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In any event, Australian Colonial art was created either by British immigrant artists, or by their sons and daughters, most of whom used French Painting , or English Landscape Painting as the basis for their own works. Watercolours were more common, if only because oils required more resources, but as one might expect, Australia had few art collectors , and commercial opportunities for visual artists , outside education, were almost non-existent.

Sadly, despite the traditions of Australian Aboriginal art , 19th century colonial artists had no contact with the indigenous art of the Aborigines, either on the seaboard, or in the interior. In comparison, although American Colonial Art c. Watercolour, gouache, pencil on paper. By Thomas Griffiths Wainewright.


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Society and Culture in Australia. Shaped by a hostile physical environment, the social and cultural atmosphere in lateth and 19th century Australia was bleak. In general, neither painting nor sculpture was seen as important or even relevant.

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Australia was founded for a variety of motives. One of them was to forestall the French and another was to get rid of a surplus of felons who could no longer be exported to North America. The earliest settlements, therefore, were convict settlements, at Sydney in New South Wales and at Hobart in Tasmania, or Van Diemen's Land as it was first known, both ports destined to become famous in maritime history.

Australian Aboriginal Documentary - First Australians They Have Come To Stay Episode 1

So first came the convicts and those who ruled them in what was in the beginning a tight military dictatorship. From the earliest years, however, there were free settlers who came in increasing numbers with post-Napoleonic depression at home and the inducement of an often reluctant relaxation of official sanctions on settlement and commerce in Australia. In the old Colonies of New South Wales and Tasmania there grew up microcosms of an English Georgian society with soldiers and squires, Anglican parsons and merchants as the dominant class; radical newspaper publishers, often at odds with the Establishment, as the representatives of an emergent order; and, at the bottom, the convicts who, if they survived to freedom, found their place in a society certainly not less favourable than that which was coming into being in their homelands.

Thus while the Industrial Revolution proceeded to change the face of England there developed in Australia plantations of England which maintained the characteristics already under threat in the society which had given them birth. A modified Georgian architecture persisted in these outposts long after the Georgian era had ended and although these enclaves have been overwhelmed, some of the harshness and sardonic attitudes of Australian life may reasonably be deemed to derive directly from a Georgian England unmodified by the middle-class mores of the Victorian period in Britain.

Migrants to Australia. To us today to whom, even now, a journey from England to Australia seems formidable, though it is fast and without hazard, it is strange that so many people in the early 19th century were not only willing but eager to make the voyage of 12, miles from Britain to Australia, to an unknown land which they would probably never leave and whose perils and satisfactions alike they could only guess at. Yet thousands did. Many perished on then uncharted coasts.

But those who reached harbour set to work to create an image of their homelands. Most were poor, younger sons of yeomen and the like, and had little beyond energy and hope; some, surprisingly, were quite affluent and willing to chance all.

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Convict labour made possible the public works - the administrative buildings, the roads, hospitals and of course gaols and provided "assigned" service on the farms. The Colonists raised Government buildings and houses in the Georgian manner, planted oaks and elms and willows and hedges of hawthorn and briar, surrounded their houses with fruits and flowers. The world went very well for many of them. By process of migration within Australia and from abroad other colonies such as Victoria and South Australia came into being which had never known the convict system.

Transportation to New South Wales was abolished in and ceased in Tasmania in Urban Culture After the Gold Rush. But there were to be other profound modifications. The great gold discoveries, firstly in New South Wales but more importantly in Victoria in the 's, following hard upon those in California in '49, brought vast tides of migration to Australia, transformed the economy of Victoria in particular and raised Melbourne from pastoral hamlet to the beginnings of the world city which it has become. The settlers who remained when the impetus of the Gold Rush had spent itself were of a different kind from their predecessors.

They came from Victorian, not Georgian, Britain. In time this influence spread to the other settlements. Today, although certain characteristics are still to be found which seem to belong peculiarly to New South Wales and Tasmania, a general Australian amalgam has been achieved and those who cherish the Georgian legacy are put to as much pains to preserve it as are their equivalents in the British homeland.

