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Rare coastal profile of Mount Brown Conservation Park, Flinders Ranges, South Australia, by William Westall, artist on board Matthew Flinders seminal survey of the Australia on the Investigator. Flinders Tuesday March 9, 1802: At the back of the eastern shore was … Read Full Description
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Rare coastal profile of Mount Brown Conservation Park, Flinders Ranges, South Australia, by William Westall, artist on board Matthew Flinders seminal survey of the Australia on the Investigator.
Flinders Tuesday March 9, 1802:
At the back of the eastern shore was the ridge of mountains before mentioned, of which Mr. Westall made the sketch given in the Atlas; (Atlas, Pl. XVII.)image and the highest peak toward their northern extremity, afterwards called Mount Brown, bore N. 32° E. On the western side, upwards, there was moderately high, flat-topped land, whose eastern bluff bore N. 36° W., about three leagues, and there the head of the gulph had the appearance of terminating; but as the tide ran one mile an hour past the ship, we still flattered ourselves with the prospect of a longer course, and that it would end in a fresh-water river. Wednesday 10 March 1802 Early on the following morning, Messrs. Brown, Bauer and Westall, with attendants, set off upon an excursion to the eastern mountains, intending, if possible, to ascend to the top of Mount Brown; and I went away in a cutter, accompanied by the surgeon, to explore the head of the gulph, taking with me Arnold’s pocket time-keeper. After crossing the middle shoal, upon which we had 2½ fathoms in the ship, the water deepened to 10, but afterwards diminished to 2, on approaching the mangroves of the western side. Keeping then upwards, I had from 7 to 10 fathoms in the mid-channel, but found shoal water extending a mile, and sometimes more, from the shore and no possibility of landing until we came near the broad, flat-topped hill. From the eastern bluff of this hill, Mount Brown bore N. 62° 20’ E., and Mount Arden, a peak nearly at the furthest extreme of the ridge, N. 18° 40’ E.; and the inlet was seen to run in a serpentine form to the northward, between low banks covered with mangroves. After taking the bearings we returned to the boat and pursued our course upward along the western shore, having from 4 to 7 fathoms past the bluff; but the inlet was there less than two miles wide, and a league further on it was contracted to one mile, half of which, besides, was occupied by mud flats. These banks were frequented by ducks and other water fowl; and some time being occupied in chasing them, our distance above the ship was not so much as five leagues in a straight line, when the setting sun reminded us of looking out for a place of rest. A landing was effected with some difficulty amongst the mangroves on the eastern shore; and from a small eminence of red earth I set the ship’s mast heads at S. 14° E., and Mount Brown N. 85° E.
From of Flinders hydrographic atlas, A voyage to Terra Australis…, sheet XVII, London : G. and W. Nicol, 1814.
Full title of the atlas; A Voyage to Terra Australis, undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty’s Ship The Investigator and subsequently in the armed vessel Porpoise and Cumberland schooner.
William Westall (1781 - 1850)
Westall was a landscape artist born at Hertford, England. He was taught to draw by his elder half-brother Richard (1765-1836), a water-colour painter, Royal Academician and painting teacher to Princess Victoria. In 1799 he was admitted to the Royal Academy School, where he was studying when at 19 he was appointed landscape artist with Matthew Flinders' Investigator expedition to Australia, at a salary of 300 guineas. During the voyage he made a large number of pencil-and-wash landscapes in places visited by the Investigator and a series of coast profiles in pencil. When the Porpoise ran aground on Wreck Reef his sketches were 'wetted and partly destroyed' and, while Westall travelled in China, the drawings, regarded as part of the official record of the voyage, were taken by Lieutenant Robert Fowler to England. There, at the suggestion of Sir Joseph Banks, they were handed to Richard Westall to be 'restored to a proper state'. After spending some time in China and India Westall returned to London in February 1805 and sought access to the sketches to paint a picture for exhibition at the Royal Academy and showed a View of the Bay of Pines at the academy later in the year. In the summer of 1805 Westall went to Madeira and twelve months later to Jamaica. After returning to England he painted a series of water-colour views of the places he had visited and these were shown in a Brook Street gallery and at the Associated Artists' exhibition in 1808. Later he received commissions from the Admiralty to paint nine pictures to illustrate Flinders' A Voyage to Terra Australis … (1814), and was engaged by several London publishers to paint water-colours to be reproduced as aquatints.
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