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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.

Woureddy [Wurati], a wild native of Brune Island, 1835

Benjamin Duterrau

etching, printed in black ink from one copper plate on paper (sheet: 31.3 cm x 21.9 cm, plate-mark: 27.0 cm x 16.3 cm, image: 27.0 cm x 16.3 cm)

More images of this artwork

Wurati (active 1830s, d. 1842), was a Nuennone man from Bruny Island, a skilled hunter, boat builder and renowned storyteller who spoke five dialects. In 1829 Wurati decided to join the party associated with George Augustus Robinson (1788–1866), a free settler and lay preacher appointed to the position of ‘Conciliator of Aborigines’ so as to effect the removal of Tasmania’s Indigenous people to Flinders Island in Bass Strait. This strategy had been conceived by the colonial government, amidst escalating hostilities, for the supposed protection of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities alike. Accompanied by a group of Aboriginal leaders who acted as his guides and interpreters, Robinson conducted a series of expeditions – collectively known as the Friendly Mission – between 1830 and 1835, during which the surviving tribes were persuaded into exile. Wurati and his second wife, Trukanini, became Robinson’s trusted assistants, yet remained fiercely proud of their traditions and identity. Wurati refused to adopt European diet or dress and maintained traditional practices, such as the use of ochre and grease for his hair and beard, even while at Wybalenna – the mission station on Flinders Island to which over one hundred Tasmanian Aboriginal people were eventually exiled. Many died there while waiting for the fulfilment of the promise that they would be allowed to return to their country. In 1839, Wurati was one of the fourteen Tasmanians who went to Port Phillip following Robinson’s appointment to the position of Chief Protector of Aborigines in the new colony. He died on his return journey to Wybalenna in July 1842.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by the Ian Potter Foundation 2009

Accession number: 2009.2

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Benjamin Duterrau (age 68 in 1835)

Wurati

Subject professions

Indigenous identity

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.

The Conciliation, 1840 by Benjamin Duterrau
The Conciliation, 1840 by Benjamin Duterrau
The Conciliation, 1840 by Benjamin Duterrau
The Conciliation, 1840 by Benjamin Duterrau

The art of conciliation

Magazine article by Gareth Knapman, 2017

Gareth Knapman explores the politics and opportunism behind the portraits of Tasmania’s Black War.

Portrait of Truganini, daughter of the Chief of Bruny Island, Van Diemens Land, c. 1835
Portrait of Truganini, daughter of the Chief of Bruny Island, Van Diemens Land, c. 1835
Portrait of Truganini, daughter of the Chief of Bruny Island, Van Diemens Land, c. 1835
Portrait of Truganini, daughter of the Chief of Bruny Island, Van Diemens Land, c. 1835

Black and white history

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2009

English artist Benjamin Duterrau took up the cause of the Indigenous peoples of Tasmania with his detailed and sympathetic renderings.

Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius
Self portrait, c. 1849 Charles Rodius

Elegance in exile

Portrait drawings from colonial Australia

Previous exhibition, 2012

Elegance in exile is an exhibition surveying the work of Richard Read senior, Thomas Bock, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Charles Rodius: four artists who, though exiled to Australia as convicts, created many of the most significant and elegant portraits of the colonial period.

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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.