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Drawing depicting Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines 1816


Drawing depicting Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines 1816

Object information

Physical description

Drawing in Indian ink and watercolour on calendered linen. Series of images in colour creating narrative of colonial inter-racial harmony, telling story of an Aboriginal man spearing a European man with the murderer's subsequent hanging followed by a European man shooting an Aboriginal man with a rifle and that murderer's subsequent hanging. Text in black at top 'GOVERNOR DAVEY'S / PROCLAMATION / TO THE ABORIGINES / 1816' and at the bottom, 'Why - Massa Gubernor' - said Black Jack - 'You Profla- / mation all gammon, how blackfellow read him? - eh! He no / read him book.' 'Read that then," said the Governor, point- / ing to a picture.' Small partial drawing in ink outside frame of narrative on outermost edge at bottom left hand corner (possible human figure).

Statement of significance

The object is a calendered fabric poster, dating from 1866 or 1867, titled Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1816. The hand coloured lithograph is based on the original oil-painted wooden boards designed by George Frankland in 1829, under the authority of Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur. The poster, one of a series, was presented as a curiosity and used as an advertisement for the newly born colony of Tasmania.

The original boards, on which the lithograph is modelled, were issued during the administration of Governor Arthur and designed by George Frankland in 1829, as part of the so-called 'Black War' when hostility between Tasmania's Indigenous population and colonists escalated. The lithograph posters were initially printed in a run of 500 for the 1866 Melbourne International Exhibition. They were produced by the office of the Surveyor-General in Tasmania and distributed as a souvenir to attract visitors to the Tasmanian stall. A second print run is thought to have been made as the lithographs were also used at the 1867 Paris Universal Exhibition. The lithograph posters were incorrectly titled 'Governor Davey's Proclamation to the Aborigines, 1815'.

Object information

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