Collection Online

Shearing the rams

Artist/s name
oil on canvas on composition board
122.4 x 183.3 cm
Place/s of Execution
Corowa, New South Wales; Melbourne, Victoria
Accession Number
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1932
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 6
Level 2, NGV Australia
About the work

For Indigenous Australians, the bush has long held sacred associations that are central to their identity. In stark contrast, Australia's early colonists regarded the bush as an unfamiliar and at times threatening place, to be cleared or transfigured in keeping with European sensibilities.

As the colonies grew into established cities and towns, attitudes changed. By 1891, two-thirds of the population was living in cities, yet it was the bush and bush life that colonial settlers regarded as uniquely Australian and integral to the nation's identity.

Bush characters - the pioneer settlers, shearers, swagmen and mountain horsemen - came to represent an emerging national character. They were seen as resilient and stoic, despite or because of the hardships offered up by their environment.