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Panoramic view of King George's Sound, part of the colony of Swan River

engraving, colour aquatint and watercolour (on 3 joined sheets)
17.8 × 275.0 cm (image) 20.2 × 280.0 cm (sheet)
Place/s of Execution
London, England
Accession Number
Australian Prints / Australian Prints & Drawings
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1958
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

In 1832, Robert Dale made drawings of King George’s Sound and the newly founded Colony of Swan River (in what is now Western Australia) that were later used as a reference for an etching published by the English engraver and printer Robert Havell.

The resulting hand-coloured print records a landscape in transition due to colonisation. Several small farms appear over the hills, the bush has been cleared by fire, and British occupation of the land is clearly marked by the presence of a Union Jack and ships sailing in the Sound.

Dale shows the British and Aboriginal people in harmony: a solider shakes hands with an Aboriginal, and when a party of soldiers and Aboriginal people returns from a hunt, the solider carries the kangaroo quarry over his shoulder. Dale also pays close attention to the local vegetation and we can identify grass trees, cycads and banksias.

The elongated panoramic format offers viewers an intimate armchair tour of this scene – a view that could be held in the hand or pored over at a table or bureau.