An Unbroken View: early nineteenth century panoramas

In 1827 it was said that if Europeans thought of Australia, they thought only of 'ropes, gibbets, arson, burglary, kangaroos, George Barrington and Governor Macquarie'. Not surprisingly, colonists were upset at this superficial characterisation of a land they were increasingly calling their own.

Panoramas were a powerful argument against such slanders because their encompassing eye captured the impressive evidence of colonial development. Many colonial panoramas were made, not as works of fine art, but as detailed and literal illustrations of progress.

This exhibition looks at a small selection of early nineteenth century panoramas from the collections of the State Library of NSW. Juxtaposed against a number of these panoramas are modern photographs from the same location. The sheer extent of development, and the impact that it has had on the original environment, becomes evident in such comparisons. Each individual will bring different interpretations to this evidence, but what it does suggest is the continuing relevance of the Library's wonderful collections to an understanding not only of the past, but also the future.

Open: 10 June 2006 – 15 October 2006
Picture Gallery, Mitchell Wing
State Library opening hours
Admission: Free