Australian history

Robert Hughes, 1938 – 2012

August 19, 2012
Screen shot 2012-08-19 at 9.53.55 AM

When Robert Hughes died last week, I spent much of the day on the telephone. Inevitably, the passing of this great, controversial figure was a media event of the first order. Among the mass of small comments I had to produce, the Sydney Morning Herald asked for a quick 500 words. The following day the … More


Impressions: Painting Light & Life

February 4, 2012
Julian Ashton, 'Study of Alice Muskett', oil on wood, 1893

A survey of portraiture by Australian artists of the late nineteenth century would seem to be long overdue. Despite the institutional obsession with all things contemporary, the works of the so-called Australian Impressionists – Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Fred McCubbin and Charles Conder – remain the most popular drawcards in our public collections. The problem … More


From Bondi to Broken Hill

May 1, 1998

It was in the middle of a London winter that I first became aware of the great, abiding seductiveness of Sydney. The occasion was a trip to the movies on one of those typically grey days when a little watery sunshine appears at about 10 o’clock and is gone by half-past three. The air was … More