Last few days in Melbourne – 5-8th January 2012

There are so many small jobs to conclude before we go to New Zealand. The difficulty with our car hire: Hertzt not knowing that we have already paid a comparison website for the car, getting a refund on the nightie I had removed from the first flat we stayed at in Sydney in October, doing washing and researching in preparation for New Zealand.

It does not make for good reading but it is very much part of travel! There are hours on the net, completing this blog and trying to get up to date!

However, we cannot restrain from a visit to see Melbourne’s art gallery near Federation Square. In Brisbane we had seen precious few aboriginal art, including two wonderful pieces on bark.

In Melbourne there is a brilliant exhibition of modern aboriginal artists and a more permanent 1970s exhibition. Both are wonderful and we are lucky to have a tour to explain some of the background.

Aboriginal art grew from the dot patterns which adorned body art. It tells stories from the dreamtime and from the culture. While being painted the artists sing. Many paintings are created by groups who sing together, telling the stories of old. The exhibition was good at explaining the dreadful, catastrophic effect of European development, not least the A bomb testing in the desert which relocated many tribes.

The older bark paintings, such as the one I have uploaded, describe in detail the ceremonies, not a line is wasted. Every detail records important aspects. Not all tribes can read each others stories. Today aboriginal art is highly commercial. Modern painters have the confidence to take the old stories and reinterpret them in their own style. Their colours are incredibly vibrant.

I was overwhelmed by the life of this art but had not brought my camera! How could I?

Our last day at the house was devoted to cleaning. Just about everything we could, was moved, dusted, hoovered or scrubbed.

A last BBQ ended our day, and we went to bed exhausted but pleased with our results.