History & Culture
Early Victoria: Bushfires, gold rushes and sad bushrangers
FROM VICTORIA'S GOLD RUSHES to its bushrangers, English artist William Strutt's (1825-1915) paintings captured the state's colonial history in vivid scenes and sketches. William arrived at Melbourne in 1850 and began work as an illustrator painting portraits of people such as explorer Robert O'Hara Burke, who's famous expedition with William John Wills ended in their tragic deaths. William illustrated the scenes around Burke's demise in the epic 'The burial of Burke' (1911). He also recorded many historical events such as Victoria becoming a separate state and the devastating Victorian bushfire on Black Thursday in 1851. His paintings depict the hardship of colonial life, exploration and the dangers of the environment.
His oil paintings, watercolours, portraits, prints and preparatory sketches will be on display at 'Heroes and villains: Strutt's Australia' exhibition at the State Library of Victoria until 23 October 2016. The exhibition is the first retrospectives of William's work in Melbourne, it includes pop-up talks of three of his well-known paintings; 'Bushrangers' (1887), 'The burial of Burke' (1911) and 'Black Thursday' (1864).