Missing Brett Whiteley painting Waves V found during Launceston art gallery audit


An ink drawing by a famed Australian artist has been re-discovered after almost 45 years, lost in a collection of over 1.5 million items in a northern Tasmanian museum.

Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) found the Brett Whiteley artwork that was acquired in the 1970s.

The drawing called Waves V was purchased by the gallery in 1976 and was recorded in the museum’s collections.

But the item was never seen again and has never been displayed, prompting the museum to contact Tasmania Police in 2018.

Previously, the Launceston City Council estimated the work was worth around $30,000, but are now looking to get the art re-valued.

The museum undertook a review of its archiving practices and a collection audit has been underway since 2019 leading to the artworks re-discovery.

Tracy Puklowski, general manager of creative arts and cultural services, said the artwork was found in one of the drawers at the museum earlier this week.

“The work wasn’t photographed so we didn’t know what we were looking for visually, which I think is a really interesting challenge when you’re dealing with a missing object,” she said.

“You can see on the bottom right corner that’s his seal or one of the seals that he used.

“The staff were very sure that they knew what they had found, but without that independent verification you just have to keep that little bit of caution.”

The ink drawing has now been verified.

QVMAG’s first audit provides digital catalogue

The audit is aimed at creating a database of the QVMAG’s 1.5 million objects, in what is the first full audit of the collection since the museum’s inception in 1891.

Until the start of the audit, only around 18 per cent of the museum’s objects were registered in the database.

QVMAG staff members believed the artwork may have been incorrectly catalogued due to an outdated method of record-keeping used during the 1970s.

QVMAG creative arts and cultural services general manager Tracy Puklowski and Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten were thrilled to confirm the Whiteley had been located.(

ABC News: Manika Champ

)

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the audit could take years to complete.

“It’s something that was wrongly categorised, it probably didn’t have the name on it properly, so I can understand how we didn’t find it in the first place.

“As the museum has continued to grow and develop over the many years, 130 years, things have been done probably quickly at times.”

The museum has now committed to digitally document every item, from the smallest native fleas to the largest railway carriage.

Each artwork or object is briefly removed from its storage area, the details are entered into the database, a basic ID photograph is taken and a barcode is allocated before the piece is returned to its storage location.

After the items are entered into the database they can be uploaded to an online catalogue so audiences around the world can engage and research the collection.

Christine Hansen, the museum’s manager of knowledge and content, said the audit had provided a wonderful opportunity for QVMAG.

“Ultimately, a museum holds a record of the past and present for the future and we must preserve this as best we can,” Ms Hansen said.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have QVMAG’s collection meticulously assessed and documented for present and future communities to treasure and learn from.”

Brett Whiteley
The late artist Brett Whiteley’s works sell for millions.(

Supplied: Transmission Films

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Whiteley is one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, winning the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes several times.

He worked across several mediums, including painting, sculpture and the graphic arts, but he is best known for his paintings of nudes, interiors and harbour scenes.

Last year, a painting by Whiteley broke an Australian art auction record, selling for $6.136 million.

The large painting, called Henri’s Armchair, only took five minutes to find a new owner.

Painting in French ultramarine and dark blood red, showing interior of room looking out to Sydney harbour, from artist's view
Henri’s Armchair (1974) by Brett Whiteley sold for $6.136 million dollars last year.(

Supplied: Menzies

)

Ms Puklowski said Waves V is an example of Whiteley’s later work and is “very calligraphic in style”.

“It’s not necessarily representative of other styles he worked on over the years but it does represent a very interesting part of his career,” she said.

In 1992, Whiteley died of a methadone overdose on the New South Wales south coast.

His home and studio located in Sydney’s Surry Hills have been turned into a museum that is managed by the Art Gallery of NSW.

Whiteley’s Waves V will be on display at Queen Victoria Art Gallery at Royal Park at the end of March.

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Brunswick woman Maryam Hamka missing as Brighton man charged


Police are continuing to search for a Melbourne woman missing for more than a week, after they revealed they had charged her former partner with matters “unrelated” to her disappearance.

Maryam Hamka, 36, was last seen on April 10 and has not used her bank account, phone or social media since. Her family reported her missing on Friday.

On Saturday, Victoria Policearrested a 45-year-old-man following a search warrant at a home in Brighton.

In a later statement, police said the man had been charged with matters “unrelated” to Maryam’s disappearance and will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on April 30.

