State Library of NSW
Cabbage trees near the Shoalhaven River, New South Wales1860
This view is of the forest at Brandy and Water Creek, with Mount Kembla in the left-hand corner. Eugene von Guérard captures the dominating presence of the forest, with the density and lushness of the untouched forest contrasting with the impact of man on the landscape. Through the botanical details and scale of the landscape von Guérard is making a statement about the glory of the natural environment.
By the late 19th century most of the forest had been cleared and the giant 80-foot cabbage tree palms, eucalypts and ancient fig trees had been felled to make room for coal mining and farming. Here a road has been cleared, trees felled and a group of people can be seen near a fire.
Sir Edward Macarthur took this painting to be exhibited at the London International Exhibition of 1862.