Two years after the British established the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, the government surveyor George Prideaux Harris begged his brother to send ‘all the paper you can muster’. Harris was charged with recording the details of a fledgling colony, but paper was ‘very scarce and dear’. This was life on the colonial front-line. In order to understand the visual records of exploration, we must also consider the circumstances of their creation: the constraints, expectations, and purposes of the surviving maps. This talk focuses on the messiness of exploration, as captured in the messiness of written forms. Inadequate equipment was translated into corrections, unruly labourers became inaccurate boundary lines, and vegetation froze into simple sketches. These charts were a mechanism of Indigenous alienation, but they also captured the landscape before it was usurped by European ideas. With careful analysis it is possible to unpick some of the story. This lecture will be presented by Dr Imogen Wegman.
This lecture is free for members of the Royal Society of Tasmania. Non-members are welcome to attend and donations are appreciated through our website: rst.org.au. Suggested donation: $6; $4 for students and Friends of TMAG.