Better Churcher was one of the true greats of Australian art and culture. She wanted people to understand and share her own passion for art and she achieved that through her work first as an educator and as Director of the National Gallery of Australia; through her two ABC TV series, Take Five and Hidden Treasures. And, more recently, with her two volumes of sketches of her most-loved great works from around the world published as Notebooks, in which her own always-downplayed talent as an artist became clear for all to see and enjoy. In everything she did, she was a great communicator.
Born Elizabeth Ann Cameron in what was then a semi-rural part of Brisbane, her keen eye for nature and beauty is evident in a memory she recalled for Robin Hughes in the Australian Biography project interviews. She described a creek that formed the boundary of the family home:
“...it was the most magical creek. It was one of those lovely little creeks that had crystal clear water and that green, cow cropped grass going right up to the edge.
“And every now and then, a little bit of, ah, the bank would break away and become a little island, topped with this lovely little pad of green grass. I used to sit on that, and just watch the water run by and dream, and that was really probably one of my favourite spots.”Continue reading →