The following itinerary describes a range of sites which we plan to visit. At the time of publication (October 2020) most visits had been confirmed. While several are accessible to the public, others require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure in 2021. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary, together with their tour documents, prior to departure. The tour includes meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner.
Toowoomba – 2 nights
Day 1: Tuesday 31 August, Brisbane – Ipswich – Toowoomba
- Private studio of artist Leonard Brown, Ipswich
- Lionel Lindsay Gallery and Library, Toowoomba Art Gallery
- Welcome Dinner
We depart Brisbane this morning for Ipswich where we meet with artist Leonard Brown at his home studio. He will discuss his work and that of his friend, Sam Fullbrook. Leonard Brown is best known for his minimal abstract paintings and his Russian icon paintings which he creates using traditional techniques. In 2011, the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum presented Union with Reality: The Art of Leonard Brown, a 30 year survey of his work which is also represented in numerous public collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Leonard had a close association with Sam Fullbrook (1922-2004) who was described as the “last of the bushman painters”. Fullbrook won the Archibald Prize for portraiture and the Wynne Prize for landscape. We shall view his work during our visit to the Queensland Art Gallery; this includes the portrait of his friend, Brisbane-born novelist Ernestine Hill (1899-1972), who shared a history of life on the land and his deep appreciation of the Australian bush.
In the mid-morning we travel to Toowoomba, where after some time at leisure for lunch, we tour the Lionel Lindsay Gallery and Library at the Toowoomba Art Gallery. William Robert Fossey (‘Bill’) Bolton MBE was a businessman and philanthropist based in Toowoomba. He founded Redmans Transport in 1935 which was later renamed ‘Cobb & Co. Redmans Transport’ in 1948. His interest in Australian pioneer heritage led him to amass an important library of journals, prints, letters and maps. This collection includes records of voyages in the Pacific, the exploration and early history of Australia, Australian art, Australian literature (including letters by Henry Lawson), and Lionel Lindsay’s personal papers. The release of the Cobb & Co. stamps in 1955 inspired Bolton to contact Sir Lionel Lindsay and over five years, under the direction of NGV director, Sir Daryl Lindsay, Bolton collected over 400 artworks, the majority of which were by Lionel Lindsay. The collection also included works by other members of the Lindsay family, and by McCubbin, Streeton, Roberts and Bunny.
Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (Overnight Toowoomba) D
Day 2: Wednesday 1 September, Toowoomba – Jimbour – Drayton – Toowoomba
- Jimbour: Heritage Homestead & Gardens, Long Table Lunch
- Royal Bull’s Head Inn, Drayton
This morning we travel some 111 km north-west of Toowoomba to Jimbour, a heritage-listed homestead at the centre of one of the earliest stations established on the Darling Downs. Jimbour, designed for politician, businessman and grazier Joshua Peter Bell, is Queensland’s only grand country house designed in the English manner. We shall tour this magnificent homestead and its heritage gardens, and enjoy a long table lunch here. Set on a hill overlooking vast plains, this magnificent home was used as a film location for the popular series Return to Eden. George Essex Evans wrote of it with admiration in his book The Garden of Queensland (1898). Gertrude Bell, mistress of ‘Coochin Coochin’ station, also visited Jimbour, recording in her diary her astonishment at finding such an imposing mansion in the Queensland bush. She was given plant cuttings to take home to her own garden at ‘Coochin’.
This afternoon we return to Toowoomba via Drayton, the first town established beyond the Great Dividing Range (1842). The Royal Bull’s Head Inn, built in 1847, became a popular haunt for squatters and workers. A guided tour of this inn will give us insights into the early days of settlement on the Darling Downs; its interior, including its original kitchen and rooms, have been lovingly restored and preserved by the National Trust.
