Courtesy MBRC P2275.
Courtesy SLQ Acc No 7609.
Courtesy MBRC P0780___IAN_7315.
Courtesy MBRC P2275.
After a lifetime of travel and adventure, in 1953 at the age of 62, this world-famous artist came to live in isolation on Bribie Island. He created some of his finest paintings in this hut over the next 21 years until his death in 1974.
Ian Fairweather built himself a grass hut in the bush, lit only by hurricane lamps and sharing his meagre rations with the local wildlife. Using very basic paints and canvas, or cardboard from the local tip, he created many hundreds of wonderful paintings. His works were sold to dealers, art galleries and collectors around the world. These were always much sought after, but fame did not seem to interest him, he was just happy to enjoy his creative isolation, drawing upon the rich experiences of his life.
By the 1960s his creative genius was being recognized around the world and it became more difficult for him to maintain his creative solitude. His fame and potential fortune had little impact on him or the residents of Bribie Island who observed glimpses of this enigmatic character, as he went about his simple life among them.
His inner feelings are reflected in his statement: ‘There may be better places than the sunset strip of Bribie, but it’s good enough for me’.[i]In 1970 the Council became increasingly concerned about his health and living conditions and requested he build a small, modern cottage next to the grass hut. The threat of eviction prompted his agents, Macquarie Galleries and friends to have a modest home designed and built near the decrepit huts. After lengthy delays, water and electricity were connected. While the amenities were welcome, they came too late for the 80-year-old artist. He was no longer able to paint. After his death, the council burned his grass hut and the small cottage was relocated into the garden of Coungeau House, Banya Street.
A stone memorial marks the site of his hut in Ian Fairweather Park on the corner of First Avenue and Hunter Street, Bongaree.
[i] Bribie Star 19 October 1963, page 8
Written by Graham Mills from information sourced from public domain and information in the BIHS Database,