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David Collins Esq
, 1804

by Anthony Cardon (engraver) after John T. Barber

stipple engraving (sheet: 26.8 cm x 20.5 cm)

David Collins (1756–1810) was the first judge of the British colony at New South Wales. Like Phillip, he had served in the war against American Independence. Although mostly occupied in NSW with administering English law to the convicts and officers, Collins also spent time observing the Indigenous locals—especially Bennelong and Colebee. He recorded Bennelong’s relaxed disposition as he boarded the vessel that would take Bennelong and Phillip to Britain in 1792. By the time Bennelong returned with the next governor, John Hunter, in 1795, the colony had, by Collins’s own admission, descended into “open war” with the Indigenous people. Collins was nonetheless surprised that Bennelong chose to leave it entirely after a further few years. “Instead of … shewing the least gratitude for the attentions which he received from every one,” Collins spluttered in disbelief, the Eora man “preferred the rude and dangerous society of his own countrymen.” Collins later served as the first Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s Land. This engraving copies a painting by the London-based miniaturist and entrepreneur John Barber.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2015
Accession number: 2015.108