All this, then, may be read in the art of the Australian Colonial period. We have first the work of the amateurs who practised sketching and watercolour painting as accomplishments proper to men of taste, and of convict craftsmen, as we might call them today with our careful distinctions between fine and useful or commercial arts. And we have, secondly, with the Gold Rush and the emergence of an urban culture, the recorders of popular life or the town scene, sometimes, like S. Gill, with a certain earthy carryover of toughness from the time of Rowlandson.

These artists have one thing in common - they are all "colonial" in the sense that they came as colonists from the homeland, whether voluntarily or otherwise, and they brought, as we might say, a "packaged" culture with them, modified sometimes by the new environment but sometimes not at all.

Smallpox epidemic

After them, with an odd transitional figure or two, came the native born and a new story. Colonial Painting in Tasmania. To go back to the first comers, the most interesting in many ways is John Glover Glover was a successful English artist and teacher of landscape painting. It seems to us a curious thing to do; but, after all, there was a depression at home and it must be realised that life in the Tasmanian countryside was very little different from life in the English countryside, for this lush green island when planted with English trees becomes in almost every way a replica of "home", and "home" was to be, for many decades, a recurrent word in Australian conversation.

At any rate Glover set himself up as a country gentleman and as a painter with a town house. He was a sympathetic and conscientious painter, becoming one of the best landscape artists in nineteenth century Australia. Unlike some visitors to the southern hemisphere to whom all aboriginal peoples looked like Europeans darkened with burnt cork and all trees were European trees, Glover realised that Australian eucalyptus trees, in particular, were fundamentally different from English trees. Necessarily he did not have the peculiar vision of the later coming Australian Impressionists - he would have had to be out of his time to do so, as well as out of his very English island.

Now it seems a kind of Arcadian period, despite its darker under-side. Glover apparently had no regrets in having left the world of Claude Lorrain whom he so greatly admired. It is pleasant to think that he was so successful in making his accommodation to his new world, in recreating the things he loved, and that he lived out his days in peaceful fulfilment.

No doubt Glover's influence was considerable.

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Among the talented amateurs of his circle were such watercolourists of charm as F. Simpkinson , or Simpkinson de Wesselow as he called himself, a nephew of Lady Franklin, wife of the Arctic explorer, then Governor of Tasmania.

Women settlers

De Wesselow was a naval man and a friend of various artists, including JMW Turner ; so more things than wheat and adzes, millstones and ploughshares, had been taken to Van Diemen's Land. In this still-Georgian society with its ringleted misses at their sketching and their music, its balls to the music of the regimental bands, there was much that was agreeable to the privileged; and much that was no doubt compensation to those who had emerged from the fetters of convictism.

Of these latter many prospered materially; the artists and craftsmen among them were less fortunate than the rest and many perished in a taproom obscurity as did others later who were not convicts. Most romantic interest attaches to Thomas Griffiths Wainewright , the forger and supposed poisoner, friend of Charles Lamb and others.

Prisoners and abandoned children had live smallpox virus, in the form of pus, inserted under their skin. They survived and several months later were exposed to the disease, which none of them contracted. In April , 15 months after the First Fleet arrived to establish a penal colony in NSW, a major smallpox epidemic broke out.

The outbreak did not affect the British colonists, most of whom had been exposed to the disease during their infancy. Without previous exposure to the smallpox virus, Aboriginal people had no resistance, and up to 70 per cent were killed by the disease. The question of how smallpox appeared among the local Indigenous groups was settled to the satisfaction of the early settlers by blaming the French.

At least one of their company died during this period and was buried on the shore of the bay. However, had the French infected the local population, the outbreak would have started in the early months of , not more than a year later. However, given the relatively high population densities required for the disease to spread, and the fact that those infected quickly become incapable of walking, any such outbreak is unlikely to have spread across the desert trade routes.

