Bundoora Homestead

The Missing Parrot

Public Description: 

‘The Missing Parrot’ by Claire McArdle tells a story about Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. A workman dropped a hammer through the stained glass ceiling destroying the centre of the glass ceiling that featured an image of a parrot. The parrots were not replaced and it was never restored to its original condition. Instead they added a red geometric design to the centre of the glass ceiling that remains today. Claire McArdle made this body of work at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre while artist-in-residence for the ‘Under Construction’ exhibition in 2016. The work consists of three second-hand hammers that have been hand carved into birds that are local to the Bundoora area.

Claire McArdle trained as a jeweler at RMIT University, completing her honours degree in 2011. In 2016 she won the National Contemporary Jewellry Award at the Griffith Regional Art Gallery. In 2014 she completed a residency at the Icelandic Textile Centre and in 2017 exhibited her work in Melbourne, Munich and Estonia. Her work is held in numerous collections including: RMIT University, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and Bluestone Collective, Melbourne.

Like Sands Through the Hourglass, So Are Days of Our Lives

Public Description: 

In this site-specific video work by artist Matthew Harris, the viewer will encounter surveillance footage of a cartoonish apparition interacting with the Bundoora Homestead mansion and its surrounds. The artist embodies a jumbled amorphous persona, making use of the site’s extensive Indigenous, equine and psychiatric history as they engage with the space.

Matthew Harris is an emerging artist who was born in Wangaratta in 1991. In primary school he won a plastic trophy for photographs. Matthew has exhibited at Wangaratta Art Gallery, BLINDSIDE, Strange Neighbour and the Centre for Contemporary Photography. In 2017 he exhibited with Neon Parc at the ‘Spring 1883’ Art Fair and had a solo show ‘Cream dreams’ at Alaska Projects in Sydney. Matthew lives and works in Melbourne. He likes flowers and long romantic walks by the sea at sunset.

Portrait of Wallace

Public Description: 

Wallace, the renowned stud thoroughbred, was the son of 1890 Melbourne Cup winner, Carbine, and is buried near the stables at Bundoora Park. Owned by J.M.V. Smith, original owner of Bundoora Homestead and Park and prominent horse breeding and racing industry identity, Wallace died in late 1917, aged 25.

From 1903 to 1915, Wallace was one of the most sought after breeding stallions in Australia and in 1915-16 he topped the Australian sire list with his progeny including Melbourne Cup winners Kingsburgh (1914) and Patrobas (1915). He competed in at least 949 races and won close to £250,000 in prize money.

The artist Mark Gawen was born in South Australia in 1861. He was best known as a sporting artist and was mostly self-taught apart from studying in Paris for a short time in 1891 during his thirties. He received commissions to paint many of the top race horses of his period. Gawen lived most of his life in Victoria and died in 1943.


Public Description: 

This is a portrait of the golden haired racehorse, titled Trafalgar. Trafalgar was one of the most popular horses of his time within Australian horse racing circles. From 59 starts he had 24 wins, 11 seconds and 6 thirds, his most significant wins being the Sydney Cup in 1909 and the AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1912. Trafalgar was a notable son of Wallace, who was the son of the 1890 Melbourne Cup winner, Carbine. In 1900, Wallace was bought by J.M.V. Smith, original owner of Bundoora Homestead and prominent identity in the horse breeding and racing industry and came to stud in 1901.

The artist Mark Gawen was born in South Australia in 1861. He was best known as a sporting artist and was mostly self-taught apart from studying in Paris for a short time in 1891 during his thirties. He received commissions to paint many of the top race horses of his period. The commission to paint Trafalgar’s portrait most likely came from his owners Messrs P & W Mitchell of Bringenlong, near Corryong. Gawen lived most of his life in Victoria and died in 1943.

Bundoora Homestead Welcome

Public Description: 

Hybrid mythical creatures and giant Australian animals are common encounters in the artwork of Sharon West. Set in a traditional landscape, West presents a unique way of exploring the relationships between the white settler, Aboriginal cultures and the Australian landscape. The artist navigates within Australia’s colonial narratives to highlight the cultural conditions of settlement, and the accompanying dispossession of Aboriginal people from their land.

West’s artwork is grounded in satire and, at the same time, references Australian landscape movement paintings, reflecting colonial perspectives of history and myth, while imbued with the artist’s imagination and personal narratives. Offering re-imagined glimpses of Victorian history with people of the Kulin Nation, West creates statements about colonisation as an evolving historical and cultural process.

In the richly textured Bundoora Homestead Welcome, West reflects on three distinct histories. Pre-colonial settlement is represented in the foreground by the land’s traditional owners, local Wurrundjeri Willam men, hunting for food when Mt. Cooper was an important ceremonial and camping ground. The middle ground depicts the occupants of Bundoora Homestead going about their daily activities; men astride horses and a woman promenading through the gardens with parasol in hand. The background shows Bundoora Homestead, a Queen Anne Federation style mansion built in 1899 as the centrepiece of 600 acre horse stud which was refurbished by Darebin City Council in 2001 as a public art gallery and heritage facility for the wider community to enjoy. Presented in an oval shaped picture frame, as was fashionable during the 1800s to the mid- 20th century, the word 'Welcome' is printed around the edge of the artwork in some of the most popular languages currently spoken in the Darebin municipality.

