Many of Nolan’s paintings in the Central Australia series were produced through the use of a combination of sources including; rough line drawings, pencil notes, his own photography and images produced by professional aerial photographers. The works in the series have a filmic sensibility, appearing as if stills from a moving image. Immediately before his journey to Central Australia, Nolan had looked at films that depicted inland Australia. The notion of pulsating colour is best exemplified in works such as Durack Range 1950 Inland Australia 1950 and in the most epic and ambitious Central Australia 1950.

Text by Geoffrey Smith from Sidney Nolan: Desert & Drought, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2003, p.21-22


  • Title: Durack Ranges
  • Creator: Sidney Nolan
  • Creator Lifespan: 22 April 1917 - 28 November 1992
  • Creator Nationality: Australian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: London, England
  • Creator Birth Place: Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Date Created: 1950
  • Physical Dimensions: 91.5 x 122.3 cm (Unframed)
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1950, © National Gallery of Victoria
  • External Link: National Gallery of Victoria
  • Medium: oil and enamel paint on composition board
  • Additional information: From 1949–1953 Nolan created extraordinary images of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, covering the geographical areas of the MacDonnell Ranges, Arnhem Land, the Kimberley, Great Sandy Desert, Tanami Desert and Gibson Desert. These included aerial views of desert and mountain ranges, drought-stricken landscapes with dried carcases, powerful narratives of the Burke and Wills expedition, and a previously unrecognised series of paintings of images of religion in an Australian context. Nolan’s unique vision of the red heart of Australia and his technique of oil and enamel paint on composition board, glass and paper, had an overwhelming impact on Australian audiences and launched his international career.

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