Conrad Martens (a friend of Charles Darwin) was the only major colonial artist to work in Queensland. He arrived in Moreton Bay by ship in 1851 and set out across the range to the Darling Downs where he sketched homesteads and properties, including ‘Coochin Coochin’, in the hope of attracting commissions for paintings. By March 1852, Martens had completed over 90 drawings which today provide an invaluable visual record of the region’s history; several of his works are held by the Queensland Art Gallery. On 23 December 1852 he probably stayed at the Royal Bull’s Head Inn whilst sketching views from Drayton Range. (Overnight Toowoomba) BL
Lamington National Park – 2 nights
Day 3: Thursday 2 September, Toowoomba – Allora – Coochin – Lamington National Park
- The Mary Poppins House, Allora
- Coochin Coochin Station
This morning we continue south to the Southern Downs town of Allora. Pamela Lydon Travers OBE (1899-1996) is best known for her Mary Poppins series for children. Born in Maryborough, she grew up in the bush before going to boarding school in Sydney. At the age of 25 she migrated to England and adopted the pen name ‘P.L. Travers’ while writing the first of eight Mary Poppins books. Saving Mr Banks, the 2013 movie starring Emma Thompson as Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, includes flashbacks to Travers’ difficult childhood in Allora, which became the inspiration for much of Mary Poppins. We will visit the house where Travers spent 2 years of her childhood, and in which her father, Travers Goff, died. The heritage-listed house, built in 1879, now owned by Les and Loraine Struthers, was both a home and the Australian Joint Stock Bank, where Travers’ father worked.
The Scenic Rim’s history inspired various important pioneers, including poet Judith Wright, filmmaker Charles Chauvel and the Bell Family of ‘Coochin Coochin’. This afternoon we meet with Tim and Jane Bell to discover the fascinating history of their homestead, which is one of the Scenic Rim’s oldest homes. ‘Coochin Coochin’ dates from 1842, when the 120,000-acre property was established by David Hunter; its name ‘Coochin’ means ‘red’ in the Jagera language, for the red bill of the black swans that frequented the area. In 1870 the property was purchased by Thomas Alford, who moved the homestead to its present site on a hill. In 1882 James Bell bought 22,000 acres of freehold land, and with his wife, Gertrude, and their two sons, came to live there. Gertrude Bell (née Norton), Tim’s great grandmother, had come from an affluent home at Darling Point in Sydney and at ‘Coochin Coochin’ she resumed her former social life, inviting many guests to stay. Her detailed diaries record the visits of distinguished visitors, including the Queen Mother, the Prince of Wales, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Agatha Christie. Agatha Christie loved her visit, was involved in a local concert and grew fond of Guilford Marsh Bell (Gertrude’s grandson) who later worked on renovations to her beloved Devonshire home ‘Greenway’. Agatha greatly admired the Australian women she met in the region and you will learn about their influence on her future life and career.
In the late afternoon we continue south to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Established in 1926, the retreat is located in Lamington National Park which lies on the Lamington Plateau of the McPherson Range. (Overnight Lamington National Park) BLD
Day 4: Friday 3 September, Lamington National Park
- Lamington National Park with zoologist, Dr Ronda J Green
- The Rainforest Works of William Robinson: talk by David Henderson
Queensland pastoralist Robert Martin Collins drew public attention to the beauty and invigorating climate of the McPherson Ranges in the 1890s. In parliament he campaigned vigorously for the protection of the area. Lamington was proclaimed a National Park in 1915, two years after his death, and in 1994 the park was incorporated into the ‘Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area’. The biodiversity of these ancient rainforests was presented by David Attenborough in his 1979 TV series Life on Earth in which he featured their beech trees and bower birds.
Many artists have been inspired by the region including Arthur Boyd and William Robinson. In 1984 Robinson moved from Brisbane to live on an 80-hectare property in Beechmont; this move marked a critical turning point in his career. In 1994 he also acquired a rainforest studio at Springbrook. His affinity with the spectacular hinterland of verdant rainforest and dramatic mountains gave rise to a major new body of work. Between 1984 and 2005 Robinson painted some of his most original and compelling compositions including his celebrated Creation and Mountain series. The area has also inspired many writers including Germaine Greer who described the ‘irresistible’ decade-long battle to rehabilitate the damaged forest in her book White Beech: The Rainforest Years (2013). Judith Wright spent nearly 30 years in this region; her growing concern about its devastation led her to co-found, and become the first President of, the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland.
