Ooh. That’s a tough one, and I’m going to want backup on this.
- The nationalist writers of the 1890s: Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. Culturally defining figures.
- At the same time, the Heidelberg School of painters (back when Heidelberg was on the outskirts of Melbourne, instead of suburbia); just as strongly defining of Australia’s self-perception, and the mythologising of the bush.
- I’m not a visual arts guy, but Sidney Nolan in the 1940s was another mythic figure.
- The Whitlam prime ministership. Seismic shift in Australian self-perception, and seismic shift in funding of the arts.
- Australian film in the 1970s and 1980s, from Picnic in Hanging Rock through to Mad Max.