Australia Felix – Jeff Makin

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22 August – 11 October 2020

 

 

 

 
 
 
Image above: Jeff Makin – Acacia and Blackboys, 24/60, 43 × 59cm, etching, 2004,
Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 

 

Australia Felix is the title for the suite of ten etchings by Central Victorian artist, Jeff Makin, inspired by the Australian landscape. 

In 1836, the explorer, Major Mitchell coined the Latin phrase 'Australia Felix', which loosely translated means ‘the lucky country’ and describes the landscape south of the Murray river. In these etchings, Makin depicts some of the beauty and diversity of Australia from acacia and grass trees in Margaret River, Western Australia to boabs and emus in the Northern Territory.

The creation of these artworks was supported by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Port Jackson Press.  In 2019, Jeff and Elizabeth Makin generously donated these etchings to Central Goldfields Art Gallery through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. 
 

 


 

Exhibition Tour

Tour the exhibition hanging in the Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Watch the video here.

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Listen to Jeff Makin

Jeff speaks about central Victoria, the development of the Australia Felix project and the Grand Duke artwork. Watch the video here.

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The following information is a copy of the title page of the Australia Felix suite of etchings. 

Australia Felix

A suite of ten etchings by Jeffrey Makin

Australia Felix first enters our lexicon in 1836 when the explorer, Major Mitchell, used these words to describe the rich pastoral country south of the Murray River. “Felix” is Latin for “lucky” hence Australia Felix becomes the origin of the phrase “the lucky country” and since then has been used by artists and writers alike to describe a specifically Australian landscape. Sir Arthur Streeton used it as a title for his 1907 masterpiece painted from Mt Macedon looking north-west, not far from the Mitchell Trail. It was also used by Makin as the title of a monograph on his paintings published by Macmillan in 2003.

The concept of the suite was the outcome of discussions between Port Jackson Press and the Australian Conservation Foundation. Both share a love and concern for the landscape. Hence it was agreed to create a suite of etchings to celebrate World Environment Week, in June 2004.

The selection of images range across all states from Western Australia to Tasmania, and within the limitations of only ten images show a diverse range of Australian landscape types. Australia Felix is based upon a landscape near Merrijig in the foothills of Victoria’s high country, similar to the land that inspired Mitchell; The Pinnacles, are the eroded remains of an ancient petrified forest, now a desert, in Numbung National Park, near the township of Cervantes, north of Perth, Western Australia; Acacia and Blackboys can be found in the entire rich vineyard country of Margaret River, south of Perth; Cedar Creek Falls, in the Tambourine Mountain Park, inland from Surfers Paradise, Queensland; Boabs and Emu began as a sketch on the road to Kunnunrra, just west of Katherine in the Northern Territory; Cape Schanck looks out at Bass Strait, Victoria, it was first painted by Eugen von Guerard in 1865, and is included here as an artist-to artist homage; Sylvan Landscape is on the east of the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, close to where the artist lived for many years; Flinders Ranges is in South Australia, this particular composition was drawn near Parachilna looking east directly at St Mary’s Peak, the highest point; Murray Riverbank, with it’s stark dead river gums is a reminder of a river in crisis due to lack of water flow and salinity, and Cradle Mountain, with its dolerite peaks reflecting in the picturesque waters of Lake Dove Tasmania, is a powerful symbol of a pristine environment.

As the landscape changes so does the range of printmaking techniques and colours used to describe it. The sublime violence of Cedar Creek Falls began in black and white but finally ended up in a romantic Goethe blue. Deep bitten aquatints, dry point, roulette and hard-ground lines are used on a single plate to create the rock/water, wet/dry, static/dynamic nature of this waterfall. Whereas Acacia and Blackboys is a three plate colour etching where a whole battery of techniques can be seen: soap and sugar lift grounds, roulette, dry point, soft and hard ground lines and à la poupée. Chine collé is used on Murray Riverbank to convey that dreamy end-of-day moment at dusk. And the Cape Schanck plate went through many stages of sugar-lift aquatint, open-bite, scraping back and burnishing trying to achieve that incredibly eroded look that is a characteristic of this coastline.

The Prints:
1.      Australia Felix.
2.     Acacia and Blackboys.
3.     The Pinnacles.
4.     Boabs and Emu.
5.     Cape Schanck.
6.     Murray Riverbank.
7.     Cedar Creek Falls.
8.     Flinders Ranges.
9.     Sylvan Landscape.
10.   Cradle Mountain.

De Luxe Edition: Sixty sets of ten etchings, numbered 1-60 signed lower right, with title page, in and Oxford Buckram presentation portfolio.

