The Archibald Prize! As artistic conception that would change with the times!

WINNER OF THE FIRST ARCHIBALD PRIZE, W.B. McINNES.

CHARGE LAID: THE 1948 PORTRAIT OF FELLOW ARTIST JOSHUA SMITH, BY BILL DOBELL, WAS BEING DEEMED A CARICATURE BY TWO ENTRANTS WHO TOOK LEGAL ACTION. THEY LOST.

BRETT WHITELEY CAME UP WITH A FRESH LOOK.

BUT THE REAL DRAMA BEGAN WHEN WILLIAM DOBELL GOT UP IN A COURT CASE THAT PUSHED THE WAR OFF THE FRONT PAGE!

FRANK MORRIS

CRITICS, ARTISTS AND SELECTED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC COME OUT TO DEBATE THE ART PRIZE THAT HAS BEEN FRAUGHT WITH CONTROVERSY, THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE, ACCORDING TO ANNA WALDMANN, IN HER FORWARD TO THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, 1921-1981.

THIS PRIZE HAS STIRRED THE IMAGINATION AND RATTLED THE ART ESTABLISHMENT SINCE ITS INCEPTION.

JOURNALIST, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, J. F. ARCHIBALD, WAS BORN IN 1856 AT KILDARE IN VICTORIA”. ATHOUGH HE WAS CHRISTENED ‘JOHN FELTHAM’, HE LATER FRENCHIFIED THE NAMES TO “JULES FRANCOIS”.

ARCHIBALD, THE FAMOUS EDITOR OF THE BULLETIN, THE ‘BUSHMAN’S BIBLE’, WAS HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL IN LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY POLITICS, LITERATURE AND ART.

WHEN HE LEFT SCHOOL, HE WAS EMPLOYED ON THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER, THE EXAMINER AND LATER, THE STANDARD. NOW, WITH A TRUCKLOAD OF EXPERIENCE BEHIND HIM, HE WENT TO WORK IN MELBOURNE FOR THE HERALD AND FOR THE DAILY TELEGRAPH.

WITH HIS FRIEND, JOHN HAYNES, HE FOUNDED THE BULLETIN IN SYDNEY IN 1880.

ARCHIBALD DIED IN 1919. ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE LEFT AN ESTATE VALUED AT NEARLY NINETY THOUSAND POUNDS. THUS, THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE WAS BORN.

THE GOOD TIMES:WHEN W.B.McINNES WON THE COVETED PRIZE FIVE TIMES IN SIX YEARS. THE BAD TIMES: WHEN WILLIAM DOBELL WAS ACCUSED THAT THE PORTRAIT LOOKED LIKE A CARICATURE.

THE INAUGURAL ARCHIBALD WAS AWARDED IN 1921. THE FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS IN PRIZE-MONEY WENT TO W.B. MCINNES FOR HIS PORTRAIT OF PROMINENT MELBOURNE ARCHITECT HAROLD DESBROWE-ANNEAR.

MCINNES WON AGAIN IN 1922 AND IN 1923 WITH PORTRAIT OF A LADY, ESTHER PATERSON, A BULLETIN ARTIST. IN ALL MCINNES WON THE PRIZE SEVEN TIMES, FIVE TIMES IN THE ARCHIBALD’S FIRST SIX YEARS.

BUT THERE’RE GOOD TIMES AND BAD.

THE REAL DRAMA BEGAN IN 1943 WHEN THE WINNER WAS ANNOUNCED:WILLIAM DOBELL’S PORTRAIT OF JOSHUA SMITH. THE WAR WAS SUMMARILY PUSHED OFF THE FRONT PAGES.

TWO OTHER ENTRANTS, MARY EDWARDS AND JOSEPH WOLINSKI, TOOK LEGAL ACTION AGAINST DOBELL AND THE TRUSTEES. WRITES HELEN PITT, OF SPECTRUM: “THE PAINTING WAS NOT A PORTRAIT AS DEFINED BY THE ARCHIBALD BEQUEST, BUT A CARICATURE”.

THE UPSHOT WAS THAT THE CASE WAS HEARD IN THE SUPREME COURT IN OCTOBER 1944. WRITES HELEN PITT: “THE COURT EVENTUALLY FOUND IN FAVOUR OF DOBELL’S WORK AND ORDERED THE CLAIMANTS PAY COSTS FOR DOBELL AND THE TRUSTEES”.

EDMUND CAPON, IN THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, SAID“IF ART BE A MEDIUM THAT CONFUSES, CONFOUNDS AND DISTURBS … ARGUABLY, THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE IS FULFILLING AN ARTISTIC ROLE”.

“WHEN ARTISTIC CONCEPTIONS AND EXPRESSIONS ARE CHANGING SO RADICALLY. IT IS PERHAPS SURPRISING THAT THE PRIZE SURVIVED AT ALL. BUT IT HAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO”.

+<< BACKGROUND FROM THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, 1921-1981.

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Grand Years in NZ: Great Kiwi Firsts. Dunedin -- it streets ahead!

DUNEDIN’S BALDWIN STREET IS THE LONGEST STREET IN THE STATE.

DUNEDIN KNOWS HOW TO KEEP IT VISITORS FIT AND TRIM. EVERYONE IS EXPECTED HOW JOG UP AND DOWN BALDWIN STREET AT LEAST 10 TIMES BEFORE BREAKFAST!

