Martin Edmond has pondered this story, walking the route that McCahon might have taken between the Botanic Gardens and Centennial Park. Into his narrative, he weaves McCahon’s abiding concerns with Christian religious themes, particularly the Stations of the Cross. After walking the route many times, he finally, reluctantly, spends the night out alone in the park.
In writing of this experience, the author has given us a beautifully written account of life on the streets of Sydney; a history of the development of the theme of the Stations of the Cross; an insight into the struggles that the artist wrestled with as he tried to realise his vision; a history of some of the criminal activities that have taken place in the park; a little of the complex history of settlement in New Zealand, especially in the King Country – and of Australia’s surprising involvement in the nineteenth century – and much more.
Read this book to enjoy the writing, to recognise a particular story of our own, and to understand a little of McCahon’s anguished and urgent artistic quest. (The Waverley Library holds a copy of this book. Your local library might be able to get it on interlibrary loan.)