William Bradley | State Library of New South Wales

William Bradley (1757?-1833)

It was part of a naval officer’s formal training to learn to draw coastal profiles, charts and views. With 29 watercolours inserted between its pages, the journal of First Lieutenant William Bradley contributes to the important artistic record of European settlement in Australia.

Bradley’s illustrations raise many questions. We can’t know if any of the drawings were painted while Bradley was in New South Wales, or later on his return to England. In general, their level of accuracy suggests that he was working from something other than recollection, however his depiction of the Fleet entering Port Jackson seems to portray Sydney’s North and South Heads in reverse.

Bradley’s illustrations are on several different types of paper, some watermarked, some not. All have been titled, and some have been initialled or dated. Some have been bound into his journal, others hinged in and perhaps, therefore, produced later.

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