Australian Shearing Sheds

‘Once were yards’ (detail) 2015

Christine Porter has been making artwork about shearing sheds since 1984, when she was governessing in North Queensland.  As a “serial artist-in-residence” she is invited to sheep and cattle stations all over Queensland and New South Wales to create bodies of artwork that become like a portrait of the place at that time.

Artist Statement

This shearing shed is typical of many that I make artwork about. It was built at a time when the sheep industry carried Australia on its back: when our wool warmed the world. Land use and markets have changed. Often, as the artist, I am the last one in before the bulldozers. My work describes the final shearing, the flock replaced by herd, the loss of respect for an industry that placed the Australian economy on the world stage. I meet people from the cities or coastal fringes and hear their mis-information and mis-understandings about agriculture and grazing. It is a gradual and inevitable amnesia that describes the true balance of power in a country that still needs to feed itself.

This work is not deliberately nostalgic. Its about real people, real places. It’s about how, despite those lifestyles being trivialised by mass media and hijacked by tourism, for so many Australians this is still home.
Christine Porter 2009

Painting projects

West of the Barcoo 2017
Christine’s main project for 2017. Paintings about three shearing sheds near Blackall in western Queensland.




Painting “Newstead”, 2015-16
This major body of work is about the shed at “Newstead” near Inverell, where Tom Roberts painted his iconic shearing painting “The Golden Fleece“. Work from this series was an important part of Christine’s 2017 exhibition “Shadowing Tom” held at the Inverell Art Gallery.



'Once were yards'(detail) 2015 watercolour 86x40cmcm Christine PorterOnce were Yards 2015
Western Queensland in winter 2014 was in the grip of drought that even now, at the time of writing, it has not really been released from. This series of paintings, from a property near Barcaldine, was created in the midst of this drought. But rather than concentrate on the horror of what I saw, and what these families have had to contend with for years now, I decided to simply pay attention to the buildings that, in their beauty, told of fortitude rather than despair.


'interior with gate' 2014 watercolour 20x20cm Christine PorterThere was a crooked shed 2014 
A small series of 11 paintings of an equally small, (but perfectly formed) two stand shearing shed near Inverell, New South Wales.





'gas engine at the pumpshed' 2013 watercolour 20x20cm Christine PorterWoolshed on the Lachlan 2013
“Gulgo” is a sheep stud near Condobolin on the banks of the Lachlan River in the very central west of New South Wales. The 50 paintings that form this major series represents nearly twelve month’s work and were first exhibited at an 80th birthday party ( the sort of occasion when work and play nicely intersect).



'Sunshine Massey Harris' 2013 watercolour 20x20cm Christine PorterOld Machinery
An ongoing series of paintings and etchings collecting together images Christine has created of discarded, unused or museum-ed machinery. This collection not unlike many such collections Christine finds in “museum sheds” on her journey as artist-in-residence across Australia’s heartland.



Curating Memory – Archived works 
Some of Christine’s favourite paintings from earlier projects that have been collected into family and corporate collections worldwide.

To buy paintings

Click on the images (above) of the various painting projects, then follow the links to individual artworks.
Contact Christine directly to buy paintings, as they may be in galleries, exhibitions or already sold.
Visit Christine’s  studio/gallery in Lismore (open by appointment) to see currently available artwork.
Attend an art show where Christine takes part (see below)
Commission a rural project of your place. more information
Lease a painting for your business, or licensed for your print/web project. more information
Follow Christine on facebook or instagram for up-to-the-minute news

Exhibition/Competitions that Christine regularly contributes to

(but not every year, and not always just paintings)
Bentley Art Show
Blackall – Heartland festival
Barcaldine – annual art show
Goondiwindi – Aspects Art Show
Inverell Annual Competitive Art Show.
Mitchell – Landmark Art Show
Sydney – Royal Easter Show
Sydney/Gosford – Annual Exhibition Australian Watercolour Institute
Toowoomba- Downlands
Toowoomba Grammar Art Show