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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.

Rhys Jones

1991
Rhodri G. Davies

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 45.7 cm x 30.3 cm, image: 45.7 cm x 30.3 cm)

Rhys Maengwyn Jones (1941-2001), archaeologist and academic, grew up in Wales and studied at Cambridge before taking up an appointment at the University of Sydney in 1963. Five years later he moved to the Australian National University, where he was to remain until 2001, holding a personal chair from 1993. Although he worked with DJ Mulvaney and Jim Bowler at the profoundly significant site of Lake Mungo in the late 1960s, he is best known for his research in Tasmania, which put paid to myths about separate origins for Tasmanian and mainland Aborigines. In 1977 he collaborated with filmmaker Tom Haydon on the documentary The Last Tasmanian, which, though controversial, emphasised the genocidal brutality of colonists toward the Indigenous Tasmanians. From the early 1970s he studied (with Betty Meehan) the Anbarra people of Arnhem Land, writing on a host of topics including hunting techniques, watercraft, colour concepts, Indigenous science and traditional uses of fire in land management (‘cleaning up country’). Jones has been credited with a vital role in raising national consciousness of the antiquity of Indigenous populations, the complexity and sophistication of their adaptation to the Australian continent and the tragedy of their displacement. A quotation from an article by Jones accompanies Janet Laurence’s and Fiona Foley’s sculptural installation The Edge of the Trees outside the Museum of Sydney: ‘The discoverers struggling through the surf were met on the beach by other people looking at them from the edge of the trees. Thus the same landscape perceived by the newcomers as alien, hostile or having no coherent form, was to the Indigenous people their home, a familiar place, the inspiration of dreams.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Betty Meehan 2013
© Rhodri Glyn Davies

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

Rhodri G. Davies

Rhys Maengwyn Jones (age 50 in 1991)

Subject professions

Education and research

Donated by

Betty Meehan (1 portrait)

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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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