Police have not yet revealed what he was charged with, but said they believe he is Ms Hamka’s former partner and that he had assisted them with their inquiries.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said on Saturday there were “significant concerns” for the woman, who left her family home in Brunswick last Saturday afternoon with a bag of clothing.

“We’re aware she was picked up by a male companion – at this stage there’s inquiries being conducted as to who that person was,” he said.

Ms Hamka was last seen at a Woolworths store in Albert St, Brunswick at 5.30pm on Saturday.

She had told family she was intending to visit a friend in Brighton.

Ms Hamka is described as 165cm tall, with a thin build and long black hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion.

She was last seen wearing a black dress.

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Titanic: Searching for the ‘missing’ Chinese survivors



When the luxurious British passenger ship Titanic sank into the Atlantic Ocean in April 1912, thousands of people fell into the frigid waters.

Only one of the lifeboats that escaped the sinking ship turned back to search for potential survivors. In the darkness, the rescuers found a young Chinese man clinging to a wooden door, shivering but still alive.

That man was Fang Lang, one of six Chinese survivors of the Titanic, and his rescue would go on to inspire a famous scene in the 1997 Hollywood blockbuster Titanic.

But their miraculous survival was not the end of their ordeal.

Within 24 hours of their arrival at the immigrant inspection station in Ellis Island, New York, they were expelled from the country because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a controversial law that barred the immigration of Chinese people into the US.

The six men disappeared from history – until now. A documentary film that has just premiered in China, The Six, shines a spotlight on their identities and lives, 109 years after the doomed voyage.

It uncovers a tale beyond the Titanic, a story shaped by racial discrimination and anti-immigration policy that has taken on particular resonance today following recent anti-Asian abuse in the US.

The men were identified as Lee Bing, Fang Lang, Chang Chip, Ah Lam, Chung Foo and Ling Hee. They were believed to be sailors heading to the Caribbean for work.

“As a group of people together, they are uniquely unknown,” Arthur Jones, British filmmaker and the director of The Six, tells the BBC.

The Chinese survivors’ names were on the ship’s passenger list, and news articles covering the Titanic’s sinking briefly mentioned them.

But unlike other Titanic survivors who received praise in the press, the Chinese men were vilified due to the anti-Chinese sentiment in the West in the early 20th Century, according to historians and researchers.

In a report filed days after the sinking, for instance, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle called the Chinese survivors “creatures” who had sprung into the lifeboats “at the first sign of danger” and concealed themselves beneath the seats.

But the documentary production team’s research showed this claim was untrue.

They built a replica of the Titanic’s lifeboat and found that it would have been impossible for the Chinese men to hide unseen. “I think we see the same thing today. We find immigrants [were] scapegoated by the press,” Mr Jones says.

Other media coverage at the time accused the Chinese men of having dressed as women in order to get priority to board the lifeboats.

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Search continues for missing Brisbane man Trent Riley who fell from his boat in Moreton Bay waters


Mr Riley’s empty boat was discovered motoring 100 metres off Mud Island near the Port of Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon.

The 26-year-old’s disappearance has sparked a major search operation, involving Water Police, the Coast Guard, Volunteer Marine Rescue and Mr Riley’s friends.

Acting Inspector Mark Mooney said police had been in contact with the missing man’s mother.

“She’s aware the survivability after 24 hours is quite low which is very heartbreaking for her and the family and friends,” he said.

“We’re still holding out hope that we’ll bring him home alive to her.”

Mr Riley posted a video to social media two hours before his empty boat was found.

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Chances of survival ‘quite good’ for missing protestor Christopher Fowell


About 40 people and a police helicopter are continuing the search for logging protestor Christopher Fowell today. 

Acting Inspector Wayne Rothwell said the search team was optimistic the 54-year-old would be found. 

“This morning I believe it’s about 40 personnel searching, and that’ll scale up throughout the day,” he said.

“At this point the assessment of his survivability is quite good still, so we haven’t determined any time we’d look at scaling back,” he said. 

Mr Fowell’s daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter have travelled from New South Wales to join the search. 

Police and his family are concerned he was not dressed appropriately for the cold overnight weather conditions of the high country. 

“Witnesses indicate he didn’t have any shoes, was wearing some shorts and a light jacket,” Acting Inspector Rothwell said. 

