Camden Theological Library

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A unique pictorial record of the Inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia, June 1977

Posted on 16 June 2010 Gavin Glenn

Tom Thompson’s father was a Presbyterian minister who attended the inauguration of the Uniting Church. Tom was present at various events and recorded his impressions in a series of drawings. Perhaps you can identify somebody you knew?


Tom Thompson UCA Drawing


Last year Tom heard that the Archives were to ‘close’ and so planned to offer these drawings to the State Library. Fortunately, with the assistance of Philip Brackenreg from Artarmon Gallery, we were able to dispel this erroneous rumour and bring the drawings to their rightful home. 

A number of these drawings have now been restored and framed and these were unveiled at the recent dedication of the new Archives location at the Centre for Ministry. In the near future these will be placed on display at appropriate locations. Thanks to a generous donation we are now in a position to restore and frame some more of these drawings which will also be displayed. If you would like to make a contribution to assist with the restoration of more pictures please contact Moira Bryant. 

Who is Tom Thompson?

 Tom Thompson

‘His murals are miraculous, yet Tom Thompson is an artist that many Australians will be hard-pressed to recall.  

The former head of the National Art School in Sydney has work in prominent places, such as Australia House in London and Sydney airport.  

He learnt to paint early in life and was encouraged by art prizes as a teen in northern New South Wales. During World War II, he served at Bouganville as a 17-year-old tank gunner.  

"But I kept drawing in off moments. You could not give yourself over to it entirely because you have to be with your group." 

He was drawn to post-war London and spent a lot of time drawing while working as the night watchman at the National Gallery. In the 1960s, Thompson received his first big commission at Australia House in London.  

"I wanted colourful in the first place and I wanted people... the folksiness of it but to do it in a style that related to the building which was an old fashioned sort of building, and that side of it worked," he said. 

The three murals are still pride of place, showing off Australia's industry, sciences and arts. Thompson also has a large mural in the offices of the Parramatta City Council depicting the early days of the city.

Adapted from:
Tom Thompson: The Forgotten Master
By Karen Barlow for Lateline

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