Sydney Technical College and Australian Flora in Art, Yvonne Barber

Vol 46 no 1, Feb 2024
Article from Vol 46 no 1, Feb 2024

Sydney Technical College and Australian Flora in Art, Yvonne Barber


For 65,000 years, Indigenous Australians have incorporated Australian materials into their art, objects, weapons and tools. From the first year of British colonisation, settlers tried to adapt Australian materials and later, Australian motifs, into their art, manufactures and tools. A century later, French-born artist and teacher Lucien Henry was a leading proponent of employing Australian motifs, his ideas permeating the Sydney Technical College, where he taught art and design. Some of Henry’s colleagues and students pursued his ideas, which were taken up by craftspeople working in the Arts and Crafts tradition, and by other technical colleges in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sydney’s Technological Museum acquired some of their works early on; Yvonne Barber reveals some of these people.

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The Australiana Society acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.