FINALISTS 2017 FISHER’S GHOST ART AWARD
Finalist 2017 in the Fisher’s Ghost Art Award.
I am immensely appreciative and grateful for these two portraits being chosen as finalists in the 2017 Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize. Thank you and am feeling blessed to be in the company of such wonderful artists.
THE ART PRIZE
The origins of the Art Prize arose from the series of historical events which occurred in Campbelltown. Currently Fisher’s Ghost Festival celebrations take place annually in Campbelltown.
The Open section of the Art Award is acquisitive to the C-A-C permanent collection and is awarded prize-money of $20,000. In the past it has been awarded to some of Australia’s most respected Contemporary artists including Elisabeth Cummings, Khaled Sabsabi, Justene Williams, David Bromley, Marion Borgelt, Raquel Ormella and Philip Wolfhagen.
On 17 June 1826 an English-born Australian farmer from Campbelltown named Frederick Fisher (born 28 August 1792 in London) suddenly disappeared. His friend and neighbour George Worrall claimed that Fisher had returned to England, and that before departing had given him power of attorney over his property and general affairs. Later, Worrall claimed that Fisher had written to him to advise that he was not intending to return to Australia, and giving his farm to Worrall.
Four months after Fisher’s disappearance a respectable local man named John Farley, ran into the local hotel in a very agitated state. He told the astonished patrons that he had seen the ghost of Fred Fisher sitting on the rail of a nearby bridge. Farley related that the ghost had not spoken, but had merely pointed to a paddock beyond the creek, before disappearing.
Initially Farley’s tale was dismissed, but the circumstances surrounding Fisher’s disappearance eventually aroused sufficient suspicion that a police search of the paddock to which the ghost had pointed was undertaken – during which the remains of the murdered Fisher were discovered buried by the side of a creek. George Worrall was arrested for the crime, confessed, and subsequently hanged. Fred Fisher, whose lands he had coveted, was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Campbelltown.
It has been suggested that Farley invented the ghost story as a way of concealing some other speculated source of his knowledge about the whereabouts of Fisher’s body, but this cannot be confirmed. Joe Nickell has written the ghost story may have originated from an anonymous poem in 1832 which fictionalized Fisher and Worrall.
Contemporary police and court records do not mention the ghost story. The legend of Fisher’s ghost has since entered popular folklore and the creek beside which the body was discovered is known as Fisher’s Ghost Creek, although it has now, however, been converted into mostly a storm water drain.