Max Ragless

Max Ragless
This painting by Max Ragless shows Japanese civilian internees harvesting the pyrethrum daisy grown at Loveday. From the blossoms is extracted pyrethin, the basic element in insecticides used by the Australian Military Forces in the south west Pacific area. A chronology of events at the Loveday Group Camp records the harvesting of Australia's largest pyrethrum crop concluded on 4 December 1945, yielding 75 wool bales containing ten tons of dried heads. AWM ART23407.

Maxwell 'Max' Christopher Richard Ragless was born in 1901 and attended Scotch College (then Kyre College) in Adelaide, where he received art training from Maude Priest. After leaving school he worked on sheep stations and then in vineyards. In his artistic pursuits he was influenced by Hans Heysen and Tom Roberts.

After the outbreak of war he became a camouflage office working with the Department of Home Security. From March 1945 he was an official war artist with the brief of recording the mobilisation of industry for the war effort. The work took him to aircraft factories and hangars in various parts of Australia. In Whyalla, for example, he focussed on wartime mining and shipbuilding while also visiting the inland mines at Iron Knob and Iron Monarch.

While much of his work focussed on industry, on his visit to Loveday he depicted agricultural activities. Several paintings emerged from his time there. After the war he pursued a career as an artist in Adelaide. He died in 1981.



Maxwell Christopher Richard Ragless, (accessed 1 March 2021).