Heroic gum trees


In 1908 the Heysens moved to a rented cottage in Hahndorf, in the Adelaide Hills. In 1912, with the financial success of Heysen’s second major solo exhibition in Melbourne, he purchased The Cedars, a property of thirty-six acres (14.5 hectares), near Hahndorf. The house was on a gentle slope, surrounded by pines and hilltops of gums. Heysen built a stone studio on the slope of a ridge, just beyond the house—an idyllic setting for a landscape painter.

Heysen produced many paintings of the monumental gum trees of Hahndorf. He was the first artist to use eucalypts as a persistent subject in his art, celebrating the nobility of certain species and presenting them as symbols of heroic endurance.