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The first known view of Europeans living in Victoria, Australia. The scene is on the western side of Phillip Island, Western Port. A group of four European sealers are carrying a seal to a substantial bark hut. In front of the hut is an aboriginal woman and another European man, their larder hanging in bags from two forked sticks and a cross beam serving as the gambrel to skin the seals. Both groups accompanied by kangaroo hunting dogs.

Drawn by Louis de Sainson who was the voyage artist on the French exploring expedition commanded by Dumont d'Urville between the years 1826-29. This was d'Urville's second voyage to the Pacific in the same ship. On an earlier voyage, the ship was named LA COQUILLE but on this second voyage, was renamed ASTROLABE in honour of the lost French explorer La Perouse whose ship was ASTROLABE. He was a career draftsman in the French navy and created hundreds of pictures which were used to illustrate the account of the voyage which was published between 1832-34. They spent a considerable time in Western Port.

Contemporary accounts of the sealers make mention that the Bass Strait sealers, in the main escaped convicts from Tasmania, captured aboriginal woman and forced them into domestic roles, the truth of which is starkly illustrated in this view.

A significant view, being important for being the first visual record of settlement and for illustrating the set-up of a sealing camp in the early nineteenth century.



Later hand-colour.

232 x 324 mm. (Between ruled lines.)

Good condition.


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