As I’m often thinking about decamping, my stream of consciousness recently led me to John Wolseley.

Wolseley immerses himself into the landscape. He creates incredibly detailed observations of nature in order to understand the big things.

It makes sense that in 2004 he immersed himself in the first book of Australian birds published by John Lewin in 1813 and created this beautiful work.

The drawing plots the extinction of the regent honeyeater.

| John Wolseley, The last journey of the regent honeyeater, 2004, click on image to see larger size |

“In a way for me this image of a bird is an emblem of the mystery and fragility of the Australian bush.”

Here’s a link to a recent article about Wolseley in The Australian.

When I saw this drawing by Mickey of Ulladulla I also thought of Wolseley.

| Mickey of Ulladulla, Yuin/Dhurga peoples, 1888, click on image to see larger size |

Mickey recorded the contemporary life of the region using pencil, watercolours and crayons. Mary Ann Gambell, The wife of the Ulladulla lighthouse keeper, kept him supplied. He produced many of these drawings and they have been tucked away in libraries and museums.

These western style vignettes seem to be pointing to an Aboriginal world on the edge of change.

Julia Ritson

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