I invite you to visit also my literary blog: Journeys in Creative Writing where I post original fiction including short stories, poetry and 'Paternity', a full length mystery novel.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Aussie Sheep with an Artistic Touch

My tribute to Aussie land leading up to Australia Day January 26, continues on the New South Wales side of the border in the Tweed Valley. This is an area very different from the high rises of Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise of the famous Queensland Gold Coast.

The Tweed is much greener and more open, with farms and hills in between splashes of suburbia, although most of the former majestic rainforests were cut down a century ago. The area has a coastal ribbon with beaches every bit as beautiful as those across the border.

The lovely valley is a spit from the Gold Coast but a million miles distant in style.

Murwillumbah, one of its main towns, is the home of the Tweed River Art Gallery known for quality exhibitions and its idyllic setting. I took the shot above from one of the gallery balconies. The 'sheep' are actually sculptures that look perfect in the green paddocks that stretch for miles.

Here's a close up of these lovely creatures.

The gallery itself (bigger than it looks here) has been designed to sit easily in the countryside.

The Tweed River Art Gallery is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, and has windows designed to take advantage of that from every direction.

The mountain in the distance is Mount Warning, actually the plug of a huge extinct volcano and reputedly the first spot on the East Coast to feel the sun's rays each morning.
The explorer Captain James Cook named the mountain because it warned him of the proximity of the land.

The mountains in the distance include the edge of the caldera of the volcano and part of the Great Dividing Range. This range originally cut off the early British settlers from easy access to the interior.

The waterway is the Tweed River that meanders for many kilometres through fertile land and down to the coast near my home.

The valley is known for its large number of resident artists and the gallery stages many exhibitions featuring local work. It also hosts travelling exhibitions that bring works normally inaccessible to people in the region, and has an excellent and growing collection of its own.

Entry is completely free to all.

'Mossy Gully Purlingbrook 2003' by William Robinson

A friend and I enjoyed the rib tickling exhibition of lithographs by the brilliant Queensland artist William Robinson, better known for his huge landscape paintings like the one above. Sadly gallery rules forbid me photographing any of the works actually on display.

Notes to the Robinson lithograph exhibition quote the artist as suggesting the works were a series of self revelations. He invites viewers to look past the caricature-style drawings of the artist amid farmyard animals to seek deeper meanings.

I loved the whimsical Robinson images on the Tweed gallery walls, as well as entries in the Tweed Valley Art Prize 2009 which is also on the current programme.

These budding artists were happy to have me snap them at work with their proud Mum in the children's area.

We two big kids had fun after a tasty lunch on the gallery balcony. We snapped each other against these great images over the gallery fire stairs. You can see this lovely art space leads just about anybody on the path of wanting to be creative! This is me acting out for the camera.

Do you have a local art gallery near your place?

By the way I have posted the fifteenth episode of my Australian mystery novel 'Paternity' on Journeys in Creative Writing. Read it now! There are also links available if you wish to start the story from the beginning.


  1. The stone sheep are really interesting. What a great place for a museum.

    I went to one in Cambridge that I loved, but I can't remember the name of it now. Then the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco are other favs.

  2. You're one cool mama!

    But why do you look so surprised to a wonderful day? How can it possibly not be when you are in it??

    smiles, silver

    Galleries and museums take on so many guises don't they? Ours is a wonderful local asset.
    I would LOVE to get to your favourites - they are creme de la creme.
    I have seen some great ones in Europe and I was in seventh heaven among the treasures.

    My friend and I simply began acting up for the camera to create images - we had fun. I don't really go around grimacing quite like that!

  5. I love going to art museums and galleries, unfortunately, there are none very close to me.

    Your pictures are absolutely lovely.

  6. Hi MARY
    That's a shame. Art would be a great escape from the trauma of emergency room nursing!

  7. June, The river and Mount Warning and the green fields are just beautiful. What a wonderful, pretty place Australia! You seem to be having a great time in the picture and your outfit is just lovely. There are art galleries in Lexington about 60 miles from here but none in my town. I am enjoying your posts about Oz.

  8. JUDY
    I can't imagine 'sheep' in the gardens of the Lexington gallery!
    I'm pleased that you're enjoying my 'little bit of Oz'. As I do your posts. Great to hear how the other half lives eh?

  9. What a fabulous post and such terrific photos -- all of them! I'm having to catch up visiting blogs now because I lost a day getting my new computer set up. All is well now. Really enjoyed this!

  10. SYLVIA
    So good your computer is happening properly now. Did you have time to enjoy the inauguration?

  11. I found you on a blog apologising for the last eight years (U.S.) and I thought I'd look in on you! I got a bit of a shock because I thought the picture of you 'acting up' was me!!!!!! Two mad old ladies!!! I'm in Newcastle (Oz) by the way but I was up your way last year.

  12. Hi Rinkly
    from one mad lady to another. Good to meet you!
    I think Sylvia was doing the apologising - although she did all she could to change the situation, I think, and had no need for any apologising herself. She's a bloggy mate of mine. (see above)
    Well - you live in Newcastle. Good to meet you. Not so very far away - but still a couple of petrol tanks worth and a good long day on the road.
    If you do return we must meet.
    I wandered over to your poetry site and will return.

  13. Very cute sheep, not much sheering needed. And not a worry in drought or bush fire season. That part of Australia has its very own magnificence. And you got me hankering for a visit or two to some galleries.

