When & Where

Quick Facts

  • Availability Late starts accepted
  • Tutor Kathleen Mclauchlan
  • Course Code W23PDGB01C
  • Suitable For 19 year olds and up are permitted on this course

What you will learn

Over three terms, this course charts the development of art in Australia between the late 18th and mid 20th centuries. Starting with the arrival of the first British colonists, we consider how early topographical and scientific draughtsmen (and the occasional convict) sought to explore and interpret their new environment - its people, landscape, and light. We then trace the emergence of a school of landscape painters, as Australia’s wealth - and its urban population – grew over the course the 19th century. Opportunities to make a living remained limited, and many artists looked to Europe for their training and careers. As Australia’s colonies came together to form a united nation in 1901, its art was still dominated by the so-called ‘Heidelberg School’ of Impressionist painters. This pattern would continue into the new century, as Australia’s artists respond both to the innovations of Europe’s avant-garde and a sense of themes and ideas closer to home, above all the mythic strangeness of the landscape. We start in term one with the earliest depictions of Australian scene by topographers like Sydney Parkinson, with the focus on European exploration. This is followed by the emergence of an Australian school of art during the 19th century, culminating in the work of Impressionists including Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder and John Russell. We then address the relationship between Australia’s painters and the European avant-garde, before turning to the work of Sidney Nolan and others who re-imagined Australia’s outback after World War II.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe at least two characteristics of Australian art between the late 18th and mid 20th centuries
  • Gain a basic framework for the development of western art in the early modern period
  • Be able to identify the methods and interests of individual masters like Louis Buvelot, Tom Roberts, Charles Conder, Arthur Streeton, Hans Heysen, Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker.
  • Examine the relationships between artists, collectors and institutions
  • Gain confidence in asking questions and taking part in group discussion


  • Full fee
  • Concession fee
  • Class format and activities

    The 2 hours will be taught in an informal lecture/ discussion format with presentations shared on screen. There will be a 10-minute break in the middle of the session. You are encouraged to engage in discussion and lecture materials will be shared by email. Constructive and supportive feedback from your tutor will help you succeed during the class.

    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements. This course will be accessible to you if you have no prior knowledge of art and design and is open to learners with varying backgrounds, as well as art practitioners.

    What you need to know before you enrol

    Instructions and support will be sent out before the course start date by your tutor via email.

    What you need

    You will find it helpful to bring a paper and pen for making notes. You may also want to upload materials and links to share with your class

    What you can do next

    We offer a range of long and short courses in art history at Morley and cover a range of periods and subjects of interest. You can browse our full programme by searching "art history" on our website.