They were known as the Bohemians of The Bulletin: illustrators, including Norman Lindsay, who provided social and political commentary through black and white illustrations between 1880 and 1940.
Until July 25, 50 black-and-white illustrations by twenty of these influential Australian media artists are on offer each Thursday and Friday at Parramatta from 10am-4pm.
The Imaging Australia in Black & White: Newspaper Illustration 1880 - 1940 exhibition, supported by the Royal Australian Historical Society, is currently showing at the Margaret Whitlam Galleries at the University of Western Sydney at Rydalmere.
Curator Janine Sager said most of the drawings are from The Bulletin, which also published the literary work of writers like Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson and played a role in helping construct an idea of the Australian identity.
’’They depict outback scenes, the drovers and swagmen and Aboriginals of that time,’’ she said.
’’The collection … strengthens the idea of the Australian identity being connected to the outback, to the rough larrikin identity.’’
One image, titled Sick Lion by William Macleod in 1885, depicts Henry Parkes as a large docile lion being berated by figures that represent newspapers. Other illustrations parody former British prime minister William Gladstone, who lost power after introducing a duty on beer.