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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.

Lieutenant Shortland

1789
S Shelley (artist) and W Sherwin (engraver)

engraving on paper (sheet: 28.1 cm x 20.3 cm, plate-mark: 25.0 cm x 19.0 cm, image: 9.2 cm x 7.2 cm)

John Shortland (1739-1803), naval officer, was a member of a family of which six members were associated with the colonisation of Australia and New Zealand. After naval service in Newfoundland and the West Indies, he was promoted to lieutenant in 1763 and engaged in transport between England and America. Having commanded transports to Gibraltar, in 1786 he was appointed naval agent to the transports of the First Fleet, overseeing and executing all the contracts for transport. Not only did he command all the masters of these ships, he directed the accommodation of the soldiers and convicts on the journey. 'A large part of the credit for the success of this voyage was due to the vigilance and efficiency with which Shortland discharged his responsibilities', writes his biographer Arthur McMartin. Shortland's squadron of transports was the first to reach Botany Bay; he stayed at Port Jackson until July, when he sailed home on the Alexander with Arthur Phillip's first dispatches. On the way he charted many islands and reefs; the voyage of Flinders was partly an upshot of his recommendation for a thorough survey of the coast of Australia. Shortland is often confused with his son, also named John, who was also a Lieutenant on the First Fleet and who later discovered the Hunter River.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010

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

S Shelley

W Sherwin

John Shortland (age 50 in 1789)

Subject professions

Military

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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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