Sunday, May 25, 2014

Federation: this term's history focus

This second term we will be focusing on Federation, looking closely at what it involved, the plusses, the minuses, the interesting aspects, and of course the aboriginal perspective. This painting was created in May 1901 to commemorate Federation and the opening of the first Parliament of Australia. The painting was done by Tom Roberts and it was such an arduous job that it nearly killed him. His friends nick-named it "the big machine" and it took him over two years to complete.

Below you can see the Duke of Cornwall and York speaking in front of thousands of people. Robert was of course very excited to be officially commissioned to create such an important painting.

The painting is way bigger than most people imagine it to be, I was surprised at its impressive dimensions on a recent trip to Canberra parliament house where it now hangs. It hasn't been hanging here all the time you know! Where could it have been? Wouldn't it be interesting to know about the private lives of all those depicted?  Who were they all? Bet they weren't all squeaky is. And of course the aboriginal perspective is often missing from this stage of the Australian story.

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