Statement from the Minister for Women's Affairs

The Women Artists of the Heidelberg School

The Hon. Sherryl Garbutt MP
Minister for Women's Affairs

Victorian women have made a significant contribution, through diversity strength and experience, to the economic, social and cultural growth of this State.

In many instances however, these achievements have historically been overshadowed and forgotten within a community that has traditionally struggled to promote the roles and contributions of women.

I think that it is significant that in this year, the year of Federation, that we can acknowledge many of the valuable contributions that Victorian women have made to our way of life today.

Women artists of the Heidleberg School are a clear example of this important contribution, in this instant to our artistic and cultural development.

The Heidelberg School of painting, Australia's first major art movement, has been highly identified with a number of major artists such as Sir Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Walter Withers, Charles Conder and Frederick McCubbin.

Australia 1860-1940

AN OLD BEE FARM, c. 1900
oil on canvas 69.1 x 112.4 cm
Felton Bequest, 1942
Collection: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


There have also been many significant women painters involved in this movement who have received little recognition of their involvement within the movement.

The Victorian Government, through the Office of Women's Policy, is pleased to support The Women of the Heidelberg School, an education and community awareness program which will for the first time release the details of these artists and their work electronically to the community.

This recognition is important as Australia celebrates its Centenary of Federation.

Through this initiative on In the Artist's Footsteps and the use of technology we will be able to create an awareness of the significant works of Clara Southern, May Vale, Jane Price, Elizabeth Parsons and Jane Sutherland.

The development and promotion of The Women of the Heidelberg School will provide a major permanent reference point to establish and maintain the significant contribution made by these women artists in the education system and in the broader community.

I invite you to take a walk in the footsteps of these women artists and enjoy the story of their lives and their works.

Sherryl Garbutt
Minister for Women's Affairs

Important Links

Media launch of the Women of the Heidelberg School

Photographs from the Media launch

Office of Women's Policy :

Government of Victoria:

The Australian Women's Art Register:

The searchable collection of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria:

The Centenary of Federation Women's Petition - "Women Shaping the Nation"

Left: Arthur Streeton - Above Us The Great Grave Sky, 1890
Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

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