Kangaroo dog owned by Mr Dunn of Castlereagh Street, Sydney1853

by Thomas Balcombe

In the mid-19th century, the kangaroo hunt or ‘battue’ became a popular colonial sporting pastime. Kangaroo dogs were used to herd the marsupials into large pens for easy shooting. The kangaroo dog was specifically crossbred from greyhounds and deerhounds for the purpose of hunting kangaroos for sport and meat. The dogs were known for their running speed, stamina and power, and their ability to cope with colonial Australia’s harsh and rugged conditions.

Nicodemus Dunn, a ginger beer and soda water manufacturer who lived in Castlereagh Street during the early 1850s, is likely to have commissioned Thomas Balcombe to paint this record of his prized hunting dog.