ONLY KIDDING.

BUT SERIOUSLY, IT WOULDN’T HURT TO DO IT AT LEAST ONCE A DAY. BALDWIN STREET, WHICH RUNS OFF NORTH ROAD, IS THE STEEPEST STREET IN THE WORLD – AND THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS PROVED IT.

IT HAS A GRADIENT OF 1 IN 1266. THAT’S STEEP! DUNEDIN ALSO PRIDES ITSELF IN HAVING THE ONLY CASTLE IN NEW ZEALAND; THE LARNACH CASTLE BUILT IN 1887.

IT IS ALSO, APPARENTLY, STEEPED IN A TRAGIC AND SCANDALOUS PAST. FRANK MORRIS.

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FLASHBACK: GRANVILLE RAILWAY TRAGEDY STOPS A CITY

THROUGH THE MESS AND MISERY.

FRANK MORRIS

THIS YEAR IS THE 44TH ANNIVERARY OF THE GRANVILLE RAILWAY DISASTER IN NSW.

AT 6.09 AM ON JANUARY 18, 1977, A TRAIN HEADED FROM THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, TRAVELLING TO SYDNEY WITH COMMUTERS ABOARD, STRUCK THE OVERHEAD ROAD BRIDGE WHICH CAME CRASHING DOWN ON THE TRAIN.

IT ROBBED THE LIFE OF 296 PASSENGER – 83 WERE KILLED, AND 213 WERE INJURED. IT WAS THE WORST RAIL ACCIDENT IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY.

THE MOST ADVANCED EMERGERCY TEAMS WERE ON THE JOB.

“THE LIVING WERE GREETED WITH HOPE, THE DEAD WERE PASSED QUIETLY, COVERED IN BLANKETS,” REPORTED A MORNING NEWSPAPER.

<< FROM GRAND YEARS.

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Read all about it! Errol Flynn was untrained to make a movie

SNAPSHOT OF FLYNN TAKEN BY CHARLES CHAUVEL ON BOARD THE BOUNTY.

FRANK MORRIS

Errol Flynn was paid 50 pounds to play the part of Fletcher Christian in the Wake of the Bounty, his first film by the director Charles Chauvel.

Flynn, on his mother’s side, was a descendant of Midshipman Young, a pal and companion of Christian. Christian was part of crew of the Bounty mutiny of 1789.

Flynn was obviously untrained for the part – he was quite appalling -- but he wanted to live as an actor.

In 1933, he went to England. He got a part in Murder at Monte Carlo and the rest is history.

Flynn was paid three pounds for making a personal appearance at the cinema where In the Wake of the Bounty was being screened.

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AUTHORS: Robbery Under Arms was selected for “complete” realism

THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN STARLIGHT. POLICE SURROUND THE AREA.

THE GAP OF DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW.

FRANK MORRIS

Melbourne newspaper, The Argus, became the first newspaper to produce a subsidiary publication of any note. In 1850, it founded The Australasian as a quarterly, the first issue was 148 pages.

The editorial manifesto was clear-cut: to acquaint readers with public opinion and to introduce to the Australian public the “most remarkable” of English publications.

“(At the time) The Australasian was justified … to bridge the gap of distance between the old world and the new, and to keep before the Australian settlers and the native-born

alike, some cultural ties with the ‘home’ and some comparative standards,” writes Frank S. Greenop.

THE EDITORS REJECTED THE FIRST TWO OPENING CHAPTERS OF THE BUSHRANGING SAGA BECAUSE, IN THEIR OPINION, THEY THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE “FAR TOO GLOOMY”.

The magazine had adopted, according to Greenop, “an attitude of complete realism towards the public needs of the time and place.” The policy was successful. The Australasian was published weekly from 1864. It eventually achieved a nation-wide coverage.

In 1882, the editors rejected the first two chapters of Rolf Boldrewood’s bushranging saga Robbery under Arms “as being too gloomy”. Instead, the editors elected to serialise Boldrewood’s Old Melbourne Memories.

For the Fairfax-owned Sydney Mail, Robbery Under Arms was serialised over twelve months, from 1882 and 1883, a proved to be a great circulation winner.

But the Mail’s editor, Frederick Ward, had put up a strenuous argument to convince James Reading Fairfax that Boldrewood’s thoroughly moral tale “would not undermine respected from the property and due process of law”.

The magazine was still going strong when the powers to be thought that a modern-day facelift would do the trick.

<< FROM GRAND YEARS.

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TV: FOUR CORNERS “STILL DRAWING FIRE”, SAYS THE GUIDE

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

THE FLAGSHIP OF ABC JOURNALISM HAS BEEN EXPOSING CORRUPTION, MISDEEDS AND ABUSE OF POWER FOR 60 YEARS, SAYS THE GUIDE. THE WORK OF ITS REPORTERS – JOHN PENLINGTON, ANDREW OLLE, MIKE WILLESEE, CHRIS MASTERS AND SARAH FERGUSON AMONG THEM – HAVE EXPOSED CORRUPTION, INSTIGATED ROYAL COMMISSIONS, FOR SIX DECADES. FOUR CORNERS WENT TO AIR FOR THE FIRST TIME ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 1961. THE PROGRAM HAS WON 62 WALKLEY AWARDS AND 23 LOGIES.

YOUR NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL APPEAR ON SEPTEMBER 10

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 25 August 21

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