Holly McNamee

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About Me

Ravelle King - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee
Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Hi, I'm Holly McNamee

Born in Boggabri, NSW, but raised in Maitland, I have a deep visual appreciation of the area in which I live.

I have lived in Adelaide for a number of years, where I undertook my studies to teach Art in the secondary school system of South Australia.

I returned to live in the Hunter in 2001 and have spent time living and working in both Stockton and the Maitland area. My art practice always involves making my local area my subject matter, as I engage with my local community.

I work particularly in the medium of Conte on Arches paper, although I also work in oils and acrylics, as well as some lino printing.

My artistic concerns reflect the deep interest I have always had in the preservation and appreciation of built heritage, often places that are so familiar to the viewer that they pass unnoticed. My involvement with the National Trust over the past few years bears some reflection to that interest.

I exhibit regularly, generally working within a series of artworks. I am available for commissions. 

My Work

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee
Holly McNamee

Collections

Exhibitions

For upcoming exhibitions and viewings of my work, please contact me for further information.

Ravelle King - Holly1@2x Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee
Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Former Telegraph Station and Post Office, Corner of Watt & Hunter Streets


Designed by the Colonial Architects under the administration of James Barnet in 1861 in the Victorian Italianate style. The 2 storey former Post Office building next door, of coloured patterned brickwork, was rendered to match. The two buildings have been altered in 1873 and 1886, and have had a number of public building uses.

Former Post Office - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Former Post Office, corner of Hunter and Bolton Streets

Designed by Walter Liberty Vernon, NSW Government Architect (1890-1911) in 1903 to replace the existing Post Office next to the Telegraph Office, which by 1892 was unable to cope with demand. First thought that the old Court House, designed by Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect, in 1841, could be converted to be used as a post office, but the idea abandoned by 1898.

Baptist Tabernacle - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Baptist Tabernacle, Laman Street

Designed by Menkens in 1889, in the Victorian Free Classical architectural style. Rendered concrete with elaborate ornamentation and Corinthian facade, appropriate to a tabernacle. It is amazing that such rendered decoration was fashioned at that time.

Corners of Stephensons - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Corners of Stephensons Place, Newcastle East

Iconic buildings forming the wonderful streetscape of Newcastle East.

Court house Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Court House, Church Street

Designed by the Colonial Architects under the administration of James Barnet in 1890 to replace the original Court House designed by Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect, which was where the former PO stands. The Court House has been replaced by a new build in Hunter St at Civic.

Former Palings Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Former Palings building, corner of Thorn and Hunter Streets

Designed by Menkens in 1906 with additions made in 1911, at the time of his association with F Castleden. Built for AA Dangar as offices in the Federation Free style. Later the Palings Music Store. This style was not bound by rules, often using asymmetrical massing, and classical elements if used were played with – incomplete, distorted or placed in unusual contexts.

Fort Scratchley Aspect Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Fort Scratchley Aspect

Designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnet, and constructed from 1882 – 1892, under advice from Lieutenant Colonel Peter Scratchley and Major General William Jervois. They had been sent to Australia in 1876 to advise on the defence of Australian ports, in particular, during the Crimean War.

Court chamber Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Court Chambers, Corner of King & Bolton Street

Designed by Ernest Yeomans (1861 – 1946) in 1898 – a corner building of offices and residences, in the Baroque and Flemish styles known also as Queen Anne, characterised by extensive and “frivolous” decoration. The bust on the keystone above the entrance door is said to be the face of Justice Sir George Reid, a subsequent Premier of NSW.

Victoria theatre Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Victoria Theatre, Perkins Street

James Henderson reconstruction 1890. Arrived in NSW in 1863 and first worked as a builder in Newcastle and then as a partner in a sawmilling business. Began architectural work in 1874. The Victoria Theatre was originally built in 1876, altered in 1886 and then demolished in 1890. Henderson designed the major reconstruction of the Victoria Theatre which included a large stage house and small first class hotel. It was built in a neo Grecian style.

Former Trades Hall Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Former Trades Hall

Ernest Yeomans was the architect, and the Trades Hall was opened in 1895 towards the end of the 1890’s depression. It was built on land near the rail corridor, made available by Sir Henry Parkes, after a rebuttal by the Railway Commissioner . A small building, but richly decorated in many motifs and changes in brickwork, in the Baroque and Free Dutch style. The 1896 Arts and Craft style Newcastle Technical College stands beside the trades hall, rather dwarfing the building in comparison.

