Gauci, Maxim (1774-1854; Maltese/English) (?)
George Augustus Robinson
Lithograph, c.37.1 x 25.6 cm
Acquired by 1871
Present location unknown

Robinson (1791-1866)), a builder by trade, and a devout Christian and lay preacher, migrated to Hobart in 1824. In 1828, he was appointed by Lt-Governor George Arthur to attempt a “conciliation” between Tasmanian settlers and the local inhabitants, eventually achieving “peace” by relocating the few remaining indigenous people to Flinders Island in 1835, with the assistance of two Aborigines known as Woureddy and Truganini (there are various alternative spellings). The event was re-staged in Benjamin Duterrau’s painting The Conciliation (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 1840), developed from an engraving published by Duterrau in 1835.

Two references to the present print appear in the 1870-71 Annual Report, but without providing any details of date or authorship. However, it seems likely that it was an impression of the lithographed portrait by Gauci (details as shown above). There are impressions in the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Library in Canberra, the latter published in London in the 1850s, and titled “G.A.Robinson Esq., Chief Protector of the Australasian Aborigines and the pacificator of the Aborigines of Van Diemans {sic} Land…” (see photo reproduced here).

The SLV also holds a plaster bust of Robinson made by Benjamin Law (1807-82) in 1836, and first documented in the NGV catalogue published in 1865. Gareth Knapman (2010), discusses the implications of the title “Pacificator,” also inscribed on the back of the bust. Law also produced two famous plaster busts of Truganini and Woureddy at the same time (1835-36).

From 1839-49, Robinson held the position of “Protector of the Aborigines” in Port Phillip, subsequently returning to England for the remainder of his life.

[comparative photo: impression in the National Library of Australia]

Refs.

AR 1870-71, pp.34 and 60 (apparently referring to the same print)

For the impression reproduced here, see https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/24334908 (NLA impression in the Rex Nan Kivell Collection, NK3476)

For the plaster bust of Robinson in the SLV (LTS 58), see NGV 1865, bust no.56, MPL Summary Report 1871, p.43; and NGV 1894, VII.10. See also Gareth Knapman, “The Pacificator: discovering the lost bust of George Augustus Robinson,” LaTrobe Journal 86, Dec.2010), and Gareth Knapman, “The Art of Conciliation,” Portrait 57, Winter 2017 (National Portrait Gallery, Canberra), both available online