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A group of Australian Aborigines, possibly in Sydneyc 1849

by Unknown artist

Scenes of Aboriginal life in New South Wales had been a popular subject among local artists from the early days of British settlement. By the mid-1800s Aboriginal people living in and around Sydney were adapting more to the English lifestyle, language and modes of dress.

In this small painting, the women are all wearing government-issue blankets. One woman, seen third from the right, is painted from the back and is wrapped in a blanket initialled ‘B O’ (British Ordinance), 1849. The male figure wears a coat to his knees over a loosely buttoned shirt and probably a straw hat.