"Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen."
"Later, in a different home, I befriended a eucalypt, using a resilient bough as a trampoline. Learning nothing from having plummeted from the peppercorn, I'd bounce happily in my haven in the heavens. I loved that tree - and fully understand why Heysen, Roberts, McCubbin and the rest devoted so much time and effort to painting arboreal portraits."
"Fame often comes to those who are thinking about something else, whereas celebrity comes to those who think about nothing else. Celebrity is, if you like, a forgery of fame: it has the form but lacks the content."
"Human beings interest me greatly and I want them to have a better time. And the way I can do that is to have a better time myself...to entertain, and to change the world just a little bit."
"I don't know how the notion of celebrity got chucked onto people like me...I'm an actor, that's it. There's no cause for celebration, there is no celebrity anywhere near me."
"I still feel childlike. Not childish - there's a difference. But to be childlike is to be savoured and treasured. I offer my books to those who like the things of childhood; the challenges, intrigue, joy and fun."
"Words matter, and the right words matter most of all. In the end they're all that remain of us."
"If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously. "
"But it's a strange thing that I don't think there's any place in the world where men feel a more real out-and-out respect for a gentleman than in Australia."
"And we were free! Lord God! to think that men can be such fools as ever to do anything of their own free will and guiding that puts their liberty in danger when there's such a world outside of a gaol wall - such a heaven on earth as long as a man's young and strong, and has all the feelings of a free man, in a country like this."
"If I was whisked away... I think I could put up with anything, except not seeing the Australian landscape. It would be a torture to have it cut off."
"Art doesn't alter things. It points things out, but it doesn't alter them. It can't, no matter what a painter wants to do."
"I stress the uniqueness of the Australian landscape and its metaphysical and mythic content. "
"Everything I do is the environment. "
"I swim in a sea of words. They flow around me and through me and, by a process that is not fully clear to me, some delicate hidden membrane draws forth the stuff that is the necessary condition of my life."
"I am not part of that earlier Australian generation who set off on a deliberate search for fame and fortune in distant lands. My generation was the first that didn't need to. By the 1980's when I left home, our culture had grown deep enough and wide enough to encompass all but the most rarefied of ambitions."
"Without the law, you can't have society. But without the arts, you can't have civilisation"
"Mystery is a resource, like coal or gold, and its preservation is a fine thing. "
"Publishing your work is important. Even if you are giving a piece to some smaller publication for free, you will learn something about your writing. The editor will say something, friends will mention it. You will learn. "
"You have to first be a writer and somebody who loves to write. If I couldn't travel, I would still write."
"The way one approaches a wilderness story is to fashion a quest - find something that you are truly interested in finding or discovering. "
"There's a story everywhere. Being bored to death someplace is basically a funny proposition. What you have to watch out for is you don't write a boring story about a boring place. "
"You become a better writer by writing. You become a better travel writer by writing about travel. "
"Living where I live (New York) I don't think anyone's going to make a fuss. But it is more deeply satisfying because it's of your place and means that you aren't forgotten; someone's noticed what you have been doing with your life."
"To know you will be lonely is not the same as being lonely."
"People do not love those whose eyes show that they are somewhere else."
"At some point you start seeing the difference between what you really want, and what is your priority order. I feel that today I know what I want. That's the problem with perspective, as well as focus and concentration."
"An artist's duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany."
"Opera is telling a story through singing, through acting, through costume. That's very similar to the way indigenous people have been telling their stories for tens of thousands of years. "
"I was so absolutely riveted, I felt I was looking into the eyes of the artist. Art just closed the gap of time and space. The 16th century became as real to me as the 20th. It was something magical. "
"When I was growing up and forming these feelings of regret at being born into the wrong gender, there were very few women doctors, no women engineers, in fact very few women in any professions. So an ambitious little girl would feel frustrated. You must have role models."
"There will always be men who see that every man must fight out the battle between damnation and impassioned clay with his own pitiful equipment. In every generation these men will communicate to us their vision of the beauty and terror of this world. Some will write poetry: some novels: some plays: some will paint, some will compose music: and some, I believe most passionately, will write history."
"When men can be made to hope, then they can be made to win. "
"Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swivelled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark."
