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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Edward John Eyre

1867
Julia Margaret Cameron

albumen silver photograph on paper (mount: 54.5 cm x 42.0 cm, image: 29.6 cm x 24.2 cm)

Edward John Eyre (1815–1901), explorer, emigrated to New South Wales from England in 1833, when he was seventeen. He acquired land and became involved in overlanding livestock before settling in South Australia in 1839. In May of that year, he set out on an expedition that took him to the Spencer Gulf and towards the Flinders Ranges. He then went to Port Lincoln and traversed the peninsula that now bears his name, returning via the Gawler Ranges and Lake Torrens. In January 1840 he learned of a planned expedition to find an overland route to the west. Eyre persuaded the organisers to refocus the expedition on the north, agreeing to pay for half of this bid to ‘discover the inland of Australia’. He departed Adelaide again in June 1840 and proceeded to his depot at Mount Arden, at the head of the Spencer Gulf. Eyre’s various attempts to continue north in search of fertile land were thwarted by vast expanses of salt lakes. He made it north east to a rise he named Mount Hopeless, in the Flinders Ranges, before returning to the depot. He then decided to head west across the Bight with a party comprising his assistant, John Baxter, and three Aboriginal men. Several gruelling months into the trip, Baxter was killed and two of the other members of the party disappeared. Eyre and his remaining Aboriginal colleague, Wylie, staggered into Albany on 7 July 1841. Six years later Eyre was rewarded for the journey with the Founder’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1844, after having served as Protector of Aborigines in South Australia, he sailed home. His career ended contentiously in Jamaica in 1865 after he had violently quelled what he perceived as a coming rebellion. He was exonerated by a Royal Commission, but a welter of court proceedings ensued in England, with a register of the eminent persons of the day taking sides for and against his actions. For the last twenty-five years of his life Eyre lived on a pension in seclusion with his family near Tavistock, England.

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) is considered one of the nineteenth century’s pre-eminent photographers. A mother of six, Cameron took up photography at age forty-eight after receiving a camera as a gift. Largely self-taught, she converted a chicken coop into a studio and between 1864 and 1875 produced images that explored the ‘high art’ possibilities of a mechanical medium. Cameron employed her family, friends and acquaintances as models, but is best known for having created portraits of Victorian luminaries, including Charles Darwin, Alfred Tennyson and John Herschel.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Presented by Sir Roy Strong and the late Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman in memory of their friendship with Gordon Darling and Marilyn Darling 2006

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Julia Margaret Cameron (age 52 in 1867)

Edward John Eyre (age 52 in 1867)

Donated by

Sir Roy Strong (1 portrait)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

L. Gordon Darling AC CMG
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG
L. Gordon Darling AC CMG

Portrait of a patron

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2007

A new painting by Jiawei Shen captures the vision and resolve of the Gallery's founder, L. Gordon Darling AC CMG.

Edward John Eyre
Edward John Eyre
Edward John Eyre
Edward John Eyre

Hearts of Darkness

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2006

The National Portrait Gallery's acquisition of the portrait of Edward John Eyre by pioneering English photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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