History of WASA


The following comments (abbreviated) were in an article presented by Mr Alan McEvey to a meeting of the Society in March 1995 entitled “Some comments On the First Ten Years of the Society.’

Alan McEvey and Richard Weatherly founded the Society in Melbourne in 1974. (Alan McEvey was trained in part as art historian although professionally he worked in the science of ornithology at the Museum of Victoria). Alan and Richard together thought how wonderful it would be to have a  society in Australia similar to the Society of Wildlife Artists in England. The idea was  discussed with several  people and there was agreement that Australia needed to proceed in that direction. A joint decision was made to try to form a society. An inaugural meeting was held in Feb 1974 and a preliminary drafting was made for a constitution. Hence the Society was established  and the name chosen was The Society of Wildlife Artists of Australasia. The first exhibition was held at the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne in 1974, and then travelled to Canberra. Monthly meetings were held in various places and eventually settled at the Museum theatrette in Melbourne. Eventually the Victorian Artists Gallery was to be used for exhibitions for many years. A strong feature  of the early days of the Society was the instruction given to beginners.”

A listing of Presidents in the early years included Richard Weatherly, Charles McCubbin, Ninnon Phillips, Geoff Douglas and Tim Ealey.

Images below from the 1994 annual exhibition at Victorian Artists Society galleries.

Four decades ago: Charles McCubbin

Charles was one of the very early foundation members of the Wildlife Art Society. He did some spectacular paintings of butterflies.

The magazine cutting dates from approx. 1971 and is from  the Australian Women’s Weekly magazine. Charles was the grandson of famous Australian landscape painter, Frederick McCubbin. Charles painted wildflowers and insects. He had an immense interest in observing their behaviour and was fascinated by nature. His garden  was a re-created bushland, shared by frogs, hens, tortoises, lizards, possums  and butterflies. For a butterfly painting he pinned them to cork-based boards and put them under glass. He made a rough sketch, putting  it into an environment similar to  where it had been found and then painted with the finest brushes and lots of patience.

Another interesting read: 

1981 Robert Ingpen talk to open exhibition