Keilawarra went from under us, and a friendly wave swept the boat clear of the doomed ship, and we rode safely on the surface. I should think that as nearly, as I can judge, just seven minutes elapsed from the time of striking to the disappearance of the ship. The last I saw of the captain was as he stood on the bridge handing a life buoy to a passenger. One of the men, sang out to him to get into the boat, and the old man said, ' Never mind me, my man, save yourself.' I think the third mate was picked up half an hour after the disaster, clinging to some wreckage. OUR ILLUSTRATIONS. (1886, December 18). Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. : 1876 - 1889), p. 202. Retrieved from

Helen Nicoll. Keilawarra. Captain Buttrey, of the Keilawarra.

FATAL COLLISION BETWEEN THE STEAMERS HELEN NICOLL AND KEILAWARRA. The South Solitary. (1886, December 25). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 1307. Retrieved from
A Historic Catalogue And Record Of Pittwater Art I – Of Places, Peoples And The Development Of Australian Art And Artists: Coastal Landscapes and Seascapes - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2017

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