The Proofing and printing has been completed by master printers Belinda Fox, Sophia Szilagyi, Trent Walter, Antoinette Corvino-Beehre and Adrian Kellett at the Port Jackson Press Studio, Melbourne, Australia, 2004.

All images are printed on Magnani Incisioni 300 gsm, sheet size 76x56cms.

Published by Port Jackson Press Australia in collaboration with the Australian Conservation Foundation.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Australia Felix.jpg

 

Australia Felix

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff_Makin_Acacia_and_Blackboys_2460.jpg

 

Acacia and Blackboys

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – The Pinnacles, from Australia Felix

 

The Pinnacles

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Boabs and Emu, from Australia Felix

 

Boabs and Emu

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jef Makin – Cape Schanck, from Australia Felix

 

Cape Schanck

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Murray Riverbank, from Australia Felix pg

 

Murray Riverbank

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Cedar Creek Falls, from Australia Felix

 

Cedar Creek Falls

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Flinders Ranges, from Australia Felix

 

Flinders Ranges

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Sylvan Landscape, from Australia Felix

 

Sylvan Landscape

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin – Cradle Mountain, from Australia Felix

 

Cradle Mountain

Jeff Makin

Etching 24/60
2004

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Jeffrey Makin and Elizabeth Makin.

 


 

Jeff Makin's printmaking techniques

Jeff discusses the techniques used in some of the the Australia Felix etchings. Watch the video here.

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Grand Duke Mine

In 2019 Jeff Makin explored the local landscape of central goldfields and was drawn to the Grand Duke Mine in Timor. His subsequent painting has been acquired by Central Goldfields Art Gallery and will be on public display for the first time as part of this exhibition.

 

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Grand Duke

Jeff Makin

2019
Oil on canvas

Central Goldfields Art Gallery.

 


 

Grand Duke Sketch – Jeff Makin

 

Grand Duke Mine

Jeff Makin

2019
Pencil sketch on paper

Central Goldfields Art Gallery. Gift of the Artist.

 


 

Below are some photos taken in Timor of the remaining ruins of the Grand Duke mine's pumping house and mine site.

Grand Duke pumping house ruins

 

Remnants of the Grand Duke mine

Grand Duke pump house ruins 2 Grand Duke pump house ruins 3

Photos by Glenn McGoldrick

 


 

History of the Grand Duke Mine

The most important deep alluvial mine [on the Chinaman’s Flat Lead] was that belonging to the Duke and Timor Gold Mining Company – later known as the Grand Duke which opened in 1869 and closed in 1896 during which time 216,000 oz of gold was won with a value at the time of £864,000 … The Duke was in Timor close to the Timor southern boundary abutting Chinaman’s. The site is still marked by the granite arch near the Timor school.

Work started in 1869 and a 360 ft shaft was required. The water was heavy and eventually a first-rate pumping plant had to be installed. The Advertiser of 22 April 1874 described the pumping engine house. The beam walls were six feet wide and 265.5 feet long on foundations sixteen feet deep. John James of Ballarat built it for £1030.

The pumping engine was made by Harvey and Co. in Cornwall – a ‘truly Cornish beam engine’. It was a vertical engine with an eighty inch cylinder, piston rods eight inches in diameter, a ten foot stroke, seventeen feet long and generating 270 horsepower. The beam was the most massive in the state being made of iron and weighing thirty tons … The plant could raise 200 gallons of water per stroke or 2000 gallons per minute or 20,160,000 per week.

In April 1875 a lump of gold weighing 100 pounds (the result of four weeks’ work at The Duke) was exhibited in Mr Lowenstein’s window in High Street.

Maryborough A Social History 1854–1904, Betty Osborn and Trenear DuBourg, 1985

 

Other facts:

The huge granite blocks of the Grand Duke pumping house were quarried at Mt Hooghly.

During the last seven years water pumped from the mine averaged about 1,804 gallons per minute (2.6million gallons per day) making the mine the longest and most continuous wet mine in Victoria.

In 1879, June 7th, the bottom plunger of the pump at the Duke mine broke, flooding the mine, which was out of action for two years, surrounding smaller claims also flooded and hundreds of miners were out of work. The town nearly died, but picked up when the Duke mine eventually pumped their water out and the small claims were able to start again.

The average number of men employed during the life of the mine was 150.

By 1887, the Duke mine was producing 1500 ounces (60kg) of gold per week.

Several tombstones at the Timor and Maryborough cemeteries tell of the many tragedies at the Duke mines.

 

3 Timor Tombstones

 

Photos by Glenn McGoldrick

 


 

Many thanks to Barbara Nielsen, President of Maryborough Midlands Historical Society Inc., for her research on the Grand Duke mine and the Maryborough Library for additional reference material on the history of Timor. For further reading contact Maryborough Library here.