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"The Governor making the best of his way to the Boat after being wounded with the spear sticking in his Shoulder"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [ca. 1790?]
Dimensions: 27.4 x 45.1 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 23

 

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The drawing represents an encounter between British colonists and Australian aborigines at Manly Cove on 7th September 1790, when Governor Arthur Phillip was wounded with a spear. The incident is depicted as if seen from the open sea looking inland, so that the figures are very small. The bay forms a semi-circle with a sandy beach containing several camp fires backed by dense woodland, flanked to left and right by rocky headlands. A red and white rowing boat containing six Colonists is depicted just off-shore, alongside a grey shape which is presumably the beached whale. Several of the colonists are depicted towards the centre of the beach, including Phillip standing alone with the spear embedded in his shoulder, while to the right another figure discharges a musket. Thirty-five Aborigines are depicted running and hiding amongst the trees. The sea reflects the colours of the sky and is represented by a gradated wash of blue with a band of yellow, and overlaid in the foreground by grey horizontal lines. The drawing is framed by a single-banded ink border, and annotated in brown ink in a panel below the drawing.

 

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