After nearly ten years working and at times just surviving in England, Streeton arrived back in Australia for a year soujourn. Exhibiting in Melbourne and Sydney, the exhibitions were filled with images of England, alongside some of his most important views of both Sydney Harbour and the Victorian countryside.
"Streeton arrived in Melbourne in November 1906 and received a hero's welcome. When interviewed by the press he remarked: 'Every man has to undergo an apprenticeship in London. I don't care who he is'. Streeton re-established contact with his friends and patrons such as the Baldwin Spencers, Pinschofs, Meyers and Springthorpes and was entertained on a grand scale" (G Smith, Arthur Streeton 1867-1943, Melbourne, 1995, p.133)
It was at the home of the Austrian Consul-General Mr Pinschof and his wife at Hohewarte, Mount Macedon that Mount Toorong (Mount Towrong, Macedon) was conceived. Streeton describing the experience of this elevated residence, wrote in a letter to Theodore Fink "I've had a fine time up here, plenty of fresh-air, & lovely Victorian landscape pale simphonies in purple blue & gold - " (A Galbally & A Gray (ed), Letters from Smike, Melbourne, 1989, p.104). The expanse of the landscape and the beautiful clear light must have come as a delight to Streeton after the foggy dull light of the Docklands in Southampton and Liverpool, where he spent sometime completing commissioned work for Walter Rea.
Streeton painted many scenes in various scales on his stay at Mt Macedon, including the large impressive oil, Australia Felix, which is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. But unlike other views of this area, Mount Toorong has strong stylistic references to his earlier works. The bold chiselled brush technique, by now his trademark, makes up the expansive sky and clouds. The foreground with its foreboding dark passages, which at times appears quite abstract and loose, drags the viewers eye from left to right, zig-zagging through the surroundings. The rich colour passages found within the darker areas of paint highlight the optimism that Streeton must have been feeling being away from chilly London and thinking of his approaching marriage the following year.
As noted by writer Elwyn Lynn: 'Streeton subdued his sense of the transitoriness of life; man is nowhere to be seen amid these beautifully casual rhythms, but a suggestion of a symbolic hope is conveyed in the distant golden hills' (E Lynn, The Australian Landscape and its Artists, Sydney, 1977, p.68)