We spend the day exploring Lamington National Park with Dr Ronda J. Green, Chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia and Chair of the Scenic Rim branch of the WPSQ. Ronda, who is a zoologist, studied the birds that dispersed seeds of rainforest plants for her post-doctoral research. She also attended the WPSQ Spring School when it was run by Judith Wright.
This evening David Henderson will give a pre-dinner talk on ‘The Rainforest Works of William Robinson’. (Overnight Lamington National Park) BLD
Kingscliff – 2 nights
Day 5: Saturday 4 September, Lamington NP – Bromelton – Gold Coast – Kingscliff
- Bromelton House & Gardens
- The City Collection, HOTA and special exhibition ‘Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson’
- Dinner at Season Restaurant
Novelist Rosa Caroline Praed produced over 45 books between 1880 and 1931, about half of which are set in Australia. She was born in 1851 at Bromelton, by the Logan River in Queensland. Her father was the Hon. Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior, pastoralist and politician. She was educated by governesses and her mother until the latter died when Rosa was seventeen. Rosa then ran the house in the bush and sometimes accompanied her father to Brisbane for his political work. Following her marriage in 1872 to Arthur Campbell Praed, who’d come to Australia to make his fortune as a squatter, she spent two lonely, miserable years on Monte Christo, a cattle run located on Curtis Island, near Gladstone. These experiences figure in her autobiographical My Australian Girlhood (1902) and in her novels The Romance of a Station (1889) and Sister Sorrow (1916). In 1876 the couple moved to England where she resumed writing, drawing upon her Australian experiences. In London she achieved considerable celebrity and is considered to be the first Australian novelist to gain an international reputation. Her Politics and Passion (1881), is thought to be the first novel to make lengthy reference to Brisbane. This morning we visit Bromelton which is today a working pecan and beef property. We’ll tour the historic homestead which sits within two hectares of landscaped gardens, and see the large lagoon, believed by the Aboriginal people to be bottomless and the home of the bunyip. These beliefs appear in some of Praed’s writings.
The pristine beaches, tropical beauty and relaxed lifestyle of the Gold Coast and its hinterland have attracted 20th-century artists. Artists who have recorded its beauty include Lloyd Rees, Fred Williams, Albert Tucker, Vida Lahey, Ethel Carrick Fox, Betty Quelhurst, Jeff Carter, and Graham Burstow. Contemporary artists who began their careers on the Gold Coast or still live there, include Michael Zarvos, Scott Redford, Chris Bennie, Anna Carey, Victoria Reichelt and Donna Marcus.
This afternoon we travel to the Gold Coast to visit the revolutionary new HOTA Gallery due to open in early 2021. Both the colourful architecture and collection of this new six-storey ‘Home of the Arts’ were inspired by William Robinson’s stunning painting The Rainforest, a key work in HOTA’s holdings called ‘The City Collection’. This painting won the Wynne Prize for Landscape in 1990, and was purchased by the gallery shortly afterwards. The City Collection, which features more than 5,000 art works, includes an important corpus of paintings from the 1970s by artists including David Aspden, Michael Johnson, Col Jordan, Alun Leach-Jones, and Ron Robertson-Swann. There is also a fine collection of award-winning ceramics, and one of the largest collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art in regional Australia. We are fortunate that our visit coincides with the Gallery’s second major exhibition ‘Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson’.