White intended to use it to variolate any children born in the settlement. Research in the s has shown that the smallpox virus withstands a wide range of temperatures and humidity and remains viable over many years. How this material could have infected the local tribes is unknown. The appalling devastation it wrought probably silenced anyone in the colony who might have known.

Smallpox spread across the country with the advance of European settlement, bringing with it shocking death rates. The disease affected entire generations of the Indigenous population and survivors were in many cases left without family or community leaders.

No cure for smallpox has ever been found, but in the English doctor Edward Jenner decided to test the countryside belief that milkmaids who had contracted the relatively mild disease, cowpox, were immune to smallpox. However, smallpox continued to flourish around the world, particularly in poorer countries without access to the vaccine.

It was only in that the World Health Organization WHO eradicated smallpox in what is widely held to be the greatest public health achievement in the history of the world. The National Museum of Australia acknowledges First Australians and recognises their continuous connection to country, community and culture. Defining Moments Smallpox epidemic. National Museum of Australia. The foundation of South Australia is now generally commemorated as Governor John Hindmarsh 's Proclamation of the new Province at Glenelg , on the mainland, on 28 December Land development and settlement was the basis of the Wakefield vision, so land law and regulations governing it were fundamental to the foundation of the Province and allowed for land to be bought at a uniform price per acre regardless of quality , with auctions for land desired by more than one buyer, and leases made available on unused land.

Proceeds from land were to fund the Emigration Fund to assist poor settlers to come as tradesmen and labourers. By the colony was experimenting with a partially elected council.

In —99 George Bass and Matthew Flinders set out from Sydney in a sloop and circumnavigated Tasmania , thus proving it to be an island. Aboard ship was the Aboriginal explorer Bungaree , of the Sydney district, who became the first person born on the Australian continent to circumnavigate the Australian continent. In , Gregory Blaxland , William Lawson and William Wentworth succeeded in crossing the formidable barrier of forested gulleys and sheer cliffs presented by the Blue Mountains , west of Sydney.

At Mount Blaxland they looked out over "enough grass to support the stock of the colony for thirty years", and expansion of the British settlement into the interior could begin. In the Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane , commissioned Hamilton Hume and former Royal Navy Captain William Hovell to lead an expedition to find new grazing land in the south of the colony, and also to find an answer to the mystery of where New South Wales' western rivers flowed. Over 16 weeks in —25, Hume and Hovell journeyed to Port Phillip and back.

They made many important discoveries including the Murray River which they named the Hume , many of its tributaries, and good agricultural and grazing lands between Gunning, New South Wales and Corio Bay , Port Phillip. A theory had developed that the inland rivers of New South Wales were draining into an inland sea. Leading a second expedition in , Sturt followed the Murrumbidgee River into a 'broad and noble river', the Murray River, which he named after Sir George Murray, secretary of state for the colonies.

His party then followed this river to its junction with the Darling River , facing two threatening encounters with local Aboriginal people along the way. Sturt continued down river on to Lake Alexandrina , where the Murray meets the sea in South Australia. Suffering greatly, the party had to row hundreds of kilometres back upstream for the return journey. Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell conducted a series of expeditions from the s to 'fill in the gaps' left by these previous expeditions. He was meticulous in seeking to record the original Aboriginal place names around the colony, for which reason the majority of place names to this day retain their Aboriginal titles.

European explorers made their last great, often arduous and sometimes tragic expeditions into the interior of Australia during the second half of the 19th century—some with the official sponsorship of the colonial authorities and others commissioned by private investors. By , large areas of the inland were still unknown to Europeans.

Trailblazers like Edmund Kennedy and the Prussian naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt , had met tragic ends attempting to fill in the gaps during the s, but explorers remained ambitious to discover new lands for agriculture or answer scientific enquiries. Surveyors also acted as explorers and the colonies sent out expeditions to discover the best routes for lines of communication.