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Punch, wife of Cullabaa, Broken Bay tribe
, 1836

by William Fernyhough

lithograph on paper (sheet: 26.7 cm x 18.9 cm)

More images of this artwork

The term ‘Broken Bay Tribe’ was used by European settlers to describe people from clans to the north of Port Jackson who spoke a common language, Kuringgai or Guringai. Kuringgai-speaking clans around the vicinity of Broken Bay and Pittwater included the Carigal, Erina, Narara,Terrigal and Wyong. In the decades after colonisation, as many Aboriginal people died of introduced diseases, some of these people joined other, Darug-speaking people from the south in camps around the growing settlement of Sydney. William Fernyhough (1809–1849), silhouette artist, lithographer and draughtsman, began working at JG Austin’s printing firm in 1836. His first production for Austin was a series titled Twelve Profile Portraits of the Aborigines of New South Wales, which included portraits of Punch, Cora Gooseberry and Cora’s husband, Bungaree – all from the north. The series was released as a set in 1836 and remained in print until the 1840s. It was suggested that it would make ‘a pretty present to friends in England as characteristic of this country’. The historian Richard Neville has observed that the silhouettes were not intended as caricatures; rather, these supposedly faithful likenesses would allow English buyers, in particular, to examine the portrayed individuals in the light of current phrenological and physiological theories.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Dr Robert Edwards AO 1999
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 1999.23.5