“He is, from information from the family, an experienced bushwalker and has a good level of bush survival skill.”

Mr Fowell was last seen around a communal campfire at the Victorian camping ground on Playground Road, near Plantation Track, in Bendoc about 11am on Saturday.

Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman and Senator Lidia Thorpe said Mr Fowell had showed her around the camp when she first arrived to protest. 

“Any person who puts their body on the line and defends country is definitely a friend of mine,” she said. 

Alongside protesters, police, Bush Search and Rescue volunteers, logging security workers have also been helping search. 

“There’s a logger actually helping in the search, this is where we need to come together and find this fella as soon as we can,” Senator Thorpe said. 

Senator Thorpe said she hopes Mr Fowell is found safe and well. 

“He knows that bush, he’s very experienced and everyone walks through the bush when you’re on a camp, you’re surrounded by pristine country so it’s a beautiful thing to do,” she said. 

“Hopefully he’s somewhere out there keeping warm and waiting for us to find him,” she said. 

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Victorian police start searching Mount Hotham for two campers missing for more than a year


Police will forensically analyse two shovels that have been found in their search for two campers who went missing in the Victorian High Country.

Russell Hill and Carol Clay went missing from their campsite in the remote Wonnangatta Valley last March.

Police have long suspected that the pair met with foul play, but have been unable to find any trace of them.

“I think the most likely scenario … is that there are other parties involved in this,” Detective Acting Inspector Tony Combridge said.

Detectives have shifted their search for the pair to Mount Hotham, a few hours north-east of the campsite, after receiving new information in their investigation.

Inspector Combridge said the search was now focussing on a “small radius” near the Great Alpine Road.

“It’s not a large area, not like we’ve been searching previously,”  he said.

He said the search was likely to continue into Thursday.

Members of the Missing Person Squad and Search and Rescue officers have been scouring rugged terrain and dense bushland in the new location.

A number of items have been found, including two shovels, but their relevance to the investigation was still being determined, he said.

Earlier this month, Search and Rescue officers and NSW cadaver dogs searched the Wonnangatta Valley for the pair.

Last month, police received what they called an “item of interest”, but would not reveal what that was.

Inspector Combridge told ABC Radio Melbourne that police were optimistic about solving the case.

“Every day we open this case and start to work on it we hope for answers,” he said.

“It’s a high-value search area. As people may be aware, that part of the world is spectacular scenery, but from a search point of view it’s uniquely challenging.”

Mr Hill and Ms Clay were last heard from on the night of March 20, when Mr Hill made contact with friends who were part of an amateur radio club.

At 2:00pm the next day, other campers found Mr Hill and Ms Clay’s camp site burnt out, with their car still there.

Mr Hill and Ms Clay were missing from the camp site, along with Mr Hill’s drone and mobile phone.

Last month, police put out a public appeal for help identifying a white dual cab ute that was in the Wonnangatta Valley at the time Mr Hill and Ms Clay were camping there.

The ute was seen near a nearby suspension bridge and long-drop toilet on March 19, and was the only car in the area at the time police have not been able to identify.

Inspector Combridge said that appeal had led to an enormous amount of information and police had to enlist more staff to go through it all.

The area being searched is incredibly remote, he said.

“There are parts of that bush that have probably never have actually been walked on by humans,” he said.

Inspector Combridge played down any suggestion that the disappearance of Mr Hill and Ms Clay was connected to other disappearances in the area.

“If you’re looking for the common link, it’s quite likely the remoteness and the nature of the terrain of the area itself,” he said.

“This investigation sits separate to the other investigations.

“We review all missing persons investigations, obviously, but this investigation is the one that we are focused on.”

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Police believe other parties involved in disappearance of missing campers as two shovels taken into evidence



Police have taken two shovels into evidence in their search for missing Victorian campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay as detectives continue to believe other parties were involved in their disappearance.

Investigators widened the search area today to include Mount Hotham after the elderly couple mysteriously disappeared more than a year ago.

Missing Person Squad detectives and Search and Rescue officers began combing the area near the Great Alpine Road from 9am to pursue any clues.

Missing Persons Squad Detective Acting Inspector Tony Combridge said it was not clear how significant the discovery of the shovels was.

“At this stage I’m aware of the discovery, as to the relevance or its importance to the investigation, that is still to be determined.”

The shovels will be assessed by investigators.