West has developed a comprehensive and impressive body of work examining the relationship between settler and Indigenous cultures within the context of Australian colonial art history. She practices principally with the mediums of painting, assemblage and digital media. West has exhibited widely in Australia and has curated a number of exhibitions working primarily with Victorian Indigenous artists. She is the recipient of various awards including the Excellence in Conceptual Photography Award Kodak Salon (CCP, 2011) Bendigo Bank Emerging Award for the ANL Maritime Art Awards (Mission to Seafarers, 2011), and winner of the Darebin Art Show (2011). Her artwork is held in public collections including the State Library of Victoria, City of Melbourne and the Museum of the British Empire (UK) as well as many private collections.

Bundoora Homestead Welcome © Sharon West

Bundoora Homestead

Public Description: 

Bangkok-born Srivilasa created the work Bundoora Homestead for a group exhibition held within the Access Gallery at Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery in 2006. His work responds to the history and architectural features of Bundoora Homestead through the use of motifs associated with the Smith Family, owners of the property between 1899 and 1920. The blue and white cylindrical ceramic vase, decorated with the race and stud horse, Wallace, and a swallow and butterfly design found within the stained glass windows in the building, are surrounded by eight small white sculptural hands.

Wallace, who was sired by the 1890 Melbourne Cup winner Carbine, was a thoroughbred at stud at Bundoora Park from 1901 to 1917 and earned a fortune for the Smith family via successful progeny including the champion racehorse, Trafalgar. Portraits of both Wallace and Trafalgar are part of the Darebin Art Collection.

The swallow and butterfly featured in the stained glass windows in the Homestead are attributed to August Fischer, a renowned glass artist of the late 19th century in Melbourne.

Srivilasa’s art practice is predominantly focused upon ceramics, and also includes animation, works on paper and sculpture. His recent work explores ideas of contemporary social, political and ethical issues, as well as his experience living between his two homes; Australia and Thailand. This distinctive blue and white style pottery is based on the Thai tradition of making Chinese style ‘blue and white’ under-glazed porcelain, sometimes called Ming porcelain (although the style originated earlier in the Yuan dynasty (1271-1378).

Living History [Bundoora Homestead]

Public Description: 

In Living History [Bundoora Homestead], Ju Yuen Merran Chew fluidly captures the fleeting nature of time and movement through perceptual drawing. Her ethereal depiction of the ground floor interior of Bundoora Homestead involves the layering of images to create a space where the different qualities of textures and patterns intersect; each component changing another by its presence.

Ju-Yuen Merran Chew’s art practice is concentrated primarily around drawing. She is attracted to the visual qualities of translucency, multiplicity and complex or interconnected structures. Her interests include exploring visual perception and tactile response, subjective visual experiences, memory and drawing, and drawing and creativity. Chew has exhibited in group exhibitions and art prizes around Victoria since receiving the Zurich Australia Scholarship (Visual Arts) in 2002. She was a winner of the Darebin Art ShowLiving History [Bundoora Homestead] © Ju-Yuen Merran Chew

Bundoora Homestead I

Public Description: 

In Bundoora Homestead I, Stephen Armstrong links the past and present through his depiction of Bundoora Homestead, a stately Queen Anne Federation style mansion. Built in 1899 for a prominent horse racing identity, John Matthew Vincent Smith (1857-1922) and his family, the homestead now operates as a public art gallery. A sense of foreboding prevails as fast moving storm clouds shroud the sky in black and purple hues. In the foreground, circular beds of roses and cannas are surrounded by immaculately manicured lawns reminiscent of the archetypal English manor house. Overlooking this scene is a single struggling palm tree while a solitary native Australian magpie forages for food before the storm breaks.

Armstrong works primarily with oils, painting on site or plein air, in the traditional genres of the figure, still life and, predominately, landscape. Armstrong's work generally investigates natural, built and urban environments as he captures the atmosphere of a specific place and time.

Bundoora Homestead I © Stephen Armstrong

Teacosy Number 34, Bundoora Homestead

Public Description: 

Crafted from fabric, quilting, beads, silk and plastic, Teacosy Number 34, Bundoora Homestead is a tribute to former times when teacosies were a practical, yet highly decorative domestic accessory. The rich, luxurious colour shadings of burgundy and brown together with the use of hand embroidery techniques convey a sense of history and formality. A small plastic horse adorns the teacosy acknowledging Bundoora Homestead’s original use as a racehorse breeding stud led by the champion stallion Wallace, sired by Carbine, winner of the 1896 Melbourne Cup. The teacosy is embroidered on both sides with a swallow that appears prominently throughout Bundoora Homestead’s interior stained and painted glass scheme and the fabrics reflect some of the homestead’s original paint colours.

Tara Badcock is a Tasmanian based conceptual artist and designer working primarily with textiles. Her work is held in a number of private and public collections including the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery and UNESCO’s Collection Permanent in Paris, France.

Teacosy Number 34, Bundoora Homestead © Tara Badcock