School of Arts

Joan Luxemburg

CRCAH doctoral candidate

The inimitable Mr Meek. Re-discovering a lost art.


Joan is researching an early Victorian pioneer and graphic artist, James McKain Archibald Job Meek (1815-1899). Meek arrived on the Ballarat goldfields in December 1851 and stayed long enough to make his fortune. After a boom and bust career around Victoria and in New Zealand, he returned to Ballarat for the last decade of his life in the 1890s. Meek was a colourful and versatile character, a mariner, miner, explorer, entrepreneur, writer, graphic artist and miniature calligrapher. Meek's diaries and works yield fascinating information on the early years of the colonies and, in particular, offer another insight into 19th century Ballarat.

Joan's project is threefold: re-discovering Meek's body of art work for an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat to open on his 200th birthday (15 June 2015); preparing a catalogue of essays and images to accompany the exhibition; and the writing of an exegesis.

Joan believes that she somewhat like Mr Meek herself, having turned her hand to several occupations including secretary, administrator, manager, teacher, psychologist, country real estate agent, volunteer gallery guide, and perennial student.