Police are considering all possibilities with regard to the mysterious disappearance of the pair.

“I think the most likely scenario is that there are other parties involved in this,” Detective Acting Inspector Combridge said.

He said the reason for investigators turning their focus to Mount Hotham came from multiple sources.

“The accrual of that information when put together as part of a bigger picture has helped us make the decision this might be a high-value area for us.”

Detective Acting Inspector Combridge also said there were “no actual suspects at the moment” but an “enormous” amount of information had been received.

He added police wanted answers for the families of Ms Clay and Mr Hill.

“To be honest we don’t know what we’re going to find until we’ve searched it,” he said.

“The area is of interest to us because of information we’ve uncovered.

“We want to find some answers.”

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Bachelorette and 7NEWS journalist Georgia Love’s finds missing cat in Richmond


Former Bachelorette and 7NEWS journalist Georgia Love has had her missing cat return home after an “excruciating” 24 hours.

The white chocolate point ragdoll named ‘Pawdrey Hepburn’ jumped the fence in Richmond on Thursday night.

But on Friday afternoon, Love confirmed the cat had been found by a neighbour.

“After nearly 24 excruciating hours, our baby girl is home. A few kind neighbour found her a few streets away and brought her in,” she said.

“The power of social media meant he found out who she was and was able to contact us.

“Thank you, thank you everyone for sharing. Now to weld shut all windows and doors. None of us are ever leaving the house again.”

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Coronavirus contact tracing sites grow following identification of ‘missing link’ in Brisbane


On Saturday, Queensland announced it had detected one new locally acquired case of COVID-19 of a close contact of one of the existing clusters that saw Greater Brisbane locked down earlier this week.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the positive case had been in quarantine since March 27 and initially tested negative before recording a positive result overnight.

Following the Good Friday announcement that a previously unidentified nurse was believed to be the missing link in Brisbane’s COVID-19 clusters, Queensland Health updated the COVID-19 contact list.

The previously unidentified nurse, who also works at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, treated the same returned traveller who infected a doctor earlier in March.

Places visited by the nurse between March 10 and March 17 have been classified as historical casual contacts

Anyone who has been to any of these locations at the relevant times, including those more than 14 days ago, should get tested immediately if they have COVID-19 symptoms and quarantine at home until receiving the test result.

Anyone who visited the sites but has no symptoms is advised to visit a GP to arrange a blood test for COVID-19 serology. 

The nurse who visited these historic casual sites did not have any symptoms and was tested through being a contact of a positive case, but is believed to have been infectious in the community from March 10 to March 23.

The nurse also visited three places on March 22 and March 23 listed as close contact sites.

Close contact sites and casual contact sites, also listed below, were updated on Friday night.

Anyone who visited the close contact sites listed must quarantine at home immediately for 14 days from the time of attending those venues during those times and complete an online contact tracing self-assessment or phone 13HEALTH.

Anyone who has visited a site on the casual contacts list should get tested immediately, even if experiencing no COVID-19 symptoms, then quarantine at home while awaiting the test result, and also complete the online contact tracing self-assessment.

Wednesday, March 10

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Monday 29 March 

Dozens of locations are on the list of casual contact sites, that carry a lower risk of exposure.

Anyone who visited these locations is advised to get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Tuesday, March 16

Wednesday, March 17

Thursday, March 18

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Queensland Health has just one low-risk site on their list. 

Anyone who was outside the Westpac at Peninsula Fair shopping centre in Kippa-Ring between 3:00 and 3:30pm on Tuesday, March 23 is asked to monitor for symptoms.

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Autistic four-year-old girl goes missing


Police are seeking public assistance in locating a four-year-old child who went missing from a remote outstation near Titjikala (Maryvale) yesterday afternoon.

She was last seen by family at the Alice Outstation near Alice Well, which is off Finke Road near the Finke Track, around 2pm.

Police assets including a drone, dog operations and patrol vehicles were deployed to the area to look for the girl.

She is of Indigenous in appearance with light skin, “wild” black curly hair, was last seen wearing a pink and black dress. She has a hearing impairment. Her family advise she is non-verbal.

Watch Commander Senior Sergeant Adrian Kidney says: “Obviously a young child alone would spark concern in anyone, so we urge anyone in the area to please keep an eye out for this little one and call us on 131 444 if you find her.

“Her family are beside themselves with worry.”

IMAGE Google Earth.

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