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Centre for Art and Travel Workshop: Investigating the Archive - page 5 / 11





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Lawson and Wentworth in 1813.  The surveyor, George William Evans had been sent out to plot a route, and then a party of convicts under the supervision of William Cox laid out a road, and notably, a pass down the western escarpment:  this done, Macquarie with an entourage set off on a grand tour over April and May 1815, the highlight of which was the founding of the town of Bathurst.  John Lewin recorded this tour in a set of presentation watercolours, designed to ornament the diary kept by Macquarie's Aide-de-Camp, Major Henry Colden Antill.  Among other things, Lewin pictures the scenery encountered on the trip, or the moment of the founding of Bathurst with apparent accuracy.  However, his view of Cox's pass is a fiction, driven by the need to represent what this feat of engineering was imagined to be.  Exploration imagery is particularly interesting in many respects, as when Robert Hoddle will matches poses of explorer and Aboriginal guide to hint at their complex relationship in an 1829 view of the Dividing Range which, by his inscribing it 'Sandstone Rocks resembling Castles and Ruins near the Source of the Clyde' raises real questions about the perceptual processes through which the British were able to accommodate these unfamiliar landscapes.  It is likewise with Thomas Scott's Lower Falls on Jones's River VDL of 1823 which combines information-gathering and a classically picturesque view of a waterfall.  Even when things appear straightforward, as with drawings made by Major Mitchell in central New South Wales in the early 1830s, they're not, not least because some of these would be translated into engravings and used to illustrate his published accounts of his explorations.

In 1832 Major Mitchell built Victoria Pass to replace Cox's pass down the Blue Mountains.  Its construction by convicts was recorded by the convict artist, Charles Rodius.  The orthodoxy maintains that convicts are tellingly absent from the artwork,

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