"But now, the final feeling is one of gratitude that the journey was undertaken. Looking at the past has meant, for the first time, being able to let it go. "
"Knowing that one dies has brought with it a peace that before was elusive to say the least... it is useless, if at times pleasurable, to fantasise about the future. It is not here and it is not known. In the same way the past is just that. Past. Gone. To be relinquished. 'What's done cannot be undone.' Now is what it's about. Life is still to be lived, suffered, enjoyed, battled over. "
"The last word always belongs to the audience... that blessed connection... that is a most powerful feeling. One that is worth savouring on dark nights when the wind blows. On the other hand there is no way of ever knowing when one steps out into that circle, if the connection will be made. The promise is there, the hope is there, but no certainty whatsoever. Which is, I suppose, the attraction. That connection, when it happens, is magic. When it doesn't... Turn out the lights. "
"I truly feel absolutely at home on the stage. It's very comfortable to me. It's very much my workplace, very much my workplace. I feel that an audience and I are happy with one another. I'm grateful for that. "
"Is it (acting) a true vocation?... I say it is a gift...And fame? Neither sought nor expected... still confounds and amazes and disturbs. Whatever the reason - I am so very delighted that it did happen - I would not have missed it for the world. "
"The important thing to me is that I'm not driven by people's praise, and I'm not slowed down by people's criticism. I'm just trying to work at the highest level I can. "
"The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision. "
"From time to time it has struck me that as a writer, I've somehow managed to live my life as I had long ago dreamt of doing, based on the Tintin paradigm: on my toes, travelling, senses attentuated, everything just adventure and exploration, curiosity and problem-solving."
"For the Tintin books were my emotional universe. To read them felt quite simply like being loved: in advance and by an entire world of pure possibility, my future. But to write to the author was to reach out for the lover. Even today, the power of reading one remains visceral: each book acts as a form of transportation, not just to the emotional landscape of this first literary love affair but to very specific memories."
"In the maintenance of the cultural tradition the study of English literature may have claims immensely superior to those of Australian literature. But it would be foolish to ignore the fact that our native literature has something important to contribute in the very fact that it is native; that civilisation, the way of life and the problems of this country are our own problems and that it is through literature that a civilisation expresses itself, through literature its values and tendencies become conscious and its creative force becomes eloquent and evident."
"Honing a thing down until you can still get through with economy, that's power. Learn your technique thoroughly, immerse yourself in it, and then just throw it all out the window, and express what you feel? and it will come through that you are a technician."
" A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing."
"I've always thought that there shouldn't be any limit to the things that are well designed. And I think that people who consider that art should only be kept for art galleries and doesn't have a role in public life, I think that's too narrow."
"In the times in which we live it is far too restricting to say that art can only be found in art galleries and not touch people's everyday lives. I want to use any means that are necessary to communicate with people what I feel about things. There are no rules. And if there are rules, then you may as well break them. "
"If I make a painting, it should be seen for what it's set out to do too. A lot of the things that I do, it's not all art. Some of it's design, some of it's illustration, some of it's graphics, some of it's concept, some of it's business and some of it, hopefully, is art."
"Wherever you are in the world, there's always something about the Australian light. There's something about the sharpness of it, something about the clarity of it, something about the colours of Australia. And hopefully, something optimistic about Australian painting too. "
"Art shouldn't be something that you go quietly into an art gallery and dip your forelock and say 'I have to be very quiet, I'm in here amongst the art.' It's here, art's everywhere. It's how you use your eyes. It's about the enjoyment of visual things. And it's certainly not for any one group of people."
"Singing from the soul heals your hurt and loneliness."
"Just because it is, doesn't mean it should be. "
"When you think of the inventions that mankind has made in the past 100 years - the telephone, the trains, and who would have thought of television when I was a child? All so marvellously ingenious. But we must bring that genius to help solve the major problems of the world."
"Music in our heart brings love to the world and music in the world brings love to our heart. "
"I have lived a very good life, it has been very rich and full. I have been very fortunate and I am thrilled by it when I look back."
"The truth is always libellous."
"Is it easier for a man to live his life again as a fish, than to accept the wonder of being human? So alone, so frightened, so wanting for what we are afraid to give tongue to."
"Writing reminds you that you're never alone. Writing and reading is to be optimistic."
"Writing is not lying, nor is it theft. It is a journey and search for transparency between one's words and one's soul."
"All is egotism. The only people whose mainspring is not egotism are the dead and perhaps idiots. "
"It's a sign of your own worth sometimes if you are hated by the right people. "
"Bravely you jog along with the rope of class distinction drawing closer, close, tighter, tighter around you... I see it and know it, but I cannot help you... I am only an unnecessary, little, bush commoner, I am only a - woman."
"Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings. "
"Such is life, my fellow-mummers - just like a poor player that bluffs and feints his hour upon the stage, and then cheapens down to mere nonentity. But let me not hear any small witticism to the further effect that its story is a tale told by a vulgarian, full of slang and blanky, signifying - nothing. "
"The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall. "
"It's a terrific privilege to be able to see into somebody else's life."
"But there are some wounds that can never be healed."
"Writers seem to me to be people who need to retire from social life and do a lot of thinking about what's happened - almost to calm themselves."
"The hardest thing in photography is to create a simple image."
"I can't think of any flower that wouldn't be suitable to merge with an image of a newborn, and as I was planning for the book, Miracle, I was drawn to blossoms that appealed to me artistically."
"I have a deep respect and love for these tiny humans, and I hope to convey in my images a measure of the beauty that exists in all children."
