Sculpting the Capricorn Coast, Banner

Most Australians choose to live by the sea, and despite the fact that historians and critics, both literary and artistic, have tended to write maritime themes out of the national mythology in favour of the heroic stories and scenes of the outback, the coast has always had a special place in the Australian imagination. As the historian Frank Broeze put it, ‘Colonial Australian society had a distinct tang of the sea about it’, [Broeze 1998:223] and while Tom Roberts might be best known for The Golden Fleece, or Shearing of the Rams, he also painted Slumbering Sea, Mentone 1887, near Keefer’s boatshed, and The Sunny South 1887, of young men bathing in Port Phillip Bay. Indeed, all the artists of the Heidelberg School composed remarkable beachscapes, and port and harbour scenes. For those who care to look, representations of the coast, and especially the beach, abound in all the artistic forms by which we define ourselves and our way of life. Indeed, the Australian love affair with the beach grows ever more ardent each year, with a steady shift from the bush to the coast where 86% of the population now reside.

Yeppoon Main Beach, 1965
Magnifying glass Yeppoon Main Beach c1965
RDHS Collection
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