In Land of the Golden Fleece Arthur Streeton presents a view towards Mount William from the southern end of the Grampians mountain range in Victoria. Looking down and across a property at Willaura (owned by Streeton’s friend Walter Cain),1 Streeton depicts a flock of sheep grazing, a dam and a windmill. Shadows move across the land and Streeton has used colour to give the image a sense of space, painting the distant Grampians with blues and greys to make them recede, and using warm yellows in the foreground to make the golden fields appear closer to the viewer.
Land of the Golden Fleece displays an open and opulent pastoral Australia: full of potential, grand in scale and scenic in beauty. In this work Streeton presented a country rich in ‘blue and gold’, earth and water, sky and land. Australia was a land of youth and possibility. Following the death of many thousands of Australians during the First World War, and the devastation of the landscapes of France and Belgium, artists such as Streeton looked to the land as a symbol of national pride and prosperity – a reaffirmation of place and identity.
1 Mary Eagle, The oil paintings of Arthur Streeton in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 1994, p. 184.