"The trouble with flowers is that invariably, when I'm ready to photograph them, they are not in season."
"I think the best images are the ones that retain their strength and impact over the years, regardless of the number of times they are viewed."
"I photograph from the heart. I adore little babies and I think that shows. My images are really very positive, very simple, and from the heart. Babies speak a universal language."
"I have a deep love and respect for children and I cannot imagine photographic life without them playing a major part. I hope that through my work as a photographer, I have been able to pass on my appreciation of their beauty and charm."
"I think that emotional content is an image's most important element, regardless of the photographic technique. Much of the work I see these days lacks the emotional impact to draw a reaction from viewers, or remain in their hearts."
"An' town ladies can't never compre'end country children, any'ow. Our little maid's jus' grown up like a bush flower, an' all the better she is for it."
"'It's the most extraordinary place I was ever at,' he told himself later, dressing for dinner, in the seclusion of his own room... 'Absolutely no class limits whatever, and no restrictions - why, she kept me waiting for my second cup while she looked after that fat old black in the dirty white turban!' "
"If you write to satisfy your soul, you will satisfy your readers"
"Developing the muscles of the soul demands no competitive spirit, no killer instinct, although it may erect pain barriers that the spiritual athlete must crash through. "
"Perhaps catastrophe is the natural human environment, and even though we spend a good deal of energy trying to get away from it, we are programmed for survival amid catastrophe."
"You're only young once, but you can be immature forever. "
"I grew up thinking there was one unpardonable sin - to be boring.
"This painting is not from today. We've got a story. And we've got laws. We not only believe of land, we believe of even river or creek or saltwater. That's our own law there. Our own law and story. "
"The truth is impossible to comprehend even when one is willing to tell it. For the truth resides in memory and memory is clouded with repression and a desire to embellish. The recollections of any individual are conditioned by the general truths to which he or she has tried to live. To recall an event is to interpret it, so the truth is altered by the very act of remembering. Therefore the truth, like God, does not exist - only the search for it."
"Power without Glory"
"Of children...When you bring music to them, you bring it to open minds free of preconceived ideas. So long as the music is melodious and has a rhythm that is quickly recognisable they respond at once."
"Ballet is like football. I don't understand a footballer's technique but I can see when he's playing brilliantly. People don't like ballet because they think they don't understand it. Actually they do. It's the most primitive form of appeal."
"I don't despair about the cultural scene in Australia because there isn't one to despair about."
"I was always nervous about coming back to Australia which was a complete hangover of the days when I left when ballet was not accepted, when I was not accepted, when I was considered a freak for wanting to be a ballet dancer. And, to be 100% honest, I rather dreaded coming back..."
"The trouble with nude dancing is that not everything stops when the music does."
"I have always said and I have always thought that I would never have achieved what I have... if I hadn't been Australian... I can walk into an exhibition and say that man was born in Australia or that man comes from Australia. Painters from Australia - they have a vastness, a sense of light, a sense of distance that European people do not have. Being an Australian has given me an outgoing (sic), that supplies something to the theatre that is very very difficult to explain. But I believe, I firmly believe that if I had been born in another country I would not have achieved what I have today."
"And I saw Australia anew through her eyes. And I realised what a tremendously thrilling country it was. And ever since then I have been coming back regularly."
"People often say to me - how clever you are! How brilliant to be able to go from ballet to theatre as you do. I answer that it is not clever at all. It is the gift of looking at oneself coolly, of calculating the future objectively. I could see the danger signals as far as ballet was concerned before anyone else did, that's all."
"Theatre remains the only thing I understand. It is the community of the theatre that I have my being. In spite of jealousies and fear, emotional conflicts and human tensions; in spite of the penalty; in spite of tears and feverish gaiety - this is the only life I know. It is the life I love. "
"Aren't all ballets sexy? I think they should be. I can think of nothing more kinky than a prince chasing a swan around all night."
"I think you can be contemporary without taking your clothes off."
"Most journalists of my generation died early, succumbing to one or other of the two great killers in the craft - cirrhosis or terminal alimony."
"There's no place like home, Mum. Have me head read if ever I leave this gawd's own lovely land again. You dunno what a lovely land it is till you've seen them other crowded, foggy, frozen, furrin holes."
"The design of the gum is expressed in the flow of it trunk and limbs, and the design of the European tree mainly in its foliage. In Europe great masses of foliage first attract the eye, here the limbs and trunk, which, on account of their proportion and colour, make themselves felt first, and one thinks of the foliage as a secondary matter."
"There is an infinity of landscape here, caused by the purity of the atmosphere. It has been said that there is a lack of colour. It is not so obvious as the greenness of England, but it is infinitely more varied and more delicate in tone. The landscape is a pinky mauve, a lilac, and the reflection of the sun of the particles of the atmosphere is a warm amber. So I should say our colour scheme is amber and lilac."
