Driver George Garden Colville
|Birth place:||United Kingdom: Scotland, Aberdeen|
|Death place:||Australia: Victoria, Melbourne|
|Service number:||1228 - First World War, 1914-1918|
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1887, George Colville moved to Australia in 1892. Around 1910 he began studying painting at the National Gallery of Victoria School of Art under Frederick McCubbin and Bernard Hall.
In 1914, Colville enlisted and served overseas for four years in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, and France and England. Although not an official war artist, he produced sketches and news sheets for fellow soldiers in Gallipoli; in France, he sketched the countryside.
After the First World War, Colville became a founding member of the Twenty Melbourne Painters. He also exhibited his workswith the Victorian Art School. Painting for many years, in oil and watercolour, he produced impressionistic bush and coastal scenes.
In 1941, Colville applied for a position on the home front as an official war artist, having already executed a number of pictures of munition workers, one of which had been exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria. Despite his strong application, he was not accepted.
It was not until 1949-1950 that Colville became an official war artist. The Australian War Memorial facilitated Colville's joining the Australian troops occupying Japan. His project was to provide a record of the life and activities of the British Commonwealth Occupational Forces, which had been largely an Australian exercise. By the time Colville arrived in Japan, however, the Occupational Forces were being reduced; by June 1950 the remaining troops were sent to fight in the Korean War.
It was agreed that the Memorial would select twenty of the works Colville produced during his stay in Japan. During his time there, Colville travelled with the troops, painting landscapes and scenes of Kure (near Hiroshima), Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama in his inimitable impressionistic style of oil painting. Colville depicted barracks and buildings occupied by the troops, as well as hospitals, hostels and press rooms. Colville also depicted local sites such as Mount Fiji and the Temple at Osaka and the war's aftermath - the bomb sites of Hiroshima and the ANZAC war graves. Twenty-one of these works were donated to the Memorial upon Colville's return and remain part of the Memorial's collection.
After returning to Australia in 1950, Colville won the Albury Prize for oil painting in 1951. Colville continued to paint until his death in Melbourne in 1970 at the age of 83.
Rolls and Awards
- Rank: Driver
- Date of embarkation: 20 October 1914
- Place of embarkation: Melbourne
View of the barracks at Hiro occupied by the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), serving with BCOF.ART26934
The artist's impression of the Australia Day parade on Anzac Park, Kure, of BCOF troops. Mount Haigamine forms the background.ART26935
Garrison Church of St Peter, Kure, Japan, built by Australian engineers.ART26936
Kure Harbour, ships had been sunk or scuttled and were resting on the harbour bottom.ART26937
Depicts a painting of the Sergeants mess (old and new) of the BCOF Headquarters with the Roman Catholic church in the background. It was not until 1949-1950 that Colville became an official war artist. The Australian War Memorial facilitated Colville's joining the Australian troops occupying Japan....ART26938
Depicts a mine disposal unit at work, preparing to lay a fuse to destroy mines washed up on a small beach in Japan. The officers are from a Bomb Disposal unit of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF).ART26939
Depicts a painting of a Japanese pagoda in Osaka, Japan. It was not until 1949-1950 that Colville became an official war artist. The Australian War Memorial facilitated Colville's joining the Australian troops occupying Japan. His project was to provide a record of the life and activities of the...ART26940
Depicts a painting of Kure Harbour, port of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Behind the boat are the buildings of the docks and the hills which surround Kure.ART26941
Depicts a painting of the Commander-in-Chief's residence - Siamese Legation, Tokyo.ART26942
Depicts a painting of Provost unit searching a Japanese Junk in Kure harbour, Japan.ART26943
Depicts a painting of the dock area from Hillside, Kure Harbour, Japan.ART26944
Depicts a painting of British Commonwealth Occupation Force General Hospital, from Anzac Park, Kure, Japan.ART26945
Portrait of Sister Gilchrist standing in the doorway of the Ebisu Hospital, Tokyo.ART26946
Depicts a painting of the bomb damage at the Naval Dockyards, Kure.ART26947
Depicts a painting of the interior press room of the British Commonwealth Occupational Force newspaper, Osaka. The following appear in the painting; (l-r) Mr Clegg, seated at table reading paper, Mabel Fukuda (translator) background, Mr R Osbiton (seated at table), Mr J Kewley, Sports Editor,...ART26948
The Kawana Hotel at Izu, Japan, is a leave centre visited by members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) and allied civilians. It was not until 1949-1950 that Colville became an official war artist. The Australian War Memorial facilitated Colville's joining the Australian troops...ART26949
Two Japanese boats with Mt Fuji in the distance.ART26950
Australian war graves section at the International War Graves Commission in Yokohama, Japan. 'The Yokohama war cemetery was constructed by the Australian War Graves group after the Second World War and contains the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who died in Japan as prisoners of war or with the...ART26951
Mustangs on the tarmac at Iwa kuni, Japan.ART26952
George Colville was sent to Japan to record the activities of the Australians that were participating in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). This was the first time that Australians were involved in the military occupation of a sovereign nation which it had defeated in war. This...ART26953
This is the Administrative Buildings, Bricosat at the Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, painted when Colville was an official artist with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces.ART26954
|Date of birth||1887|
|Date and unit at enlistment (ORs)||1914|
|Date of embarkation||1914-10-20|
|Date of death||1970|