PAINTED by 207 RESIDENTS and STAFF and FAMILY and FRIENDS
of BROUGHTON HALL [Anglican Aged Care Services Group]
CAMBERWELL VICTORIA AUSTRALIA
3m X 1.75m
‘EDWARDIAN POSTCARD’ (2002)
The Broughton Hall Edwardian Postcard painting is 3 metres long and 1.75 metres deep. In the top left-hand corner, to the middle of the painting, a row of stained glass hearts record the names of those who have ‘laid down their heavy burden’.
In the centre panel, a white peace dove with an olive branch represents a heartfelt wish for love and world peace. The dove also represents our desire for emotional and spiritual contentment. The Holy Spirit, also in the form of the dove, flies above a portrait of Jesus Christ, whose love and light symbolically shines over and protects Broughton Hall, and Australia, her people and her flag.
The music of ‘The Irish Washerwoman’ runs from the centre to the top right-hand corner. An angel playing the violin heralds the musical notation. Don, one of the residents, contributes a vinyl disk which heralds a new generation of music and musicians.
Two panels run the depth of the work to visually anchor it at each end. At the foot of these panels are the images of ‘Red’ the dog and ‘Sylvester’ the cat. Using artistic License, these panels depicting Australian fauna and flora were based on elements of the plaster reproduction of the Florentine “Ghilberti Doors” frieze inside the front door of Tara. To produce something uniquely Australian, the European owl and oak have been replaced by the kookaburra and cockatoo, the waratah, the wattle and the flowering gums.
The nursing staff and caterers appear in Victorian period costume in a display of family photographs. The Broughton Hall ghost is depicted as the Butler carrying a tray of drinks. The hidden tiger represents the Richmond Football Club.
The living memories of the interesting and varied lives of Broughton Hall residents are displayed as vignettes on a Victorian wallpaper backdrop, which runs the full length of the bottom panel.
A childhood memento of a “guardian angel’ is testament to a lifelong friendship. The Buddha and red and gold “good luck” panel acknowledges the valuable contribution made by those staff members from Asia. The bronze horse represents the Chinese Year of the Horse (it’s 2002) and reminds us of the achievements of Broughton Hall’s former equestrians and horse breeders.
For some residents the long hot Australian summers were spent building sandcastles at the bathing boxes on Edithvale Beach, a memory captured in the work.
The colonial splendour of the Kandy temple elephant of Ceylon represents the many residents who began their lives in the far reaches of the former British Empire. Peoples from ten different countries, including Asia, Africa and India painted and decorated the elephant’s regalia.
The vase of carnations includes the pink ‘Madeleine’ carnation named for its creator.
The bird-feeder and butterflies express the residents’ pleasure in seeing the changing seasons and the promise of new and evolving life in Broughton Hall’s lovely gardens. Although he cannot see it, ‘The Whirling Dervishes’ is a lasting memory in his owner’s sightless spinning world.
The reconnaissance aircraft and aerial view of Broughton Hall depicts the past life of the resident aviatrix and other air men and women, as well as soldiers and sailors, within Broughton Hall’s ranks and their families who so courageously served [and still serve] to protect our beautiful country.
These images form the borders of two panels in which the most frequently requested ideas appear. The sweeping Australian countryside is a reminder of halcyon childhood days and the arduous work and capital investment made by pioneer families in Australia’s future. This harsh but magnificent bush landscape is juxtaposed by a soft rose petal floral arrangement - the wish for an easier life for successive generations.
Julie Gross McAdam gratefully acknowledges the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
and their generous grant to Anglican Aged Care Services Group.