SKU SF000787 Category


Engraving. Portrait, 315mm x 240mm. Paris, circa 1824. A portrait of Gnoug-a Gnoug-a (Gnung-a Gnung-a Murremurgan), called “Collins” by the English colonists after he swapped names with the Judge Advocate General.

In 1792, Gnung-a Gnung-a sailed with the DAEDALUS, a supply ship attached to Vancouver’s voyage of discovery in the northern Pacific, and thus became the first aborigine to travel to America. He visited Norfolk Island, Nootka Sound, and Hawaii, where, incredibly, King Kamehameha unsuccessfully offered to buy the good natured and popular visitor. The recent State Library of New South Wales exhibition on the Eora noted that Gnung-a Gnung-a married Bennelong’s ‘pretty sister, Warreeweer’ and that in December 1795 he was badly injured after a fight with the great warrior Pemulwuy. He survived, but was found dead behind the Dry Store (the present Sirius Park, near Bridge Street) in January 1809.

He features heavily in Collins’ account of the colony, and it is evident that the two men were very fond of each other. For his part, Collins wrote that Gnung-a Gnung-a was, ‘much esteemed by every white man who knew him, as well on account of his personal bravery, of which we had witnessed many distinguishing proofs, as on account of a gentleness of manners which strongly marked his disposition.’ This portrait of Gnoung-a Gnoung-a comes from the atlas of the second edition of the Baudin voyage; the table of contents confirms that he was from Port Jackson.

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Nicholas Martin Petit


Ink, Paper