Circa 1840

SKU SF001448 Category


Parramatta was founded in 1788, the same year as Sydney. The British colonists had only enough food to support themselves for a short time and the soil around Sydney Cove proved too poor to grow the amount of food that 1000 convicts, soldiers and administrators needed to survive. Governor Arthur Phillip chose Parramatta as the most likely place for a successful large farm as it was the furthest navigable point inland on the Parramatta River and also the point at which the river became freshwater and therefore useful for farming.

In 1789, Phillip granted a convict named James Ruse, the land of Experiment Farm at Parramatta on the condition that he develop a viable agriculture. There, Ruse became the first European person to successfully grow grain in Australia. The Parramatta area was also where the Australian wool industry began, pioneered by John Macarthur’s Elizabeth Farm in the 1790s.

John and James Clarke were brothers both of whom achieved a certain reputation as painters of Australian scenes. John is thought to have come out from England in Harvey, a 300-tonne ship captained by Daniel Peach, which arrived in Hobart Town on 2 May 1825 ‘in deplorable condition, her fine and valuable cargo ruined’ due to being detained a month by bad weather. On 1 June 1825, Harvey arrived in Sydney, where Clarke apparently remained.

Additional information



John Clarke


Paper, Watercolour