Not far from where we live, the River Yarra winds it's way down to the sea........... meandering first this way and then that........ its path carved over time by nature and by man allowing glimpses of vistas that lull and enthral one's senses. Our city fathers, in their wisdom, have proclaimed the areas abutting the river as parklands, with walking and bicyle tracks.... all set against a magnificent backdrop of native flora and fauna. However there is also another surprise for the visitor because in this very same area some very talented artists came to paint the Australian scene many, many years ago, and along the pathways are signs that include reproductions of some of the artists' most famous pieces. These are located in or near where the artists painted or lived, and come with a description of each of the works. So visitors may learn not only how the artists interpreted the landscape, but also how the landscape may have changed over the time. Below you will find some paintings and verse depicting the times and scenery that we now know somewhat differently..... although can immediately recognise some familiar points of interest and identify with them as being part of our heritage. The gum trees, the birds, the Yarra, the bush...... all remain the same as when these famous artists painted in the environs... and so it gives us great pleasure to present to you a cameo of this era.....

The Heidelberg School was the first significant art movement in Australia. The name originated in July 1891, when art critic, Sidney Dickinson wrote a review of the exhibitions of works by Walter Withers and Arthur Streeton. Dickinson noted that these artists, whose works were mostly painted in the Heidelberg area, could be considered as the ‘Heidelberg School’. Since that time, the Heidelberg School has taken on a wider meaning and covers Australian artists of the late 19th Century who followed plein-air painting.

"Under the saplings (For Mr Roberts 'Sketch')"

Only a word at the splitter's track.
A thoughtless blunder.
She is fair and haughty, and answers back,
so they part asunder.
With a jerk he loosens the fastening rein,
and she turns her back with a fine disdain,
And the saplings murmur a sad refrain
As she passes under.

But I certainly think if we only wait
We shall soon discover
That a patient horse will be tied to the gate,
And a penitent lover
Will coo-ee once more from the trysting place
And the blue gum boughs in that possible case
Will serve as a screen for her blushing face
As she passes under.
Alice Brotherton


By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling:
It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.

The silver-voiced bell birds, the darlings of daytime!
They sing in September their songs of the May-time;
When shadows wax strong, and the thunder bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together,
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather;
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.

October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters, knee-deep, in the grasses, to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten:
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the Morning.

Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to the thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels who torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and the leaves in the currents.

Often I sit, looking back to a childhood,
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion,
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of Passion; -
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest-rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys:
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.

Henry Kendall


Tall and freckled and sandy,
Face of a country lout;
This was the picture of Andy,
Middleton's Rouseabout.

Type of a coming nation,
In the land of cattle and sheep,
Worked on Middleton's station,
'Pound a week and his keep.'

On Middleton's wide dominions
Plied the stockwhip and shears;
Hadn't any opinions,
Hadn't any 'idears'.

Swiftly the years went over,
Liquor and drought prevailed;
Middleton went as a drover,
After his station had failed.

Type of a careless nation,
Men who are soon played out,
Middleton was: -- and his station
Was bought by the Rouseabout.

Flourishing beard and sandy,
Tall and robust and stout;
This is the picture of Andy,
Middleton's Rouseabout.

Now on his own dominions
Works with his overseers;
Hasn't any opinions,
Hasn't any 'idears'.

Henry Lawson.

An Australian Girl

"She's pretty to walk with,
And witty to talk with,
And pleasant, too, to think on."
Sir John Suckling.

She has a beauty of her own,
A beauty of a paler tone
Than English belles;
Yet southern sun and southern air
Have kissed her cheeks, until they wear
The dainty tints that oft appear
On rosy shells.

Her frank, clear eyes bespeak a mind
Old-world traditions fail to bind.
She is not shy
Or bold, but simply self-possessed;
Her independence adds a zest
Unto her speech, her piquant jest,
Her quaint reply.

O'er classic volumes she will pore
With joy; and true scholastic lore
Will often gain.
In sports she bears away the bell,
Nor, under music's siren spell,
To dance divinely, flirt as well,
Does she disdain.

Ethel Castilla
19th Century


Heidelberg School Artists Trail
Heidi, Museum of Modern Art
Arts Victoria
The Australian Bush
National Gallery of Victoria
Parks Victoria

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This page was written as an introduction to this part of the world
in celebration of Harmony of Souls Third Anniversary

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