Still they fly
The tiny town of Mathinna, in Tasmania’s north-east hill country, was the unlikely crucible for one of Australia’s most bold, impactful and important contemporary artists. Graeme Murphy was born in Melbourne and raised in the rural outpost that was a shadow of its heady gold rush heyday when it hosted several pubs, although still big enough to support a school and the ubiquitous Coronation Hall, complete with picture of the Queen. Today, when Murphy invokes the Mathinna of his childhood, he speaks with deep fondness. His parents were the two local teachers, and his mother Betty, an accomplished pianist, was at the heart of every major event in the district. Murphy describes her as the life of the party, who played for every wedding, funeral, barn dance, or meet and greet. He recalls his time in the remote country as “idyllic, endless backyards of forest, and bushwalking with dad to waterfalls that were just magical”.