hand coloured pigment print on cotton rag paper
70.5 x 139 cm, framed
edition of 8 + 2AP
Lycett, Joseph, (1774 -1825): [Aborigine climbing a tree by cutting steps in the trunk], 27.6 cm x 17.7 cm, water colour, 1820
Augustus Earl, (1793 -1838): Government House Part of the Town of Sydney, coloured lithograph, 1830
Collen Morris: Lost Gardens of Sydney, Sydney Living Museums, 2008
Note on the far left, the branches of a Norfolk Island Pine and the Kangaroos at leisure. “…around it grew noble trees, both European and Colonial, the English oak in its early spring garb of yellow green being here and there overtopped by the grand and more sombre Norfolk Island pine.” So wrote Louisa Anne Meredith (1812 – 1895) writer and illustrator of the garden at the first Government House in Sydney.
The first formal Australian colonial gardens were more factories for food production than vehicles of recreation. Ross has flipped the early and rare view by Augustus Earl – of a young couple taking the air in a decorative park- and overlayed the leisured couple with a plantation air & ballooned frivolity. The Aboriginal man, hunting for food; the convict rolling a gravelled path and another convict sweeping; the surveillance camera; the chimney billowing smoke [sans in the original] speak of those that do and are watched, while an elite stroll.