In the late afternoon we continue to Kingscliff, a small seaside town located in Northern New South Wales. The Robinsons began spending weekends at Kingscliff beach in the early 1990s, and eventually moved there in 1994. Living on the edge of the ocean inspired William Robinson’s seascapes including Dark tide, Bogangar (1994), Creation landscape – earth and sea (1995) and The sand Ziggurat, Kingslciff (1995). Tonight we dine together at the award-winning Season Restaurant. (Overnight Kingscliff) BLD
Day 6: Sunday 5 September, Kingscliff – Murwillumbah – Kingscliff
- Andy Reimanis, art tutor and founder of the Caldera Wildscapes Gallery, Murwillumbah
- Green Cauldron Panorama painting interpretation by principal artist Andy Reimanis
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre (MOAC), Murwillumbah
This morning we travel to the country town of Murwillumbah which lies in a green caldera, the vast crater of the eroded Tweed Volcano, surrounded by rainforest and farmland. Overlooking the town is the striking Wollumbin Peak (Mt Warning). The Tweed has some of Australia’s most diverse flora, fauna and landscapes. Its unique natural history and cultural resonance prompted Parks Australia and Tourism Australia to declare it one of only sixteen ‘Australian National Landscapes’.
On arrival we meet with Andy Reimanis who is an artist, art tutor and founder of the Caldera Wildscapes Gallery. Andy’s work reflects his passion for preserving the biodiversity and ecosystems under constant threat from human impact in the region. In 2017 he organised the exhibition ‘The Works in Caldera Art’ which was held at the Tweed Regional Gallery. Andy was also the coordinator and principal artist of the Green Cauldron Panorama, an 18-metre long painting depicting the 360 degree view from the summit of Wollumbin/Mt Warning. We will view this panorama at the Murwillumbah Visitors Centre and discuss his work during a private tour of the Caldera Wildscapes Gallery.
There will be some time at leisure for lunch and to explore Murwillumbah’s interesting M-Arts Precinct. From the centre of Murwillumbah we transfer to the Tweed Regional Museum which offers spectacular views to Wollumbin/Mount Warning.
In the afternoon we enjoy a guided tour of the Tweed Regional Gallery and visit the adjoining Margaret Olley Art Centre (MOAC). Born in Lismore in 1923, Margaret Olley is Australia’s most celebrated painter of still lifes and interiors. When she died in 2011, she left a treasure trove of paintings and objets d’art at her home, a converted hat factory and adjoining terrace, at 48 Duxford Street, Paddington Sydney. In 2014 parts of her house and its contents, which had provided the subject of so many of her famous works, were dissembled and transported to a purpose-built centre at the Tweed Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah. At MOAC, we view the recreated areas of Olley’s famous home studio, principally the Hat Factory and the Yellow Room.
We return to Kingscliff in the late afternoon where the evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Kingscliff) B
Brisbane – 3 nights
Day 7: Monday 6 September, Kingscliff – Brisbane
- Artist studio (details to be confirmed)
- Old Government House: William Robinson Gallery with award-winning author, Nick Earls
- Walking tour of Central Brisbane including Albert Street Literary Trail
This morning we transfer to Brisbane’s city centre for a visit to a local artist’s studio (details to be confirmed).
After some time at leisure for lunch, we take a guided tour of the William Robinson Gallery, nestled in the beautiful setting of Old Government House. Born in Brisbane in 1936, Robinson is recognised not only for his unique interpretation of the Australian landscape but also for his whimsical portraits and narrative scenes. His self-portraits were awarded the Archibald Prize in 1987 and 1995. The 2009 documentary by filmmaker Catherine Hunter, William Robinson: A Painter’s Journey, explores the places that have inspired him. At the gallery we meet best-selling author, Nick Earls, who wrote William Robinson: A New Perspective, which chronicles Robinson’s life and career.
