AMELIA WILLMER

Murrumbidgee Flowing

Oil on canvas

90 x 75cm

Amelia Willmer

Murrumbidgee Flowing was inspired by the lyrics of Jack O’Hagan’s iconic 1922 song The Road to Gundagai where a young Digger, ravaged by the horror of the battlefield, yearns “to be a kid again” with no “thought of grief or pain” as he envisages his return along a bush track to his family’s humble shack “where the blue gums are growing, the Murrumbidgee’s flowing, beneath a sunny sky”.

The mighty Murrumbidgee has a place in many military hearts.

The scene in this painting derives from sketches en plein air on a cloudless, peaceful Monday near Shanty Beach, Wagga Wagga, where, for decades, an impromptu swimming race across the swift-flowing Murrumbidgee has been a daring summer weekend picnic activity for so many fit young defence force mates from the nearby RAAF base at Forest Hill and the Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre.

The composition allows the massive twined gum trees to dominate in the foreground as a symbol of Australian strength, dignity and guardianship.

The large knots in the trees ooze a dark red resin, evoking the blood that was sacrificed for our freedom in the Gallipoli Campaign.