* this is an undated letter from the 1920s - in the first year or so of Oz's arrival in the Red Cliffs district.
Hope you received my letter on Saturday but feel doubtful as the letter would not reach town until about 11 o’clock & that would be too late for the delivery. I told you in my last letter that I had started graft. I have been picking figs for a couple of days. I cannot say I like fig picking as the figs make your hands very sore. I had my first lesson in plowing yesterday & didn’t do too bad. It is rather hard at first but when you get into the knack it is easy.
We are making a tennis court up here, the next door neighbours are pretty keen so they come over & give us a hand. If you have my racquet you might send it along, that is if you are not going to use it. Last night we drove into the town Saturday night being the late night up here. All the people seem to come in from the surrounding districts & the town is just packed with people. It is rather a nice town; the streets are nice and wide & the main street has nice green lawns up the centre. The band generally plays on Sunday evening & a pretty good crowd congregates. The only drawback is that the roads are not metal but lately they have been putting limestone on. It would be simply awful if it rained much here as a few points of rain make it very muddy.
I met two 21st boys at the boarding house when I was there; they said they had been all over Victoria but couldn’t settle down to anything & when I went down there to see if there were any letters last night they had gone. Well dearest what have you been doing since I left. I can just imagine you dressing up in that pretty frock this morning & going off to church. The Applebys are Methodists so I suppose I will be the same for a while; the Presbyterian is the nicest church up here. I think it has only been built recently; your church is also represented but is rather small I think. I asked you in my last letter to send up my [xxx]. Take a tally of all it costs you, sending me stuff & I will fix up when I come down. Well dear old girl I have nothing more to tell you but long for you every day & only wish you were with me, never mind, we must take the good with the bad & hope for the future.
Au Revoir Sweetest & dearest. Write me a nice long letter like the last.
Fond love Ozzie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Love to Mother & Kind regards to your family.
Image: Katy Mutton 'Red Cliffs, Early Days' 2015, acrylic and ink drawing on kozo with carbon impression
I've been busily working away in the studio getting ready for my exhibition Post-War: Thousand Mile Stare, in Canberra, opening at ANCA gallery on 22 April 2015. This is a detail image of one of the mapping pieces in its preliminary stages. The process involves a series of layers. First I paint the inks onto washi paper, building the ground, then I impress the mapping linework onto the surface. I then assign colour codes for each block depending on the first soldier settler's history. Each block is differentiated by their history for example, those that were cancelled by the commission for 'non-compliance', those that were sold or abandoned, those belonging to men that died. The image displayed is the largest piece in the show and the blocks that will now be filled in based on its history to 1939, the beginning of World War II.
I am very interested in family and in the legacy of experiences such as war and the generational impact it has through communities. Settlement schemes are particularly interesting to me because they led to concentrated areas comprised of returned men and their families all trying to recuperate and begin again. Families endure long after the active service has ended - they grieve, they deal with the fallout, they are there to attempt to put the pieces back. There are so many of these stories that lie under the surface of each service record.
The woman in this image is my great-grandmother Liela Mutton.
Her son George died in a plane crash in Indonesia during WWII (1942). His body was never brought home, his grave lies lost in jungle West of Palembang.
Mother my keepsake 2012
digital monoprint, ink on kozo, 10 x 6 cm.
photo: Brendon Mckinley
Katy Mutton is a Canberra based, Australian Visual Artist whose practice is informed by an ongoing concern around trauma and warfare and how these relate to our cultural identity and history. For more information on her artwork visit www.katymutton.com