We were very lucky to catch a temporary exhibition of the paintings of William Strutt, put together by the Library from is own collection and from other galleries.
Strutt was born in Devon, England, in 1825. He migrated to Australia in 1850 but returned to England in 1862. During the time he was here, as well as many other works, he painted two of Australia’s greatest history paintings, “Black Thursday” and “Bushrangers”, on show in this exhibition together for the first time.
Strutt failed to achieve much in the way of fame during his lifetime and had mixed success selling his work. But his contribution to Australian art has recently been reassessed as of considerable importance. His ability to draw the human figure and execute large, complex compositions sets him apart from other artists working in Australia in the mid-nineteenth century. His images emphasise the dangers of colonial life, from getting lost in the bush to bushranger bail-ups and bushfires.
Above right: Strutt exhibition - National Library.
Right: Bushrangers, 1887.
Left: Major General Edward Mcarthur, 1857.
Below: The Burial of Burke, 1861. Painted 1911.
High Court of Australia
What could possibly be interesting about a Court? That’s what we thought too, but decided to go anyway. Good move, as the experience was a highlight.
The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the Australian judicial system. Its functions are: to interpret and apply the law of Australia; to decide cases of special federal significance including challenges to the constitutional validity of laws; and hear appeals by special leave from federal, state and territory courts. The full bench consists of seven justices, including the Chief Justice.
From 1903 when it was created, the court sat first in Melbourne then in Sydney before moving to Canberra in 1980 when the new building was opened.
Below and right: the building itself is an outstanding example of late modern Brutalist architecture. It consists of 18,400 cubic metres of concrete, 4000 square metres of steel-framed glazing, and is 40 metres high.
Right: First sitting of the High Court of Australia, Banco Court, Melbourne, 6 October 1903. Painted by Marcus Beilby.