By the time John Glover arrived in Tasmania in 1831, it was too late (it is thought) to see Aboriginal people living freely in the bush. However, from the moment of his settling in the colony, Glover was acutely interested in the Aboriginal people. Here, he presents an imagined scene of their idyllic and untroubled life before the European invasion — what Glover called ‘the gay, happy life the natives led before the White people came here’. In its explicit use of mythology to comment on contemporary events, Glover’s painting is unique in Australian colonial art.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002