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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.

Captain John Hunter, 1801

William Ridley (engraver)

engraving on paper (sheet: 23.2 cm x 14.3 cm, image: 10.5 cm x 8.5 cm)

More images of this artwork

John Hunter (1737-1821), naval officer and governor, came to Sydney as second captain of the Sirius, the flagship of the First Fleet. An accomplished officer, Hunter stayed for four years during which he surveyed Port Jackson, Norfolk Island and the bays and rivers around Sydney. He spent three years back in England before being appointed Arthur Phillip's successor as governor. By the time Hunter returned in 1795, many of the principles established by his predecessor had unravelled under the administration of the New South Wales Corps. Hunter struggled to curb the trade in rum and the 'shameful excesses' it created. But he is also remembered for the significant explorations he instigated or conducted himself during his four-year term as governor. A typical man of the scientific Enlightenment, Hunter was skilled in navigation, astronomy, art, botany and writing. His precise observations of Sydney's topography and people remain among the most important documents of the early years of the British in Australia.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010

Accession number: 2010.59

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

William Ridley (age 37 in 1801)

Captain John Hunter (age 64 in 1801)

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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.

Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats, 1790 Robert Dodd
Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats, 1790 Robert Dodd
Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats, 1790 Robert Dodd
Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats, 1790 Robert Dodd

South-bound and down

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2013

Joanna Gilmour recounts the story of ill-fated sea voyages in the early stages of the Antipodean colony.

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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.