A few weeks ago my blogging buddy Meg from “Snippetandsnaps” mentioned the Australian landscape artist William Robinson. I Looked him up on Google.
“Figurative expressionist painter William Robinson is considered one of Australia’s foremost living artists. He is recognised for his unique interpretation of the Australian landscape as well as his whimsical portraits and narrative scenes. Robinson was born in Queensland in 1936 and began painting in the 1960s. His broad, detailed images of the Australian bushland emphasising the skewed perspective of the beholder are among the most recognisable images of the Australian landscape. His humourous and imaginative self-portraits were awarded the Archibald Prize in 1987 and 1995. A major retrospective of his work was held in 2001 at the Queensland Art Gallery. A monograph of his work was published in the same year. In 2009 the William Robinson Gallery was opened at the QUT campus in Old Government House. “
I decided that we would have a day’s outing to Brisbane to view his art. We caught the 8-45am commuter train and it was packed. Not only workers on their daily commute to Brisbane, but young children and parents and grandparents going to visit the Ekka, the annual country comes to town show.
Just over an hour later we arrived at South Bank and walked across the “Goodwill Bridge”, a pedestrian and cyclist bridge that goes directly across the Brisbane River to the QUT (Queensland University of Technology).
Looking over the side of the bridge I could see the River Cat ferry swooping along from side to side picking up passengers, and a more sedate old-timer boat taking tourists sightseeing along the river. A few mellow people were relaxing over on the lawns of South Bank.
I had planned a full day, but top of the list was find the Old Government House to visit the “William Robinson Gallery”
So we entered the campus and the world of students.
As we entered the first thing I saw was this strange-looking sculpture. What ever is it? Can you guess? I thought maybe a pile of nuts, or a pile of poo!!! Jack sat and waited while I read the information plaque.
Well I would never have guessed that…
The stately old Government House faces the City Botanic Gardens (I am standing on the steps down to the gardens as I take this photo) and I also plan a wander through there later in the day.
“Old Government House was the hub of colonial life in the early days of Brisbane. Constructed between 1860 and 1862, shortly after Queensland achieved separation from New South Wales, the House was Queensland’s first public building. A rare surviving example of the domestic work of Queensland’s first Colonial Architect Charles Tiffin, the House was both a private residence and official state office for Governor Bowen, the colony’s first governor, and continued to be the home of Queensland’s governors until 1910.
Old Government House successively became the University of Queensland’s inaugural building (1910-1972) and the headquarters of the National Trust of Queensland (1972-2002). As one of Queensland’s most significant historical buildings, it was the first building in the state to be heritage listed in 1978. In 2002, the Queensland University of Technology accepted custodial responsibility for the House and undertook a lengthy restoration project. This included the delivery of an interpretative multimedia centre to highlight the cultural and historical significance of each part of this landmark colonial building.
Old Government House was reopened to the public in June 2009 as an historic house museum, a gallery housing the works of renowned Australian artist William Robinson and an elegant venue available to hire for private functions. Located centrally in Brisbane adjacent to the City Botanic Gardens, the House stands with renewed grandeur within the Gardens Point Campus of QUT.”
The grand old home is now dwarfed by the newer buildings of the campus, but it still appears to be the heart and on this warm day, students are clustered around in ones and twos and groups doing what students do on a beautiful Queensland day.
Time to people watch later, now it is time to go inside and immerse myself in the world of art.
The gallery is on the second floor so first a look around downstairs.
I can imagine the many grand balls and functions that were held here when this house was the centre of the newly created colony. Now these surroundings are for private hire.
The library/office is the only room with furniture and it is a museum to the National Park Movement celebrating 100 years of conservation.
But now it is past the baby grand piano and sweep up the stairs to the gallery…
The paintings dominate the space, they are breathtaking and have captured the colours and spirit of the native bush.
Photographs cannot fully capture the intensity of the layers and build up of texture that flows and ripples across the canvas.
The captions explain the paintings better than I can. So I will let the paintings talk to you.
I have taken this close-up so you can see the layer up on layer of paint. That corrugated iron could be the real thing. For 10 years in New Zealand I milked Jersey cows and I fell in love with these quirky popeyed ladies…
But this next painting was my favourite and I kept going back to savour the ethereal beauty of the bush.
Before we left I stepped out on to the balcony. What a magnificent position, this is looking straight into the City Botanic Gardens and over to the river.
But now it is time for lunch.
A rather trendy café is situated in the courtyard at the back of the house in what was the kitchen and servants quarters. But we decide to go over to the students food court and join them for the cheap and cheerful budget fare that students prefer. So armed with kebabs and chips we find a bench under the mature trees and watch the activity and plan the rest of the day.
The Art Museum is behind Old Government House and then a highly anticipated visit to the “Cube”. Before a look around the Botanic Gardens then catch the train back home.
“The Cube is one of the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display spaces dedicated to providing an inspiring, explorative and participatory experience of QUT’s Science and Engineering research.
The Cube consists of 48 multi-touch screens soaring across two storeys. Housed in QUT’s Science and Engineering Centre, The Cube is your hub for scientific and digital exploration.”
That sounds exciting.
But first the Art Museum…
THEN…. OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!
Now comes the downs…
Jack misses a step and goes hurtling down the steps landing heavily on his right shoulder. Three students rush over to help and as Jack is unable to get up straight away I ask one of them to phone for an ambulance. A tutor arrives and phones for a security guard and then rushes off to find a glass of water. Slowly we help Jack to his feet and he sits on a bench cradling his right arm and in pain.
Everyone is very concerned.
Eventually the ambulance arrives. The campus is like a rabbit warren and they had difficulty finding us.
The Ambos are very efficient and after taking his heart rate and finding the source of the pain in his right shoulder it is onto the stretcher and as heads turn and follow our progress, Jack is trundled through campus to where the ambulance is parked.
The hospital staff are amazing and efficient. A couple of hours later an x-ray had established that nothing was broken, but the shoulder was very bruised and sore. So having been given pain killers and the arm put in a sling we could head home.
So it will be another trip to Brisbane, when we can fit it in, to finish the sight-seeing around QUT.
This walk was not quite as far as I had planned Jo, so now I will have to come back again to finish it off…