“Never in my life have I seen such a real demonstration of joy. People were dancing and singing, bands were playing and the gloom that had hung over the world for over four years had completely gone. I felt glad that I had lived to see the day, and it was a sight worth three and a half years of one’s life to see.”
Over the last century the First World War has fascinated Australians and this interest continues to breathe new life into the personal collections of soldiers of the war. These collections attest to the personal experience of warfare in lands far away from home – of the monotony of soldier life, the exhilaration and terror of battle, as well as the excitement at the prospect of travel offered by military service. The Ray Jones collection allows us not only to explore the war through a personal and intimate lens but lends itself to a consideration of the broader trend of travel enthusiasm that took hold of many Australian service personnel in the First World War. Continue reading “Soldier Tourism in the Ray Jones Collection” →
Raymond Priestley was a significant figure across a number of fields. He was born on 20 July 1886 in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England. Educated at Tewkesbury Grammar School, where his father was headmaster, Priestley went on to read geology at University College, Bristol (1905-1907). Before the completion of his degree, he was invited to serve as a geologist working in association with Edgeworth David upon the British Antarctica ‘Nimrod’ Expedition (1907-1909) led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Continue reading “The Raymond Priestley diaries” →
Despite his short period (1935-38) in Melbourne, Sir Raymond Priestley made significant reforms at the University of Melbourne. As the first salaried Vice-Chancellor, his boldness and visionary ideas completely changed the direction of the University during the tumultuous years of the 1930s and established his prominence as the country’s most charismatic, enigmatic, and invigorating educationist. Many stories and achievements shine through his diaries.
To some a diary may serve as a memory aid, or as a place to collect their innermost thoughts. To others it may function as a type of autobiography, written for an audience with the intention of future publication. Raymond Priestley’s diary is of this latter type. It records the daily happenings of Priestley’s life but they carry the conviction that they will at some time be presented to future readers. Indeed, the diaries were eventually edited and published as The Diary of a Vice-Chancellor. Continue reading “Diary Entry Dated February 3rd, 1935” →
Antarctic explorer and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Raymond Priestley (1886-1974) kept a meticulous diary detailing his daily activities. This entry comes from the first volume of his “Australian diary” (item no. 1973.0079.00002), covering his activities on Wednesday January 30, 1935. The diary is typewritten, on one side of each page. It appears that Priestly added his own page numbers in handwriting in the top right-hand corner of each page. He also seems have been having trouble with his typewriter, as words have been corrected by hand, with blue ink, replacing letters skipped by the typewriter or cropped by the pages’ edges. Continue reading “An Antarctic joke and the journey to Australia” →
Laurence Marvin S. Castillo
The Daub art magazines produced by the students of the National Gallery Art School offer glimpses into the practices of art pedagogy in mid-twentieth century Australia. The magazines feature essays, short stories, poetry and drawings by students that critically and creatively index the contours of, and contradictions in, the learning institution as a cultural field.
The 1948 issue is particularly revealing of how art was viewed and located in the socio-economic grid of industrialisation after the second World War and it registers student concerns about the apparent subordination of the arts in Victoria’s pedagogical ambitions.
Lucy Kerley’s article, “What Then?,” for instance, lamented the inadequacy of cultural training in the art school. While most students content themselves with skills-based training, Kerley believed that it was also important to pursue a theoretical and discursive intellectual trajectory that would acquaint students with topics like the history of art. She went on to suggest that such gaps stemmed from the lack of state support. Continue reading “Impoverished Artists” →
Adapted from a presentation given at the symposium ‘Bernie Taft and 1968: Tanks in Prague, Turmoil in Australian Universities’, Friday 24th August 2018 by Jane Beattie, Assistant Archivist, University of Melbourne.
To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 2016, I wrote a blog post about Lloyd Edmonds. Lloyd’s family donated his letters, written mostly to his father, from the battlegrounds in Spain. Lloyd was studying in London when Franco invaded and felt so strongly in the Republican cause, and that Spain should not fall to fascism, that he joined the International brigade, along with 64 other Australians volunteering in Spain. Soon after this anniversary, the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) ran a tutorial for a Hispanic Cultural Studies class, introducing students to the Archives using Lloyd’s letters and other material held at UMA about the war. Continue reading “Vicarious communist: a reflection on the empathetic archivist” →
“Well, well! What an unenviable job judging must be!” — dissenting reports from the 1947 Travelling Scholarship and Art School Prizes
The Judges’ Report in the 1948 issue of DAUB — consists of two conflicting assessments of the work submitted by students for the Travelling Scholarship and the National Gallery Art School Prizes for 1947. Three of the judges: Douglas Dundas, Eric Thake and the then director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Daryl Lindsay, sign a report that praises the welcomed diversification of techniques, a trend that encourages “a freer expression of thought in all mediums.” The fourth judge, Alice M. E. Bale, the only woman in the judging panel, concludes in a dissenting report that: “the experimentalizing commended by the other judges is premature,” and recommends that the students should first gain “a sound knowledge of natural appearances and the ability to render them.” This dispute is representative of a larger antagonism between the modern and traditional ways of painting, and their respective supporters which extends beyond the doors of the Art School, to the status of modern art in mid-century Melbourne in collecting institutions, the university and the wider public sphere. Such is the controversy, that the results of the competition generate articles in Melbourne newspapers, for example “Modernist” Picture Wins £900 (The Argus, Melbourne, Vic.: Fri 19 Dec 1947, Page 3) and Problem in Art Awards (The Argus, Melbourne, Vic.: Sat 20 Dec 1947, Page 43).
There’s no doubt that Raymond Priestly (1886-1974) had a fondness for penguins. Open any of the fourteen volumes of his Australian diaries (1935-1938) and there they are on the inside cover. The personal bookplate of the eminent geologist and Antarctic explorer depicts an icy scene in bold black and white with a fur seal surrounded by four rather stout penguins. Continue reading “Priestley’s Penguins” →
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