The Heidelberg School of painters are really a group of painters that often painted together around Melbourne, in various places, and yes, here in Heidelberg. I don’t remember when I first heard about them, but it was a long time before I ended up living in this area. They had always fascinated me, something about a group of people going out to paint together. It a period of Impressionism, and plein air painting. They would come to Heidelberg on the train in the late 1800’s set up camps and paint. You can find lots of information about them on a site called In The Artist’s Footsteps.
I look at the paintings and I know a lot of the areas, of course they look nothing like the areas now, back in those days it was all farmland. It is like looking at old photos of an area, and I am sure there are photos of this area, but I haven’t seen any. The creek thing is still there I think, though, again, it has been changed.
It is funny looking at that image of Rosanna Road being a dirt track, now it is an incredibly busy road and one most of us locals stay right away from, if we can avoid it.
Another Walter Withers painting, and this one is of a house that is actually not that far from where I live. The house is still there, but all the farmland around it has been built on and there are houses everywhere. From what I can work out the watering hole for the cattle is no longer there, either. I have been in that house, a couple of times a few years a go. It was the original managers house for the Banyule farm. People still live in it today.
I do think I also know this spot. It is in Eaglemont, a suburb right next to Heidelberg. I find it fascinating to see it here like this, looking so wonderful. Along the Yarra River much of the land has now been made back into bushland, and it is becoming overgrown. I suppose animals grazing on the land would have kept it from becoming to overgrown.
People swimming in the Yarra River, not far from here. It is funny seeing the Yarra in many of these images, it is so different now. I don’t know many places were you can walk up to the side of it like this. The Yarra has, I don’t know what you call them, cliffs, maybe, all along the edges of it. It says the above painting was done near what we call Banksia Park, I will have to investigate.
It is like these paintings were done of a whole different area. I believe that what is happening in many of these areas along the river is that it is returning to its natural state, before the area was “settled” and turned into farmland. There has been lots of work done to try and insure that it is returned to that state. As I said in my post yesterday.
The Heidelberg School of Painters was one of the first major art movements in Australia, it is a rich collection. Almost every major public gallery in Australia has at least one of their paintings. I can remember looking at the paintings at the gallery here in Melbourne and trying to work out where they were painted. I never dreamed I would be living in the same area, and in some cases, taking photos in the same places. The swamp at Banyule Flats was there, it was a cow paddock at this time. The waterways to fill it had been diverted, that have been put back so that it does get filled now.
It is so interesting to me, perhaps because they are Australian, or perhaps because they painted what they saw, I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Do you have a movement that has touched you?
I have a gallery now with lots of paintings. I haven’t talked about the individual artists, but if you want more information on them, then check the website,In The Artist’s Footsteps. It has more paintings, information on the individual artists and where they painted. I just want to add, that it was very hard getting images of the paintings, of course it is Australia, so they do everything to stop, I don’t know what. The quality isn’t always good, but it gives you an idea of the paintings.