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National Museum of Australia

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4

Nursing sister holding child

1988.0099.0002.002

Nursing sister holding child

Object information

Physical description

35mm Kodachrome transparency in a cardboard mount. The image depicts Alblert Namatjira and Dr B Welton shaking hands. A nursing sister holding child looks on. '17.1.56'.

Statement of significance

The Ken Welton Collection consists of a framed and mounted watercolour by renowned Aboriginal artist, Albert Namatjira. The painting depicts a Central Australian landscape with two ghost gums in the left foreground. Mounted in a cream coloured frame, the painting has a small, engraved metal plaque which states: ?Presented to DR. B.E.WELTON/ BY ALBERT NAMATJIRA / IN APPRECIATION OF HIS SERVICES / TO THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE OF THE CENTRE". This collection also includes several photographic slides recording the presentation, as well as of family and local Aboriginal people taken by Dr Welton during his period of service in Alice Springs.

The watercolour works of Albert Namatjira (1902-1959), Australia?s first nationally and internationally recognized Aboriginal artist, were among the first to break away from the traditional art of his people. Painted in European style, Namatjira?s exceptional watercolours of his ancestral landscapes generated both fame and controversy. Namatjira?s remarkable artistic ability was equalled by his ability to teach and to pass on his skills to family members and others of his Western Aranda tribal group. According to a report by the Alice Springs Town Council in 2010, Doctor Bertram (Bert) Welton served as superintendent of Alice Springs Hospital from 1948-1955. A former Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps during WWII, Dr Welton took part in the historic D-Day landing in Normandy and was present when British forces entered Belsen concentration camp. Sister Ellen Kettle MBE, in ?Gone Bush?, wrote that Dr Welton?s dedication to health service delivery to Aboriginal people in Central Australia was ?legendary?. The report states that Dr Welton later became Chief Medical Officer at Australia House, London, and, on retirement, was Deputy Director General of the Commonwealth Health Service. The painting was presented by to Dr Welton by Albert Namatjira on 17 January 1956, in appreciation of his services to the Aboriginal people of Central Australia.

Object information

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