A Summer at Olrig

The sketches of Harold John Graham

Craigieburn Gallery, Hume Global Learning Centre
12 December 2012 – 15 March 2013

Butterflies Caught at Olrig, Victoria

Harold John Graham (1858-1929) arrived in Port Phillip from England in December 1881. During his initial stay in Melbourne, as well as on subsequent visits, Graham travelled to stay with friends at the homestead at Olrig.

At the time, Olrig was a pastoral property of 2100 acres on Mt. Ridley, near Craigieburn, on the rural outskirts of Melbourne - now the present day site of the Mother Theresa Catholic Primary School. The property was owned by Graham’s friend James Robert Malcolm. It was here that the artist spent his time sketching the homestead and surrounding countryside of Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Yan Yean, Beveridge and Merri Creek. He also produced detailed illustrations of local flora and fauna.

The images in this exhibition are digital reproductions of selected works from a collection of Graham’s sketches held by the National Library of Australia. This larger collection embodies depictions of his sea journey to Australia, his experience of Melbourne and surrounding country and his time living in Hobart and Sydney.

The sketches seen here offer rare and intimate, almost ‘postcard’ impressions of how life was in Craigieburn and surrounds in the early days of European settlement.

This suite of works illustrates the period when Harold John Graham first turned his critical eye to the Australian Bush. This was during a time when many artists were still grappling with how to visually represent this ‘new land’ so foreign to Europe.

Graham’s work continues to be highly valued by historians and biologists, as well as playing an important role in the artistic and cultural heritage of Hume.


Updated : 3:28 PM, 13 August 2018

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