Waterworks Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Waterworks

At the top of Newcastle East, this magnificent structure for water storage in the late 19th century, showing the artisanship of public works at that time.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Dairy down Webber’s Creek Road #1

2018 ( 57×39 ) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

This is all that remains of a dairy on Webbers Creek Road, Paterson – a sign of a once thriving dairy industry in the area.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Cessnock Road Idyll

( 39×57 ) conte/charcoal on Arches paper.

Just glimpsed after heading towards Gillieston Heights, an early rural worker’s hut built closer to the main road than the main homestead.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Tocal Suite #5 Thunderbolt’s cottage interior

(36×28) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Belltrees shearing shed interior #1

( 38×57 ) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

The shearing sheds have not been used for many years after it was decided that the raising of cattle was better suited to the area. The interior is still redolent of fleece and lanoline, and the press.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Dairy down Webber’s Creek Road #2

2018 ( 37×57 ) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

This is all that remains of a dairy on Webbers Creek Road, Paterson – a sign of a once thriving dairy industry in the area.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Tocal Suite #3

( 26×38.5 ) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Tocal Suite #7 Blackett Barn exterior

(37.5×28) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

Largs shed 2016 57x38 image f conte on arches paper

Old Glenarvon Rd shed

(57×38)

I remember this shed from my youth and all these years later it still stands like a rusting monolith to the farming heritage of the rich land along the river. Drive down Flat Road, turn in to McKimms Road, past Mick Tobin’s old place and there it is, just before the main street of Largs. There used to be three hay sheds I admired – one on the Phoenix Park road held up by two trees – it burned down a few years ago. Another on the Glenarvon Road which blew down in the terrible storm of last April; and this my last shed – which hopefully will stand for many more years.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Tocal suite #2 Thunderbolt’s cottage interior

( 26.5×38 ) conte/charcoal on Arches paper.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Tocal Suite #4

( 36×28 ) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Belltrees shearing shed

(57×38) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Belltrees shearing shed interior #2

(57×38) conte / charcoal on Arches paper.

Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Cintra #2

Majestic and mysterious Cintra dominates Regent Street, standing back from the road behind imposing sandstone gate posts. The passer-by can peer through the gates for a glimpse of this Victorian mansion, with turret and wings, and a circular driveway from a bygone era.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Down Bridge Lane #2

The old Maitland road was a winding “bullock track” with buildings fronting close to the thoroughfare, which followed the shape of the river and Wallis Creek over to East Maitland. The old stable building to the rear of Clift’s Bridge House is made from local sandstone and timbers, with a hay loft and at the time of this drawing, old horse tackle was still hanging after decades of heavy use.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Traces of Pender #1

Usually only a glimpse of the chimneys from the Morpeth Road over to Pitnacree, with some of the gaol vegetable garden between, the third river crossing and bridges revealed the old Pender’s timber mill.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Temple Gate

The McLaughlan bakery storehouse and stables in Victoria Street, is framed by the ornate fence and gate of the masonic temple opposite. St Johns primary school was just behind the bakery across the lane, giving students a tantalising smell of bread baking and horses waiting for the carts to be loaded up for bread delivery.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Chapel

The chapel of the convent was where first communions were made, and the instruction which went with the ceremony, including first confessions. A beautiful chapel, it had a separate door for the nuns again, but this time on the public side of the building just across from the “holy water”. The chapel was built in 1873, with buttresses added to the Victoria Street side after the 1989 earthquake destabilised the walling.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Maitland Station

Platform 1 was the main platform for the Sydney train, the Cessnock Flyer, and where I spent a bit of time waiting for the train to take me to Sydney. I would then catch another train later in the day from Central, to take me to boarding school at Moss Vale.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Amenity (Hospital)

Every nook and cranny of the various bits and strange angles of the old Maitland Hospital buildings are utilised – filled in and linked up with a maze of corridors, doorways and staircases.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Napoleon Lane – back of St Elmo

Surely one of Maitland’s curiosities – the Georgian cottage on Napoleon Lane, which grew into a Victorian townhouse on Elgin Street. A fascinating mix, no doubt holding many stories within its walls.

Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Maitland Hospital 3 Ways

Maitland Hospital is evocative of old ways for me. I relished going for drives with my father, fondly known as Dr Mac, while he did his calls. This did develop my love of reading with books bought from McDonalds or borrowed from the library.

Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Coffin Lane #1

The remnants of Coffin Lane, can be found wending its way from one end of High Street to the other. This part of Coffin Lane is behind the post office and shows the back of the Grand Central Hotel and its famous viewing room on the top level.

Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Traces of Pender #2

Traces of Pender #2

Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Library

Many delightful hours were spent at the library on my way home from school and during the holidays, under the guardianship of the well loved librarian Mavis Cribb.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Maitland Gaol

Many hours were spent waiting in the car for my father doing his medical rounds in the gaol hospital. He always parked near the main gates where I would watch him go through the iron gates laboriously opened by the warden on duty. Maitland Gaol was a forbidding building naturally, with armed guards visibly patrolling the tops of the external walls. The construction of the gaol commenced in 1844 and it finally closed in 1998.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Court House, East Maitland

East Maitland Court House is part of the justice precinct on top of the hill and was completed in 1860.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Bank - CBC

The old CBC Bank, built in 1886, with magnificent façade and manager’s residence above the bank chambers, stands proud in this elegant area of High Street. The three storey building is so imposing that any passer-by can only look up at those faces presiding over the windows and door and be impressed by the power of money and the institution which could build such a place.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Metropolitan Corner

On my walk home from school at St Johns in Victoria St, the Metropolitan Hotel at Grant St stood like a book end with the old Exchange Hotel building, now The Pourhouse, on the corner of Lee St.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Coffin Lane #2

Coffin Lane #2
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Kerr’s Back Lane #2

Kerrs’ was a genteel drapery / manchester store from the 1860’s where fabric and gowns could be purchased. My best friend lived at the Exchange Hotel with her family who had the licence at the time, and the back lane was the best place to play after school.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Cloisters – St Marys

As a student at St Johns, and then Rosary Place (St Marys) for my first year of high school, this part of the Dominican Convent was out of bounds to most of us – maybe not the boarders.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Maitland Park Fountain

Maitland Park has been a relatively new experience for me on my return to live in Maitland. My knowledge of the park from childhood was some playing fields and the baths.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Pavilion – Showground

The Showground still brings visitors to the markets, and is well used for trotting and greyhound trials. Of course the Maitland Show was the highlight. The McDonald Pavilion, under the grandstand, was the place to be, where show bags could be bought, and from a stall outside, our silhouettes could be magically cut out of coloured paper for a small fee.
Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Down the Morpeth Road #3

One of Maitland’s best known images – the old Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills advertisement, with its distinctive blue, giving life to an old tin shed in a cow paddock on the road to Morpeth.
Stockton Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Fern Bay Oyster Lease

84×49 cm acrylic paint on paper.

Just before Fern Bay, the oyster lease steadily encroached the mangroves habitat, bit by bit being replaced with sheds and stacks. The mangroves have come back.

Stockton Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Boat Harbour

75x55cm acrylic paint on paper

From my time living in Stockton in the early 2000s, the Boat Harbour was an intriguing haven for an eclectic mix of largely working boats. Made up of pipework, planks and milk crates protected by rock walls, it perfectly sat on the edge of the Hunter outside the well frequented Boatrowers Hotel. It has been replaced with a typical marina, no doubt very efficient but it has lost the charm of the original.

Stockton Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Fern Bay Oyster Lease #2

60x46cm acrylic paint on paper

Descending the Stockton Bridge the oyster leases of Fern Bay pattern the reaches of the Hunter’s arms as the river splits on its long journey upstream.

Stockton Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Red Tender to Walsh Island

60x84cm acrylic paint on paper

Towards the Stockton Bridge, there are moorings for a small variety of boats, all needing to have a tender to come in to shore. The red tender floated like a compass point, waiting for a rarely seen “mother ship”. Over time the red has turned to a very pale pink, but it still points towards the industrial Walsh Island of the Kooragang area.

Maitland Collection - Artist & Historian - Holly McNamee

Court House, East Maitland

Many hours were spent waiting in the car for my father doing his medical rounds in the gaol hospital. He always parked near the main gates where I would watch him go through the iron gates laboriously opened by the warden on duty. Maitland Gaol was a forbidding building naturally, with armed guards visibly patrolling the tops of the external walls. The construction of the gaol commenced in 1844 and it finally closed in 1998.