"The thing about old books that I find mysterious and interesting is that reading them now, we are the readers who the writer could not have imagined. We belong... to the unimaginable future."
"Cultural cringe is an extraordinarily potent phrase, because it not only identified a reflex in our culture that things had to find cultural approbation outside Australia before they could be accepted inside Australia. It's extraordinarily potent because 'cultural cringe' has, with the fame of the phrase, helped to engender the thing that it's meant to merely describe."
"Melbourne in autumn. Mellow yet crisp. The occasional keen wind. Good for the nerve ends."
"I'm easily moved by music. Music is the thing that really wells up in me. Happiness, success, even love can be wrenched away from one, but never one's music. "
"... fumbling for the right words in a language not made for explaining... still hopefully clapping hands before the shrines of gods who will never know them but whose indifference itself seems sweet."
"... (to know) what it is to be irrevocably other, and to be able to call it, most of the time, peace."
"Art is not an anaemic cult but a dynamic culture."
"On Australian speech: However whether we blame it on the flies, the heat, pure bone laziness or some other factor, the fact remains that Australians, as a general rule, do tend to speak through clenched lips, and the physical restriction of tongue, lip and jaw which results does produce nasalised vowels, whilst vowels which tend naturally to be hard are also clipped."
"I drift along, thinking about the past a great deal. The past is so reliable, so delightful, and the best place to live. I end up there quite often, you know; it's very comfortable and dependable."
"As long as the director told me where to stand and what to say I was happy. Anyone who says there is more to it than that is full of bullshit. It's a job. It is a craft, but there is no art involved. What you need is common sense and a reasonably rough head. You put on the make-up and the wardrobe and that is half the performance."
"Sometimes you have to go places with characters and emotions within yourself you don't want to do, but you have a duty to the story and as a storyteller to do it. "
"A life without fame can be a good life, but fame without a life is no life at all. "
"Fiction is life with the dull bits left out. "
"Stop worrying. Nobody gets out of this world alive. "
"The provincial intellectual is doomed to arguing at low level... there is still no Australian literary world, not in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide. It is some consolation to realise that there is no literary world in Birmingham or Los Angeles either. I have heard there is one in Montreal, but I don't believe it. The literary world is in London and New York, the only cities big enough to sustain magazines which can afford to reject copy."
"Reading and writing are exciting. The most exciting things I can think of. And now, as I reflect, I have to say that I've been lucky in that I'm amused by what I do - sufficiently amused. "
"It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are. "
"Almost 70 years have gone by, and I've still got that feeling when I write... Writing, for me, is still it. It has always been the basis of everything I do. I'm a writer who performs, not a performer who writes. I love the act of writing. It's still a thrill for me. "
"In a landscape crowded with visual elements, it may be difficult to see the wood from the trees. We need to sit quietly and observe for a while."
"That is what I think I've been put on this earth to design - beautiful things that say I love you Australia, and my work will always be about the beauty of this country and this planet. "
"I must apologise because I know all writers have memories of being on the outer because it's the children on the side of the playground who become the dangerous writers. "
"I thought I'd definitely be a writer, whatever I did. "
"I was never any good at cricket thought I love it as a, as a sort of mystery. "
"It's only when you abandon your ambitions that they become possible. "
"The record of one's life must needs prove more interesting to him who writes it than to him who reads what has been written."
"The sun was a warrior whom I gladly contested and whom I overthrew. Dazzling and magnificent was the sun's army on my back and joyous were the blades of sweat that came from my pores and vanquished him."
"It is a thought as sweet as heaven to know that in the minds of each of us the may by the fence still blooms in an eternal springtime; that the snowdrop has in our hearts a triple birth, and blooms in three separate minds, faultlessly... So that if all the flowers and grasses and hollows and hills of the old house were razed and mutilated - as they are now, I suppose - we keep them intact in three minds, each depending on the other to supply it with the delicate minutiae of remembrance."
"Make sure you love art and don't do it if you don't, because you'll be found out. Don't listen to the teachers. And feel it. Do it because you can't do anything else. Once you've decided, don't do anything else, because as someone once said, "art is long"."
"Writing doesn't come any easier with the years, that's the awful thing. Playwriting is as much a puzzle as ever."
"Choice is a luxury but I imagine it's difficult for young people today, particularly when careers are changing so much. When I was growing up, it had nothing to do with what you would like to be. It was, 'Where can you get a job?' If you had limited choice, you just live with it."
"Picasso wouldn't have churned out the same number of documented works of art as the days he lived on earth if he hadn't been obsessed. If Beethoven hadn't been obsessed with music he probably would have given the game away when he realised he was deaf."
"If you're just safe about the choices you make, you don't grow. "
"I didn't mind my own company as a child; I was happy playing alone in the sandpit."
"For me, spirit is the impulse towards life, the Eros in a person leaping forward, whereas soul refers to something possibly long.. suffering, where meanings are made, where there is a sense of this gathering of perceptions, that our death is not the most important thing, nor our life."