    Regards Eaton. :)

  14. Hi June, Allow you to pick up on my recycled emails etc..I know my blog is a lot of things I get from my bro in law atm (in other words 'it's Pish!') but I'm finding it hard atm . You see we found out recently after weeks of tests and xrays etc that my sister (my donor twin) has got lung cancer and I'm struggling with other things - At one point I thought I would be presenting her with a kidney - but the latest is that there is no betterment - I'm trying to keep going to help her but it's hard June - I know you don't get a burden which is harder to bear than you can cope with but hell's teeth !!!

    We are going to Beatson Oncology today for her first Radium treatment. Nice eh ? I didn't think we would have to go through this again after the last time but "our's not to reason why though - if ya know what I mean" !

    Am trying to hold on and stay sane ... might have known you would pick up on it !
    Love Kate x.

  15. P.S. from one nutter to another... Unfortunately I tried to email you but for some unknown reason I can't do Microsoft for emails - my PC won't let me and as I'm a technical numpty I can't work out why !!!!

    By the way, I 'loved ' the sheep just finishes the pictures !!!

  16. You're right about those easy-care sheep EATON. Problem? No wool either!
    See you near the impressionists.

    I'm reaching across the seas to you - can you feel my hug? How awful for you and your family and, of course, your sister.
    My goodness lassie you've been through hell in the past year haven't you? It WILL turn the corner!
    We can wait for the return of your creativity.
    Take care Kate.

  18. I just love those rocky sheep! And that picture of you is great too.

  19. In India, 26th Jan. is our Republic Day, the day when India become a sovereign republic.
    I enjoyed your description and the snaps.

    Amazing. I will keep coming over.Your youtful exhuberance is visible.

  20. LADYFI
    The 'sheep' ARE special aren't they? They're made of sandstone which is very common in New South Wales - a lovely soft rock with heaps of character.

  21. NSIYER
    I visited your blog and enjoyed your incisive observations about the Indian hospital.

    I wish Australia Day, January 26 WAS our Republican Day.

    It is ridiculous that our nation is still tied in this way to the British. We have a Governor General, representative of the Queen of England, and our REAL representative is the Prime Minister.
    It is an issue that will be resolved soon, we hope.

  22. I can see why that area would foster so many artists. I imagine I could lose myself for days out there and be perfectly happy, but then what do you expect from a foolish mountain boy hooked on nature. The mountains in the distance seem so inviting to me.

  23. Helo dear,something went wrong with some of my blog postings,and I think that your cind response or greating just desaperd with the song I think.Was it Janis or Lenon?Greatings from Aleksandra

  24. ERIC
    Yes the Tweed is inspirational - except when one thinks about what it WOULD have been like before we chopped down the rainforests.
    The Great Dividing Range in the distance is often very rugged indeed - but no naturally occurring deer I'm afraid.

    It stretches many hundreds of kilometres the length of the State of NSW and beyond, further north. It's the barrier between the inland and the coastal strip.
    Mostly kangaroos, koalas (though less now)and many other smaller native animals, snakes,goannas (type of lizard). On and on.

    Oh dear - Hope things are okay for your blog.
    I was speaking about the Beatles 'Let It Be'. Magic.

  26. Australia is a scenic delight, especially when seen through your lenses. Thanks for the lovely pictures (yourself included).

    I'll have to get to some ugly bits to show you them as well. Although even the naturally ugly places often have a certain beauty of their own. Man does the stuffing up much of the time.
    Thanks for the kind words.

  28. June,
    I was walking back home by some construction going on , at our campus, and they had extricated some boulders almost identical to the ones that serve as sheep sculpture in your blog ! Having just seen your blog pictures, did give a novel view of those depressing boulders. I wouldnt have noticed them otherwise.

    Wonderful scenery and landscape, and of course, the sheep....

  29. I live in California near the famous Napa Valley. There are a lot of well-known galleries there- and the area in the spring time looks very much like Tweed Valley.

  30. I keep coming back to look at those sheep. They make me smile! Besides I'm a huge advocate of public art.

    Put some legs on the boulders and you will have some sheep of your own! Should be a hit on campus.

    That means you won't be so homesick when you come to visit.
    Except that there is one lonely gallery here - but not so many people as you would have.

  33. The sheep make me smile too DOGWALK - I'd like to meet the artist.
    I'm also with you on public art - it is so egalitarian and we all get to share.

  34. June, somehow I must have missed this post. You live in God's country you know. I love it up that way. What a wonderful place for an art gallery. Love your photo too!!! HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!

  35. Thanks really I mean it for so much beautiful and nice blog. Indeed i first looked at the photos and then the narrations. The part of India where I am doing my field work for mineral exploration has somewhat similar to it. Shall send you the Photos soon.

    I'll look forward to seeing the photos! You would see some beautiful untouched nature. As a geologist, do you wonder what happens to it if you do find minerals? I ask the question with respect ...

  37. You Rock, Girl.

    The pics transported me to a different world altogether. There was a time when I simply wanted to migrate to Australia for the sake of its beauty.

  38. HI Mampi good to see you again.
    Pleased you enjoyed the Tweed Valley.
    You will see I wandered over to your blog as welll - you've just had a wonderful holiday.

  39. Hi June, great to connect with another over 70 writer and I love your blog and all the photos, I have learned to put any on yet but hope to soon. I write history, none published yet but going to put my current project up soon. I found you from Silver,s blog, she was my firs follower. I haven't even posted for a while but plan to keep up more even tho I love reading others as much as writing my own. Kit

  40. Hi Kit
    Thanks for dropping by. Just visited your blog and Cloverleaf Farm. Keep up the good work with your blogging and you'll have the tecnhicals under your belt in no time.


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