May, Phil (1864-1903; English)
The Parkes Appropriation 1888
Pen & ink on white Bristol Board, 38.5 x 31.6 cm
Purchased, 1903 (advice of Bernard Hall)
State Library of Victoria (H30388)

This drawing, published on the front page of The Bulletin on 21 January 1888 (the centenary of the arrival of the First Fleet), refers to a proposal by NSW premier Henry Parkes to change the name of New South Wales to Australia.

Parkes is shown tip-toeing towards a sheet of paper inscribed “chart of Australia,” held by Matthew Flinders, asleep on his ship Investigator. The text box at lower left quotes from Flinders’ A Voyage to Terra Australis (published in 1814): “Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into ‘Australia,’ as being more agreeable to the ear and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.”

Parkes’ inflammatory idea was apparently abandoned on the advice of then NSW Governor, Lord Carrington, who subsequently encouraged Parkes to work towards federation with the other Australian colonies.

The blank boxes at top left and lower right are occupied, in the version of the drawing published in The Bulletin, by type-set verses by “M.”, musing on the matter.

For other 1888 caricatures of Parkes by May, see May (P.) Jumps and Jim Jams 1888 {1903} SLV [DR] and May (P.) The Mother of Civilization 1888 {1903} SLV [DR]. See also May (P.) Lord Carrington and New South Wales {1903} SLV [DR].


AR 1903, p.24; NGV 1905, p.64 (II.Stawell Gallery, no.98) [£3/13/6] 

See SLV online catalogue (not reproduced). Author’s photo shown here. For Parkes, see references cited under May (P.) The Mother of Civilization 1888 {1903} SLV [DR]