"Ah, whimsical. It's terrible the way words get attached to you like barnacles. As is what I do is acting on a 'whim'. If only these were gifts from God when I get an idea, but everything I have done that I really love has had a lot of hard work behind it."
"Time - whether you are burning it up or falling in love or spreading it out thin in a dentist's waiting room - is a commodity that cannot be weighed out and measured by clocks. "
"Every mind which has given itself to self-expression in art is aware of a directing agency outside its conscious control which it has agreed to label 'inspiration'."
"If you've got no love in your heart, you've got nothing... No dreaming, no story, nothing... "
"Now that spring is no longer to be recognised in blossoms or in new leaves on trees, I must look for it in myself. I feel the ice of myself cracking. I feel myself loosen and flow again, reflecting the world. That is what spring means."
"I've long come to the conclusion that when people say they can't put a book down, they don't mean they're interested in what's happening next; they mean they are so mesmerised by the writer's voice and the relationship that has been established that they don't want to break that. That's what I feel when I read, and I'm sure now that that's what's going on in the relationship between the reader and the writing."
"If a bloke gave you a hundred quid for a book you can bet your life it’s his way, but if all the poor and suffering people raise their hats to you for writing it - that’s different; it makes it worthwhile then."
"The Australian Artist can best fulfil his highest destiny by remaining in his own country and studying that which lies about him..."
"I escaped the torture of my childhood home by reading. To this day it is still one of my greatest pleasures."
"It's no fun to be a bluestocking in a family of jockstraps."
"My books and other works are my legacy, and it's a great comfort to know that mine is a legacy of pleasure for other people."
"Opera is like a day in parliament: love, lust, murder and betrayal, but all in song."
"Great writers tackle the mysteries of human personality and dark existential concerns. Reading them, we feel less alone."
"One of the drawbacks of Fame is that one can never escape from it."
"The first rule in opera is the first rule in life: see to everything yourself"
"If I'd been a housemaid I'd have been the best in Australia - I couldn't help it. It's got to be perfection for me. "
"What are we singers but the silver-voiced messengers of the poet and the musician?"
"Music is not written in red, white and blue. It is written in the heart's blood of the composer."
"There are no lines in nature. "
"Music is the elixir of life. It can mimic the heartbeats of our bodies and heal like a magic wand...The resonance it creates in our bodies cannot be replicated by any medicine. "
"There has come a time when we can no longer remain silent but must speak up for our country which is being sold, abused, mined, depleted, drained, overworked, over-loved, its plants and animals becoming endangered and exterminated faster than we can renew them. Our country is silent, so we must speak and act to save it."
"Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way."
"I always figure I have this tree and there's always some green fruit that's not ready to pick or blossoms that are ready to flower; there are always some ready to drop off too."
"I actually build my dreams around the dancers I've got in my company."
"Dance is so joyous."
"For me it was really important to get the essence out of the music for the story and not, sort of, press the music into the service of the whimsical telling of it."
"And dance is wonderful because dance is so immediate."
"I look at the dancers and I get the inspiration for the work from them."
"It's the emotional trigger points that are important to me because I know if I could believe in the characters and try and imagine how they felt then I'd be able to do something quite honest."
"Religions are big slow poems, while most poems are short, fat religions. "
"Australia was ruled by poetry for tens of thousands of years - prose only became its ruling principle after settlement in 1788. "
"A true poem is dreamed and danced as well as thought. "
"When you have kids, you just can't believe your heart could love something so much. My kids inspire me every day and I think I'm a better singer now because they have given me a greater emotional well to draw from."
"The most important thing to do as an artist is to get out of your comfort zone and work with different people: people who can't read a note of music, people who have incredible classical skills, blues and jazz musicians, pop artists, visual artists, dancers and actors. Learn from people who are creative in a different way to you and you'll keep evolving."
"My mum's an opera singer: I grew up watching her get swept up in music and transform herself into characters. She taught me that music is a lifelong journey, and that with every day and every song and every gig you learn something new."
"Walking onstage at the Sydney Opera House feels like entering a sacred Australian space. A space where souls can be transported by the power of music. "
"To share the joy of music, to share feelings and illuminate meaning, that is why I devote myself to this art. "
"As a metaphor for what human beings can achieve, there's nothing like an orchestra."
"Aged nine, sprawled on my bed, I wrote misspelt uphill stories about girls and their horses, and later filled a diary with intimate teenage confessions. My first school essays were a discovery. I found refuge in the written word. Shy and tongue-tied, writing gave me time to think about what to say, and change if I need be."
"Everyone has a thing they love to do in life - playing bridge, gardening, having children. Mine is painting, where I celebrate life."
"As you get older, you move to a point where you can give back to society."
"I think a single sentence by Van Gogh is better than the whole work of all the art critics and art historians put together."
