Hill End Art

'Picture of Donald Friend' 1948 - Russell Drysdale�
‘Picture of Donald Friend’ 1948 – Russell Drysdale

Hill End is located on Wiradjuri land just under an hour from Bathurst and Mudgee, NSW.

A late 1800’s boom gold town fallen into decay by the nineteen forties. After the second world war artists Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend, looking towards outback Australia in their post war work found the location, which in those days had much more red earth exposed from recent alluvial workings, perfect as their muse. The Sydney arts circle naturally followed in their wake.

The village had a refocus of public attention in 1967 when the then NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service under a State heritage order commenced administration of Hill End. The village was no longer a forgotten backwater but now a spot on the tourist map.

A second and further artistic boost to the village came in 1995 when Bathurst Regional Gallery in partnership with National Parks instigated the Hill End artist residency program. Utilising two village cottages for the purpose.

Murray’s Cottage, once home to Donald Friend and frequented by Drysdale with Friend’s purpose built studio intact.

Haeflinger’s Cottage once home to Jean Bellette, a Sydney art world socialite of the post war period.

Since BRAG started this scheme a variety of young artists have come to, with some depicting Hill End during their residencies. Wendy Sharp and Ben Quilty to name a few, had at one time participated in the residency scheme.

Naturally as with the previous artistic incursion of Friend and Drysdale had increased the Sydney art scenes interest in Hill End, a second wave of aesthetic practitioners discovered the village.

The attraction of the village was even further enhanced by the publication of Gavin Wilson’s definitive book The Artists of Hill End. Several artists took up residency in Hill End in the intervening years; Danielle Bergstrom, John Firth Smith, Luke Sciberras and Rosemary Valadon to name a few.

Today combined with historic tourism Hill End is an ongoing artistic hub of potential, both past and future.

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‘Royal Hotel’ Anneke Silver

See; Hill End Artist In Residence Program for further information regarding this program, as well as a brief history of the art scene in Hill End.

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