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Centre for Art and Travel Workshop: Investigating the Archive - page 8 / 11





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was, I think, remarkable for his inability to censor what he saw.  So while he could represent an Australian dubbed (as slaves were renamed)  'Desmond', in a portrait format more commonly reserved for patrician males in Britain, he also showed the actualities of displacement  - at Bathurst, or the Wellington Valley - which had been opened up for settlement after 1815.  Others were as dispassionate.  Colonel E.C. Frome, in South Australia from 1838, made as careful watercolour of an Aboriginal burial as he did of the hanging of two Aborigines.

The great complexity of British-Aboriginal relations is as apparent from pictorial as from literary documentation.  Andrew Sayers recuperated the work of Aboriginal artists from later in the nineteenth century.  This drawing by a person named Legali offers a precedent.  It was made in the late 1830s on Flinders Island, off the coast of Tasmania, where the last remaining Tasmanian Aborigines were despatched from 1835.  Despite such revisionist historians as Keith Windschuttle, who claim it never happened, the Tasmanian ethnocide resonates in art, for, in Tasmania we do get art in the paintings and drawings of John Glover.  In a drawing travestying the Fall in the Garden of Eden an assertive serpent, draped round a solitary oak in an environment of gums, offers a bottle of grog to two Australians; while The Last Muster of the Aborigines at Risdon of 1835 – the British had first settled at Risdon, across the Derwent from Hobart – Glover represented an impossible pre-settlement imagery.   Equally, in her fine lithograph of 1840, or his near-contemporary watercolour Mary Morton Allport and John Skinner Prout paint Aboriginal scenes when no Aborigine remains on the Tasmanian mainland.

Tasmania makes a telling contrast with New South Wales.  Although a sublime pictorial vocabulary had developed for representing very particular sites in the Blue

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