"Painting is a means of self-enlightenment."
"The important thing about Paris is not so much that one sees exciting work, but one meets people who feel that art is worth living completely for. This whole atmosphere is very good for work."
"The landscape contains the spiritual essence that is part of me. I am in the landscape and the landscape is in me."
"Art is not so much talent as character- it's what you are, the qualities of the person."
"I love our laconic character and the larrikin streak that is an essential part, because it is unpredictable and profoundly felt. We should remind ourselves - never lose sight of a fair go. And remember the value of true friendship. Unless we love one another, we shall die."
"When you follow your feeling you get an identity of yourself."
"The you beaut country is a landscape of the mind."
"Education, to be of any value, must be useless in the first place. "
"Our culture is something that has sustained us for thousands and thousands of years and will continue to do so in generations to come. "
"We know we cannot live in the past but the past lives in us. "
"This is another world to the ones most Australians know. It was explained by my father once that it's like a blanket on the ground. We, the uninitiated, only see the blanket. Lift it up and that's what our elders see 'the real thing' - a world most of us will never know or understand. Through their paintings, artists offer us a glimpse of the world of dreams where the past, present and the future link. "
"So what is the Dreaming? I would say the Dreaming is a non-indigenous term used in its broadest sense to describe the stories of our ancestors and how they shaped the land and how they are still part of the land? Across Aboriginal Australia there are as many different terms for Dreaming as there are language groups"
"This is the land of dreamings, a land of wide horizons and secret places. The first people, our ancestors, created this country in the culture that binds us to it. "
"Our artists have the power to bring our dreams and our nightmares to life so we will never forget. "
"At difficult times of my life, books have been an incredible comfort. When I was 12, I changed schools and my parents split up. It was then that I became addicted to reading. A great writer can attach themselves to your mind and heart, and you feel you understand the world better. As long as you have the capacity to read, you needn't be alone any more. I remember thinking as a child, "If I could give one person the comfort I keep getting from books, then I want to write.""
"Next, suddenly, lightning suddenly, while I am still a child, a branch is lopped from my being, and a portion of my childhood ends forever. I see what poets are."
"This silent cry is of ecstasy for what has been done, and of despair at being forestalled, and being thus forewarned, that neither This Year nor Next Year am I to have the ability and wisdom to light the lamp on my own. Although one branch of childhood is in this fashion lopped for all time, the rest of it still inhabits the body of a child which occupies itself in childish matters."
"Now, I can smile at the stock quality of these friends, these uniforms. these looking-glasses, these sharers. Each is a character lifted straight from literature and yet, life successfully aping art, they are alive, and fulfil their destinies - or act their parts - flawlessly."
"The Australian form of self-respect, however rough-and-ready, heart-of-gold, come-and-take-pot-luck-with-us, and matily extrovert it is, essentially, genteel, ingrowing, self-pitying, vanilla-ice-cream hearted, its central fear a fear of intellect."
"The unwritten rules of behaviour are infinite in number, finely shaded, and subtle to the last fraction of a degree. They are not to be broken. If broken, the rules of forgiveness leading to re-establishment are equally of air and iron. I learn these rules with rather less ease than my contemporaries because, in the back streets of my being, a duel is developing and increasing in fervour between my instinct which knows why something is so, and my hen-pecking intelligence which wishes to analyse why something is so."
"Don't sacrifice your life to work and ideals. The most important things in life are human relations. I found that out too late. "
"I'm overflowing with stories, delighted and quite mad with the beauty and tragedy of them."
"Everything I've done in my life has been by instinct. I never had any doubt I could do anything. I always knew I was going to be a writer."
"Music is a good place to go when you're feeling a bit down."
"It's what I've loved for a long time, I don't know what else I'd do. I'd rather be performing than not at the moment."
"But it was in Australia that I gained my first impressions of the beauty of the world, and it was the Bush that taught me. "
"I have come to the realization that the essential healing element within the music I play for those who are sick and vulnerable, is the offering of love...love expressed musically. In my own simple way I now find that I am able to reach out to people through my music and draw them into an experience where they feel the loving presence of a caring stranger who offers tenderness, compassion, consolation and support in their difficulty. In a very short time we enter into an intimate communion with each other created through the musical offering and an attentive, caring presence. Words fall away, the experience needs none. The time together often concludes in comfortable, languid silence... a reverie that I don't want to disturb. The experience is very tangible. Mystery is encountered, but the outcomes are measurable. "
"When people come and tell me I was terrific in this or that, I do not want to fall flat on my face next time. But, tough, I have fallen flat before. You just get up and dust yourself off. "
"You should never settle for what you think is just good. You should drive the editors and writers and everybody nuts until it's great. And if you don't go for great, you won't end up with good. You've got to go beyond your wildest dreams because the exigencies of film making are going to smash you into the ordinary. "
"I love Australia passionately. I love our landscape. It's influenced most of my work, really. Almost everything I've written is about the landscape. Trying to find, the sacred, the spiritual in it. "
"I don't think there's much point in bemoaning the state of the world unless there's some way you can think of to improve it. Otherwise, don't bother writing a book; go and find a tropical island and lie in the sun."
