George Augustus Robinson1853

by Attributed to Bernardino Giani

George Augustus Robinson is a controversial figure in Australian history, having spent 20 years as the leading public servant positioned to directly affect the lives and cultures of Indigenous Australians.

He was an English builder with strong religious conviction who arrived in Tasmania in 1824. He became ‘Protector of Aborigines’ in 1829 and was responsible for the removal of Aboriginal Tasmanians to islands in Bass Strait. 

He later became ‘Chief Protector of Aborigines’ in Victoria from 1839 to 1849. Robinson returned to England in 1852 and spent time living in Italy and France before his death in Bath, England, in 1866.

This portrait was painted in Rome in 1853, not long after Robinson’s marriage to his second wife, Rose.