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Bungaree, Chief of the Broken Bay Tribe, N S Wales, c.1830

Charles Rodius

lithograph (sheet: 29.5 cm x 22.7 cm)

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Bungaree was born around 1775 in Broken Bay, New South Wales and arrived in Sydney in the 1790s. An experienced seafaring Guringai man who lived past middle age, Bungaree was the very first Australian to circumnavigate our country. He achieved this great triumph when he sailed aboard HMS Investigator alongside Matthew Flinders in 1802 and 1803. Bungaree had many wives, one of whom (Cora Gooseberry) is also showcased in this exhibition. Bungaree’s animated and characteristic features were captured in at least eighteen portraits and illustrations. Augustus Earle’s c. 1826 painting of Bungaree, for example, is among the earliest extant Australian oil portraits, and Earle’s lithograph of his painting is regarded as the first printed portrait to have been produced locally. Charles Rodius produced his first portrait of Bungaree in March 1830, only a few months after he had arrived in Sydney. The Sydney Gazette reported of the portrait that ‘we cannot forbear to say [that] it is executed in the most finished style of the art, and is, moreover, as accurate and striking a likeness as we ever saw’; while the Monitor reported that ‘Mr C Rhodius [sic] uses the lithographic Press with great skill. He has executed front and profile likenesses of Bungaree in a most superior style.’

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2018

Accession number: 2018.18

Currently on display: Gallery Three (Robert Oatley Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Charles Rodius (age 28 in 1830)

Bungaree

Subject professions

Exploration and settlement

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