The Road to Gundagai (2012)

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John Webb: The Road to Gundagai (2012)

The Road to Gundagai (2012)
1.34 x 1.09m

Image details:

John Webb: The Road to Gundagai (2012) Detail 1

The Road to Gundagai (2012) Detail 2

John Webb: The Road to Gundagai (2012) Detail 3

The Road to Gundagai (2012)
(Detail 1)
 The Road to Gundagai (2012)
(Detail 2)
The Road to Gundagai (2012)
(Detail 3)

 The creative process:

"I begin with the basic paper base, to which I apply many washes until I have a satisfactory resonance of colours and tonal gradations. I pre- prepare a lot of different paper with a variety of colours, tones, textures etc.

Every shape, from the biggest to the smallest, is drawn on draughting film, transferred to the pre-prepared paper, cut out and stuck to the composition with blutack. Sometimes it is then moved, modified or discarded.

When I'm satisfied the composition is the way I want it, I then spend a few days doing the final paste down. When it is all secure I apply finishing touches. The whole process is very time consuming."

Other photos of works in progress can be seen on Joadja (2010) and on Near Wagga (2013).

The Road to Gundagai (2012) WIP1

The Road to Gundagai (2012) WIP2

 The Road to Gundagai (2012)
(Stage 1) 
 The Road to Gundagai (2012)
(Stage 2)  
The Road to Gundagai (2012) WIP3

The Road to Gundagai (2012) Final

The Road to Gundagai (2012)
(Stage 3)
The Road to Gundagai (2012)


The work:

The title of this work pays homage to the famous Australian folk song written by Jack O'Hagan in 1922. Gundagai is an iconic rural NSW town, also the subject of well known stories and poems

Listen here to an excerpt of 'Along the Road to Gundagai' sung by Peter Dawson in 1931.

Australian context:

"Along the Road to Gundagai" - written by Jack O'Hagan in 1922, was first recorded by Peter Dawson in 1924. O'Hagan performed his own version later the same year."
Read more at Wikipedia    

The refrain is:
There's a track winding back
to an old-fashioned shack,
Along the road to Gundagai.
Where the gum trees are growin'
and the Murrumbidgee's flowin'
beneath the starry sky.
Oh my mother and daddy are waitin' for me
And the pals of my childhood once more I will see
And no more will I roam 'cos I'm headin' right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.
While the song is very well known, there are a number of tributes to the road to Gundagai, including a poem by  Banjo Patterson

One early reason for Gundagai's fame was that in 1852 almost the whole town was swept away in a great flood. In Jan 1927, Henry N Turnbull, writing in the Muswellbrook Chronicle, told the story of that flood as he had heard it from his mother. He notes rather caustically:

"Before we get any further, it may be well to state that the town of Gundagai in '52 was surveyed on the flat, practically on the banks of the river between a chain of lagoons called Morley's Creek and the main stream, on the spot over which the railway bridge now passes. The blacks had frequently warned the residents, and showed marks on the big gum trees that had been made by "big phella flood" many years previously. No notice, however, was taken of these kindly warnings and Gundagai proceeded to become a fair sized township, and prospered, as it was on the main road to Victoria, where people were becoming millionaires before they knew it by means of gold dug out of the ground in bucketfuls."

Read more in the Muswellbrook Chronicle   

The town was again severely flooded in 2010. (See here.)

Gundagai Bridge (1885)
And the dog sat on his tucker box ...
 Gundagai bridge (1885)
Photo: Attributed to Robert Hunt (1830-1892)
via Wikipedia

Dog on the Tuckerbox monument
on the Road to Gundagai
Photo: AYArktos  at Wikipedia