Sunday, February 22, 2009

Travels South

As mentioned previously, I travelled with my sister to our National Capital, Canberra then across to the South Coast of NSW.

We left early on Monday in order to arrive in time for the opening of the National Gallery of Art. Our purpose was to see the Degas exhibition with works from major Degas collections, including Musée d’Orsay, Paris, Musée des Beaux Arts, Pau, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. I found it a little disappointing.
This is probably because I prefer landscapes and gardens à la Monet rather than horses and women in the bath.
We enjoyed the dance class paintings and actually preferred the sculptures especially the finale "The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years" whose face is wonderfully expressive. I did not enjoy the many monotypes and lithographs.

However it was good to see so many of his works in one place and so learn about him and his works in a way not possible when you see a painting here and there. We visited both the Getty Museum and the Musée d’Orsay in 2007 but do not especially remember the Degas amongst the many paintings viewed.

After a few hours there we went across to the newly opened National Portrait Gallery. This was only opened last November allowing more space for paintings and photographs which were housed in the Old Parliament House. I had visited that site but there is now much more on display. I resisted throwing things at the portrait of our late departed but unlamented Prime Minister Howard.
I look forward to returning and studying some areas in more detail. There are so many photos and paintings of important people in our history. I have chosen that of Justice Michael Kirby who is my hero and now recently retired High Court Judge.

The next day we travelled down the Mountain to the Bega Valley and the towns of Candelo, Kameruka and Wyndham where our mother spent her earliest years.

At both Candelo and the Anglican Church on the Kameruka estate we found our uncle's name on the war memorials. We visited his grave on the Somme in 2007.

The Holy Trinity Church at Kameruka has been beautifully maintained although it would be rarely used these days. Our mother would have worshipped there as a little girl.

We had less success in finding records of our ancestors in the cemeteries and at the Bega Pioneers Museum. They were probably too poor to afford gravestones and as I mentioned before, our grandfather was born out of wedlock. However we now have some possible leads.

That night was spent at Pambula Beach. As it is located next to a National Park there are kangaroos roaming the area. Although some overseas people think that kangaroos are found in the cities of Australia, I can assure you most of us find it unusual to see kangaroos or wallabies in the wild. I have had an occasional visitor to my garden but it is rare.

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