The Island Continent

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Thursday 18th October 2012

The Island Continent – a new project from Eamon Donnelly.  Part design studio, part digital archive of all things Australiana.

A road trip taking in Australia’s iconic ‘Big Things’, as seen on The Island Continent.  Photos – Eamon Donnelly.

I tell ya what. You really have to give credit where credit’s due to people doing things properly.

I received an email from Melbourne illustrator and designer Eamon Donnelly this week, whose work I have admired for a long time.  Eamon (sometimes he’s called Eamo, I don’t know what the rules are here… I’m sticking with Eamon?!) has a thing for Australiana – his hyper-detailed, technicolour illustrations depict a cast of uniquely Australian characters and nostalgic cultural observations, from surf culture, to sport, to snags on the barbie.  His seriously impressive client list includes American Airlines, GQ, Men’s Health, Monument, Mountain Dew, Poketo, Playboy, Redbull, RipCurl, Rolling Stone and many MANY more.

Aside from being one of Melbourne’s busiest commercial illustrators, Eamon has also been plugging away for the past year on a project very close to his heart.  And this is where I get to the part about doing things properly.  The Island Continent officially launched this week after 12 months in development – it is quite AMAZING.

Part design studio, part online image archive, and part online shop, The Island Continent combines Eamon’s passion for Australian iconography, and nostalgia for his childhood years – the 80’s. Eamon has spent the last decade stockpiling an incredible archive of the Australian image – books, commercials, TV documentaries (in their original VHS and Beta formats) design, photography, packaging and memorabilia.  The Island Content presents a digital archive of these treasures, a dense resource which will continue to grow over time, with the simple goal of sharing and celebrating our unique, and at times cringeworthy cultural quirks!

The Island Continent also features stories and interviews with the great Australian creatives who have influenced Eamon’s own work growing up – one particularly touching article is Eamon’s feature on photographer Angus O’Callaghan, now in his 90’s, who created an incredible archive of photographs of Melbourne in the 1960’s.  Another highlight of the website are Eamon’s own photo essays documenting some of Australia’s most timewarped holiday spots – Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, The Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas , and of course all those oversized fruit dotted along the road between here and Far North Queensland!

A road trip taking in Australia’s iconic ‘Big Things’, as seen on The Island Continent.  Photos – Eamon Donnelly.

The Island Continent is WELL worth a visit if you grew up in Australia in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s.  I guarantee Eamon will have you reminiscing in no time about your sun kissed childhood holidays spent slurping on icy poles in backyard swimming pools, attempting aerobics Oz Style in your TV room, or, in my case, drinking lemon cordial from aluminium tumblers with my Nanna and Poppa at West Beach Caravan Park :)

There’s also an excellent online shop attached where you can pick up a range of Eamon’s stunning fine art prints, or check out his new 100 page self published book documenting another great Australian tradition – the corner Milk Bar!

TOP WORK Mr Donnelly.

‘Studies in Broadcast Colour’ by Eamon Donnelly – fine art prints, available to buy in the Island Continent online shop.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Thursday 18th October 2012


  • Laura 4 years ago

    Extreme goodness!!

  • Saskia 4 years ago

    Have always loved Eamo’s illustrations. This website is incredible. Fantastic seeing Australia’s Big Things recorded for posterity. There will be some furious pinning around Melbourne this morning!

  • librarygirl 4 years ago

    Amazing! thanks for posting about this: fabulously nostalgic for me, born in the 60s.

  • Elizabeth Geddes 4 years ago

    Oh yes I remember his broadcast colour prints you featured a while back. The man so gets colour doesn’t he!

  • Dani 4 years ago

    This is fair dinkum good hey. On ya ED. Looks great. Pretty keen to get my hands on a copy of my very own Milkbar Vol 1 asap!

  • Cathg1g2 4 years ago

    Memories of the Big Pineapple…tragic but so much fun.
    Love how he has captured the colour and essence of those carefree summer days. Thank you

  • Natalie 4 years ago

    You had me at Aerobics Oz Style…This is amazing!

  • Stephanie Gall 4 years ago

    As soon as I clicked through to the website I was instantly transported – i love aussie stuff like this!
    Totally remember a clown swing like that in a park in Bright!

  • ESZ 4 years ago

    Oh this is great! My childhood memories include crashing surf and cold waves – my parents were big on surf and rock fishing and we were always trekking to remote places in West Australia to find the best catch.

    On looking at the bogan shuffle, it reminds me of one of my workmates from my last job – she published a book called Rage, A Sharpies Journal – a story based on her early teens as a Sharpie. I didn’t even know this part of Melbourne existed (not having grown up here) and found it fascinating. It would be a cool sub culture to cover for the Island Continent website :-D

  • Kate Paneros 4 years ago

    I definitely need to own a copy of the Milkbar book! I launched a similar project earlier this week, looking at Aussie letterboxes. More culture than a tub of yoghurt in Oz!

  • Vanessa 4 years ago

    Flipping amazing! Love it!

  • Renae Smith 4 years ago

    Stack Hats, VHS Stills, the Big Prawn ahh the memories!!!! Love this site. Thanks for featuring Lucy. Eamon your a genius!

  • So much to love! Amazing.

  • Amanda Henderson 4 years ago

    Amazing work from a really great person – he was a speaker at AGideas with me in 2010 and was fabulous.

  • FLYERVERTEILER 4 years ago

    AMAZING! My favourite book is The Australian Ugliness by Robin Boyd from 1960. A must read for anyone interested in Australian architecture. x

  • megan 4 years ago

    this is actually fantastic. sooo sooo great. from one pineapple lover to another.

  • Ingrid 4 years ago

    Great to know about this- it’s time for an Australiana revival!

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