We end the day with a walking tour which highlights some of Brisbane’s most important heritage buildings, including Parliament House; Anthony Trollope visited the Legislative Assembly Chamber in 1871. We also visit the Treasury Building and the old Queensland State Library. The Albert Street Literary Trail features 32 brass plaques with quotes by authors who have called Brisbane home. (Overnight Brisbane) B
Day 8: Tuesday 7 September, Brisbane
- 19 Arran Avenue, Hamilton: former home of David Malouf (to be confirmed in 2021)
- David Henderson’s studio, Albion
- Lunch at the Breakfast Creek Hotel, Albion
- Newstead House (to be confirmed in 2021, subject to restoration schedule)
- Commercial Gallery Precinct, Fortitude Valley
Widely recognised as one of Australia’s finest contemporary authors, David Malouf was born in Brisbane in 1934. Amongst the most loved of his works are those set in his hometown, including his first novel, Johnno (1975), the semi-autographical tale of a young man growing up in wartime Brisbane, and his later memoir 12 Edmondstone Street (2012) which begins at his childhood home in South Brisbane. In 1947 the family moved from Edmondstone Street to 19 Arran Avenue, Hamilton. By special appointment, we visit this house which was designed by his father, George Malouf.
When not leading tours for ASA, David Henderson is a full-time artist; his painting studio is a short walk from Newstead House. David’s response to the Queensland landscape has been informed by a multiplicity of contexts. An outback childhood, studies in architecture, and training at London’s Royal Academy, have all left their mark on his painting. And while Queensland-born, like Jeffrey Smart and Justin O’Brien, he has spent much of his life in Italy. Whether painting local views, monumental urban spaces or the human figure, David’s approach can broadly be described as classical: a synthesis of light and geometry. We shall view a number of his most recent works in his studio where he will present a brief overview of his development and working methods.
Following lunch at the heritage-listed Breakfast Creek Hotel we walk a short distance to Newstead House, Brisbane’s oldest surviving European-style home. Overlooking Breakfast Creek, this historic landmark evolved from a simple Georgian cottage built in 1846 into a grand residence following significant extensions in 1867. We will tour this house museum and view its fine late-Victorian furniture. The home is said to have taken its name from Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, a former Augustinian priory and ancestral home of the Romantic poet Lord Byron.
This afternoon we visit Brisbane’s commercial gallery precinct. Our program will be determined by the schedule of exhibitions on offer at the time of our visit. (Overnight Brisbane) BL
Day 9: Wednesday 8 September, Brisbane
- Queensland Performing Arts Centre: Lawrence Daws Mural
- Queensland Art Gallery: Australian Art Collection & the Indigenous Australian Art Collection
- Queensland Gallery of Modern Art: European Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
We begin with a brief visit to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre to view Lawrence Daws’ grand mural in preparation for our journey to the Glasshouse Mountains where many of his best-known works were created. The mural affords us an opportunity to reflect on the significance of the local landscape for this remarkable painter.
Following some time at leisure for lunch we visit the Queensland Art Gallery where we tour the Australian Collection which includes works by Gordon Bennett, Arthur Boyd, Rupert Bunny, William Dobell, Ian Fairweather, Ethel Carrick Fox, R. Godfrey Rivers, Sam Fullbrook, Vida Lahey and Sidney Nolan. There are also landscapes painted by Conrad Martens at ‘Coochin Coochin’ and in the nearby McPherson Range. We also view the Indigenous Collection which tells the story of Namatjira and features his early works, along with works by those he influenced.