"Sometimes I'll drive around for months despair, nothing, nothing, then suddenly I will see something that seizes me - a shape, a combination of shapes, a play of light or shadows and I send up a prayer because I know I have the germ of a picture."
"Painting is a form of incarnation. It is spirit made manifest in the world."
"I find myself moved by man in his new violent environment. I want to paint this explicitly and beautifully."
"I feel it's just some sort of game if it's just abstract."
"Everybody gets inspired. We all have these moments. It just depends on whether you've got the ability to seize it."
"I like living in the 20th century - to me the world has never been more beautiful. I am trying to paint the real world I live in, as beautifully as I can with my own eyes."
"Anyone would think a thin stick like me, weak and miserable would go down with everything: do you think I get more than my cough every winter? I bet I live till ninety, with all my aches and pains. To think that's fifty more years of the Great-I-Am."
"There are so may ways to kills yourself, they're just old-fashioned with their permanganate: do you think I'd take permanganate? I wouldn't want to burn my insides out and live to tell the tale as well: idiots! It's simple, I'd drown myself... Why be in misery at the last?"
"Ye want to tell the plain truth all your life, woman, and speak straight; otherwise ye get to seeing double."
"... the waste, the insane freaks of these money men, the cynicism and egotism of their life... I'll show that they are not brilliant, not romantic, not delightful, not intelligent."
"About myself? No. I'm unimportant, an observer, a wandering animal. "
"I do not want to go to heaven; I want my children, forever children, and other children, stalwart adults, and a good happy wife, that is all I ask, but not paradise; earth is good enough for me: it is because I believe earth is heaven, Naden, that I can overcome all my troubles and face down my enemies."
"The City is a machine miraculously organised for extracting gold from the seas, airs, clouds, from barren lands, holds of ships, mines, plantations, cottage hearth-stones, trees and rocks; and he, wretchedly waiting in the exterior halls, could not even get his finger on one tiny, tiny lever."
"Loneliness is a terrible blindness."
"She was able to feel active creation going on around her in the rocks and hills, where the mystery of lust took place; and in herself, where all was yet only the night of senses and wild dreams, the work of passion going on."
"We are primitive men; we taboo what we desire and need. How did the denying of love come to be associated with the idea of morality."
"I know your breed; all your fine officials debauch the younger girls who are afraid to lose their jobs: that's as old as Washington."
"A mother! What are we worth really? They all grow up whether you look after them or not. That poor miserable brat of his is growing up, and I certainly licked the hide off her; and she's seen marriage at its worst, and now she's dreaming about 'supermen' and 'great men'. What is the good of doing anything for them?"
"I sit here in the upper circle surrounded by copper and gold, and smile with joy under my fly net as all the light, glory and quivering brightness passes slowly and freely before my eyes. Nothing happier than this. I shout and laugh at my immense wealth, all free and without responsibility. Who could steal this from me? No one. Oh that I could roll some up - as at present."
"Nature's scheme of colour in Australia is gold and blue."
"My voice was obviously God given and I have tried to give of myself honestly. "
"Technique is the basis of every pursuit. If you're a sportsman or you're a singer... you have to develop a basic technique to know what you're doing at any given time. "
"I don't get really inspired the way some people do, buzzing with ideas - it feels like hard work to me... but once I get hooked into the universe of a particular work it becomes almost like an aesthetic addiction."
"As an artist, even if you are putting out something really dark and disturbing, that's good because it's opening a discussion. Always in the back of my mind is this thought that the world has to be a better place with you in it."
"Depression is the flip side of creative inspiration but it can be useful. It's telling you to stop for a little bit. You can become so fully absorbed in the world of creative work that it can lead to some imbalance in your life."
"Performing Rhapsody in Blue on an upright is like flying a 747 into Bankstown airport. "
"Tragedy is something that happens to a lot of people - it's a tragedy if you react with hand-wringing. "
"I know I belong here (in Australia), it's not so much that the land is yours as that you belong to the land."
"Perhaps the most ancient of the arts. Like music, it is a constant delight and the practice of it continues to intrigue me."
"A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns. "
"For a writer, there are only three worthwhile subjects: life and death, humor and love."
"Anything, it transpires, absolutely anything, can be the mysterious machinery of desire, can be eroticised, fetishised, tantalised, sandwiched between peanut butter and jam."
"I didn't know what I was looking for before I saw it..."
"We inherit (literary) plots... There are only two or three in the world, five or six at most. We ride them like treadmills."
"Like the dark wood itself, which can burgeon into anyone's sleep, Queensland is fluid in size and shape, it ebbs and flows and refuses to be anchored in space, it billows out like a net that can settle without warning over its most wayward children and pull them home."
