Coastal Sydney: Bungaree at Kiarabilli (Kirribilli), 1831
Protocol:State Library of NSW - Open Protocol
Created:Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 22:15
‘Sometimes they ornament their head with bird’s bones or fish bones, or the tail of a dog or kangaroo teeth; and sometimes they plait their hair, smearing it with gummy sap of a plant so that it resembles rope ends. They stain the face and body with red earth … When a youth reaches man’s estate, two of his front teeth are knocked out. As for the girls, in early youth they have two joints of the little finger of the left hand cut off.’
Artist Pavel Mikhailov made this observation when the first Russian expedition to the Antarctic visited Warran (Sydney Cove) in 1820. This drawing by Mikhailov shows Bungaree (at far right) and his clan — including his first wife, Matora — many of whom were named by Mikhailov. Bungaree, a Kuringgai man from what is now known as the Broken Bay area of New South Wales, is thought to have shared some of his people’s vocabulary with William Dawes. Bungaree is also renowned for circumnavigating Australia with Matthew Flinders between 1801 and 1803.