We end the day with a visit to the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QAGMA) to view the exhibition ‘European Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’. Spanning 500 years, the exhibition includes works by Fra Angelico, Titian, Raphael, Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh and Monet. “Highlights of the exhibition include Fra Angelico’s finely painted altarpiece The Crucifixion of ca. 1420–23; Titian’s poetic Venus and Adonis of the 1550s; the immediacy and drama of Caravaggio’s The Musicians 1597; Rembrandt’s painterly Flora of c.1654; Vermeer’s beautifully observed Allegory of the Catholic Faith c.1670-72, and Van Gogh’s idyllic The Flowering Orchard 1888.” (Overnight Brisbane) B
Noosa Heads – 1 night
Day 10: Thursday 9 September, Brisbane – Beerwah – Maleny – Noosa Heads
- Private studio of artist, Joseph Daws (to be confirmed in 2021)
- Free time in Maleny
- Lunch at The Tamarind, Spicers Retreat
- Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve & the Glasshouse Mountains National Landscape
This morning we travel north from Brisbane through the Blackall Range to the cluster of rugged volcanic peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains; these are registered as a ‘landscape of national importance’ due to their cultural significance for the area’s traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people. This was a special meeting place where they gathered for ceremonies and trading; many of their ceremonial sites can still be seen. In 1963 Judith Wright published The Day the Mountains Played, a short story in which the great mountains, which had once been men in the Dreamtime, help two boys to protect their tribe from the Doolamai warriors. The landscape has also inspired many other writers and artists including Lawrence Daws, Conrad Martens, Peter Kennedy, David Malouf and Fred Williams. On his journey to Brisbane by ship in 1851, Conrad Martens created his watercolour sketch, Glasshouses, Moreton Bay. In his 1970 poem ‘Glasshouse Mountains’, David Malouf described the view of the mountains from the Redcliffe Peninsular. From 1970 until 2010, Lawrence Daws lived at his farm ‘Owl Creek’ at Beerwah on the edge of the rainforest by the Glasshouse Mountains. Many of his best-known works were created here. Daws hosted many artist friends including Brett Whiteley who, in 1976, made several sketches of the area and wrote ‘the view from the Daws balcony onto the Glasshouse is one of the absolutely monumental views.’ Donald Friend produced a series of red ink drawings (shown at Philip Bacon Galleries in 1983), including The House at Owl Creek. Charles Blackman and Robert Dickerson also painted the mountains when they resided nearby.
At Beerwah we shall visit the private studio of artist Joseph Daws, son of Lawrence Daws. Joseph’s work creates bridges between landscape painting and abstraction, creating an arena in which to explore parallels in natural and non-representational forms.
From Beerwah we take a 20 km scenic drive to the delightful village of Maleny where there will be time at leisure to explore the town’s shops, many of which offer local produce. Of particular interest is the Maleny Food & Co. Café, Store & Fromagerie.
Following lunch at ‘The Tamarind’, an award-winning restaurant featuring Asian cuisine, we visit the ‘Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve’, 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest which is home to a remarkable array of native flora and fauna, including 141 species of birds. Light refreshments are available at the Mountain View Café which offers breathtaking views of the Glasshouse Mountains. You may also wish to visit the Discovery Centre, walk along the Elevated Glider Gallery Boardwalk which showcases the rainforest mid-storey, or explore one of the easy rainforest trails.
In the later afternoon we continue our journey north to the coastal town of Noosa Heads. (Overnight Noosa Heads) BL
Fraser Island – 3 nights
Day 11: Friday 10 September, Noosa Heads – Maryborough – Fraser Island
- Statue of Mary Poppins
- Story Bank Mary Poppins Museum, Maryborough
- Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum, Maryborough
We depart Noosa Heads early this morning for Maryborough. Our journey takes us past Mount Cooroy, painted by Sam Fullbrook in the late 1960s from his farmhouse at Eumundi. Just north of Noosa is Boreen Point where Judith Wright holidayed from 1953 until Jack McKinney’s death in 1966. Further north are the Gympie goldfields.
Maryborough, a city in the Fraser Coast Region, has a number of heritage-listed buildings, including the former Australian Joint Stock Bank where P.L. Travers’ father, Travers Goff, worked as bank manager and where, in August 1899, she was born in a room on the second floor. We will view the bronze statue of her at the front of the building which commemorates her literary achievements. Born Helen Lyndon Goff, she lived in Maryborough until the age of five when the family relocated to Allora. Within the former bank we visit the ‘Story Bank Mary Poppins Museum’ which describes her life story and her ties with Maryborough.
