Sidney Nolan speaks in detail about the paintings from his famous Ned Kelly series (1946–1947) on show at his Retrospective at The Royal Dublin Society, Dublin in 1973. He provides background stories to the paintings with wit, humour and humility describing the scene of one painting 'like a Charlie Chaplin film'.
Talking about the painting Policeman in a Wombat Hole (1946) he says that he 'tried to make it quite comical, but it’s really not all that funny in a way'. He goes on to define the deathly loneliness of the Australian bush depicted, 'you’ve got a rather sinister bird magpie perched up there, and this crops up in a lot of the paintings, it crops up in Mrs Fraser paintings, it crops up in the Burke and Wills paintings, um, and you often get the feeling that if you were to die in Australia, I have it myself this feeling, and I have a certain amount of sympathy for oneself dying in this way, but you feel if you were out in the bush and died, that your last, the last thing you would hear would be some magpie or crow, probably a crow, just telling you, y’know, you had ten minutes to go, two minutes to go.'
Notes by Tara Marynowsky