Title: Tempus Fugit
Artist: Barbie Greenshields
Safe: Albany Historical Society
…Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore… Virgil (from Georgics)
(…But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail…)
I remember, drinking from the canvas water bag that hung from the veranda roof rafters of the Snowtown railway station. These were the hot dry summers of the early 60’s.
It gave me the sweetest, coolest water I ever tasted.
The drinking spout was hooked up to the top of the bag when not in use. When you wanted a drink there was a sense of excitement, because at the point where the spout was lowered to the bag’s water level it would suddenly flood out and then you would have to drink quickly so as not to spill too much.
To the touch the bag was intriguingly solid; the fluid, a hard lump in a taut, fibre skin and yet still permeable to the outside. The smell of the sodden canvas was as delicious as the taste of the cool water.
The water bag’s cooling works on the same principle as that of the Coolgardie safe; a breeze and the seepage of water travelling through the weave of hessian on the outside of the safe subdue the heat, allowing its inside to stay cool, holding its contents in temporary stasis and perhaps, vicariously stilling time.
Title: A Mother’s Bloodline
Safe: Albany Historical Society Collection
Artist Jillian Green has created four small painted panels that sit acrossd the top of her Albany safe. These paintings gently echo the delicate and precious family keep sakes that Jillian has carefully arranged inside:
"Having spent the first eight years of my life in Kalgoorlie I remember seeing several unused Coolgardie safes. There was one at the back of my great auntie’s dress shop on Hannan street. The clothes I’ve placed in the safe are from this shop and were worn by my sister and I. I think my grandmother made the shoes. My family and I are not particularly sentimental nor do we hoard things but we hang on to these baby clothes, not quite knowing what to do with them. It’s the end of the bloodline with us and it’s not like anyone else would want them or use them but they’re too precious for the op shop. I’ve done my bit using them in still life drawings and in this current show after which I suppose they’ll come home with me and sit in a draw ambivalently kept safe."
Title: Cool Jute, Warm Jute (rear)
Title: Safe Deposit, Safe Guard, Safe Haven and Safe Bet (with safe)
A safe from the Western Australian Museum has been the inspiration for this group of artworks by the Fringe Collective aka Jane King and Anne Duff.
Anne has responded to the materiality of the Coolgardie safe with paintings that reference the variations of temperatures at work between the threads of hessian that enclose a safe. Jane has taken a more conceptual direction, taking ideas and associations with the way a safe functions as a repository for memories, experiences and personal ephemera. Together these artworks work in visual harmony with the Coolgardie safe that has inspired them.
Title: Henry and Anne Herbert Arriving in Fremantle 1850
Albany artist Jenny Crisp has drawn on her own family history as inspiration for her artwork in Safe Keeping. Jenny’s great grandparents, Anne and Henry Herbert, arrived in Fremantle on the first convict ship destined for WA, the Scindian. Herbert, a Pensioner Guard and was given land in Freshwater Bay and from 1851 Anne used the family cottage in Victoria Avenue as a school house.
This cottage now houses the Claremont Museum, so it highly fitting that it is in a Coolgardie safe from this museum, that Jenny’s artwork can be seen.
The periscope from the Army Museum of WA is proving a real hit at the Safe Keeping Exhibition!
It is trained on Cherish Maddington’s small scale models placed inside Tranby’s Coolgardie safe.
Top: John Parker and Maureen Smith, volunteers at Woodloes Homestead in Cannington. Woodloes lent a safe that appaers on all Heritage Festival promotional materials.
Bottom: From left to right - Kathleen Gedling, Mary Pluschke, Carole Teakle and Olive Patrick from Chiverton House, who travelled down from Northampton to see their ‘wagga’ flour sack quilt and their Coolgardie safe from the Northampton Historical Society.
Some great pictures of the National Trust’s successful Heritage Festival school holiday program at Perth Town Hall. Kids made their own model Coolgardie Safe as part of the Safe keeping Exhibition.
I was delighted to see that a person from the Netherlands enjoyed my artistic interpretation of the Coolgardie Safe so much that he reblogged it to his site. Our heritage goes far and wide!
During an open day we were thrilled to visit the beautiful romanesque church designed (and mostly built) by Monsignor Hawes, who is something of a legend here in the Mid West. There are wonderful local people who are dedicated to the preservation of the church and telling others about it. Well done!
Title: Precious and Treasure
For the Safe Keeping exhibition, Moira Court has hung a magnificent portait of the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo above the Coolgardie safe from the history hosue Museum, Armadale. Inside the safe she has installed a small painting of the cockatoo’s eggs.
As Moira explains, “Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos are only found in the south-west of Western Australia and are listed as an endangered species at state, national and international levels. The major threats facing the cockatoos are the clearing of their feeding and breeding grounds for farming, destruction of nesting hollows for firewood, competition with other species for nesting hollows and illegal poaching. The Coolgardie Safe can be seen as a safe protecting the eggs and thus the next generation of birds or as an alternative nesting hollow.”