Following time at leisure for lunch we make a short visit to the National Trust-run Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum. This charming old store, established in 1871, is a rare survivor of our commercial heritage and features goods dating back to the 1890s. From the museum we continue to River Heads where we take the 50-minute ferry trip to our resort overlooking Kingfisher Bay. (Overnight Kingfisher Bay Resort) BLD
Day 12: Saturday 11 September, Fraser Island
- Lake McKenzie
- Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek
- Pile Valley’s Satinay and Brush Box forests
- 75 Mile Beach
- The Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles
- Fresh waters of Eli Creek
Known as K’gari (‘paradise’) by the traditional owners, the Butchulla people, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island has inspired many writers and artists. Sidney Nolan lived in a ménage à trois at Heide in Melbourne with Sunday and John Reed until 1947, when he moved to Brisbane. There he stayed with his friend Barrett Reid, a Brisbane poet and the youngest contributor to the literary and arts journal Angry Penguins. With Reid, Nolan made his first visit to the rainforests, swamps, and lagoons of Fraser Island. It was here that Nolan learnt about Eliza Fraser, a Scottish woman who was shipwrecked near the island in 1836. He was fascinated by the story of her survival and rescue by escaped convict John Graham who had lived alongside the island’s Aboriginal people. Nolan painted various island sites including Lake Wabby and Indian Head. His Platypus Bay, Fraser Island was purchased by the Queensland Art Gallery in 2014. Other works include a lone female or male figure in the landscape such as the famous Mrs Fraser (1947) which has long been regarded as emblematic of his animosity towards Sunday Reed, and Island (1947) on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The QAG website states: ‘Between 1947 and 1948, Sidney Nolan painted at least 15 images of Fraser Island and Eliza Fraser. He then returned to the same theme briefly in 1952, and again during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he produced numerous works referring, either obliquely or directly, to the Eliza Fraser story and the landscapes he had encountered on the island. Their continuing presence in his paintings, almost 20 years after his initial curiosity, suggests that the episode affected his work greatly, making Queensland instrumental in his development as an artist.’
Nolan shared his fascination for the island with his friend Patrick White, who visited it in the 1960s and early 1970s. White used the island’s primal wilderness as the setting for his novel The Eye of the Storm (1973), and in A Fringe of Leaves, a fictionalised retelling of Eliza’s saga. Judith Wright, a friend of Nolan’s, argued in the 1975 Fraser Island Enquiry not only for the island’s protection on environmental grounds, but also for its cultural significance. Thanks to environmentalists, most of the island was designated a National Park with World Heritage status.
We spend a full day exploring the island’s unique landscape, including Wanggoolba Creek, which remains a crystal-clear freshwater creek running through rainforest at Central Station, just as Nolan painted it. (Overnight Fraser Island) BLD
Day 13: Sunday 12 September, Fraser Island
- Whale Watching, Hervey Bay
- Afternoon at leisure
- Farewell Dinner
The calm waters of Platypus Bay off the north-western coast of Fraser Island, in the Hervey Bay Marine Park, have become world famous as a prime whale watching area. From August to October humpback whales, migrating south to the Antarctic, stop to rest, play and nurture their calves in the bay. We rise early this morning for our Whale Watching tour in Hervey Bay. Following an afternoon at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities of our resort, we enjoy a final farewell meal. (Overnight Fraser Island) BLD
Day 14: Monday 13 September, Fraser Island – Brisbane
- Early morning Ferry from King Bay Resort to River Heads
- Tilt Train from Maryborough West to Brisbane Roma Street (1158-1450)
After an early breakfast, we take the return ferry from our resort to River Heads. On arrival we transfer to the Maryborough West Station where we board the Tilt Train to Brisbane. From our seats we will enjoy the picturesque scenery of Gympie, the Glasshouse Mountains and the Sunshine Coast hinterland. A light lunch will be served on the train. We are scheduled to arrive at Brisbane’s Roma Street Station at 2.40pm. There our tour officially ends. BL