"... the world is crammed with messages. We'll never have time to read them all."
"From time to time, I find myself inside the skin of other people. I see out of their eyes. This affliction swoops down like seasickness. It changes things irrevocably."
"Books cannot postpone death - that is the job of medicine. But certain books, by showing us the inner fullness of individual life, can rescue us from a limited view of ourselves and one another."
"I love what I do, and I never thought about doing anything else. I think my voice was bestowed upon me; it was a gift I was given. I just had to learn to understand how to use it."
"It made me a household name, but nothing comes for nothing. What I had to give physically, emotionally and vocally to that role took a bit of my soul away."
"I strive for perfection, but of course it can never be perfect. I'm never satisfied at the end of a performance. But the great thing about live theatre is that every night you get another chance to get it right."
"All gradients of reality, all existential distinctions, have finally been annihilated."
"If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine. "
"And I've always worked on the principle that if it interests me enough to write about it, then it must interest a lot of other people. "
"You know one of the causes of modern despair is the fact that we have had proposed to us, from various quarters, an impossible perfection. "
"The fact is that the learning process goes on, and so long as the voices are not stilled and the singers go on singing some of it gets through"
"Australia will never a national identity until individual Australians acquire identities of their own."
"Art is the thrilling spark that beats death - that's all."
"The most fundamental reason one paints is in order to see. "
"I am interested in beauty which can best be described as being on time for the appointment."
"Art should astonish, transmute, transfix. One must work at the tissue between truth and paranoia. "
"When I'm not fidgeting with infinity, I'm just fidgeting."
"Everyone reaches a point in their life where they must either change or cease."
"Drawing is the art of being able to leave an accurate record of the experience of what one isn't, of what one doesn't know. A great drawer is either confirming beautifully what is commonplace or probing authoritatively the unknown."
"The fine art of painting, which is the bastard of alchemy, always has been always will be, a game. The rules of the game are quite simple: in a given arena, on as many psychic fronts as the talent allows, one must visually describe, the centre of the meaning of existence."
"I see things in terms of paint, all else is irrelevant."
"One thing I'll have to face about myself, I suppose, is that while I've always loved mankind in general, I have been less than generous to some of those I've been involved with in particular."
"Tubby Robbins took me apart in the ’39 Grand Final and when I got home Rosemary said, “I think you met your match today,” and I thumped her one. She apologised later but by that time the damage was done."
"I just sit here and tell the story as though I can't help it. There's always something in the day that reminds me, that sets me off all hot and guilty and scared and rambling and wistful, like I am now."
"It's terrifying to think you can remember things you shouldn't possibly be able to. It's like that childhood fear of having your soul slip from your body in your sleep. The darkness, those black sheets of glass sliding over you, upping the pressure, pushing you through the time and space and story."
"It's the pointless things that give your life meaning. Friendship, compassion, art, love. All of them pointless. But they're what keeps life from being meaningless. "
"Writing a book is a bit like surfing. Most of the time you're waiting. And it's quite pleasant, sitting in the water waiting. But you are expecting that the result of a storm over the horizon, in another time zone, usually, days old, will radiate out in the form of waves. And eventually, when they show up, you turn around and ride that energy to the shore. It's a lovely thing, feeling that momentum. If you're lucky, it's also about grace. As a writer, you roll up to the desk every day, and then you sit there, waiting, in the hope that something will come over the horizon. And then you turn around and ride it, in the form of a story. "
"Ah, but you, Darkness, you know all this. I tell you night after night. Nothing will shock you. Maybe I go on at you in the hope that there's something beyond you. Some nights I sit here and talk and sob and stare out into the blackness thinking that if I look hard enough I'll see the light behind. But I stay out until the break of day, waiting, hoping, and there's only sunrise again."
"The night is full of stories. They float up like miasmas, as though the dead leave their dreams in the earth where you bury them, only to have them rise to meet you in sleep. Mostly the scenes are familiar, but sometimes everything is strange, the people unknown."
"It's dark already and I'm out here again, talking, telling the story to the quiet night. "
"The beachcomber goes looking for trouble, everything he finds is a sign of trouble. The writer is the same; without trouble he has nothing to work with, so he picks over the tide line, over the bits and pieces of people's lives with grim fascination."
"I liked books - the respite and privacy of them - books about plants and the formation of ice and the business of world wars. Whenever I sank into them I felt free. "
"I am first and foremost a musician, although those of us who live elsewhere still dream about the inspirational qualities of Australia and its ravishing transcendental beauty."
"That impulse I think is a form of love. Poetry is something that comes to you, rather than your having to work out its form beforehand."
"When we paint, whether it is on our bodies for ceremony or on bark or canvas for the market, we're not just painting for fun or profit, we're painting as we always have done to demonstrate our continuing link with our country and the rights and responsibilities we have to it."