Image 'Wooloomooloo Bay, Sydney', 1852

TLF ID R3563

This is a pen-and-wash drawing by George French Angas (1822-86) of Woolloomooloo Bay, Sydney, dated 16 December 1852 (the title uses an alternative spelling). Looking north-east across Sydney Harbour towards the Heads, it is a scene only lightly touched by humans, with some wharf buildings in the middle ground, three dinghies moored nearby, and a small craft sailing out of the bay. A male figure reclines near some rocky steps in the foreground.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset provides an image of Woolloomooloo Bay, next to Farm Cove in Sydney, in the mid-19th century, before the merchant wharves were constructed on the south shore and the Garden Island naval base and docks were built on the eastern side.
  • It refers to the Aboriginal word 'wooloomooloo' or 'woolloomooloo', which possibly means 'young kangaroo' - earlier, the bay was known by European settlers as Garden's Cove or Palmer's Cove, but by 1850 it had been given an Aboriginal name.
  • It indicates the small size of the population of Sydney at the time, when an area so close to the city was relatively undeveloped - in the 1850s, Sydney's population was just over 50,000.
  • It gives some indication of the natural vegetation of the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, with scattered red gums and banksias growing between rock slabs.
  • It provides an example of the work of George French Angas - a member of the pioneer South Australian family, Angas was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in Britain, and studied drawing and lithography; he drew this sketch during his second period in Australia (1850-61), during which he worked as secretary to the Australian Museum in Sydney (1853-60).
  • It shows the results of the popular 19th-century pen-and-wash art technique, by which original drawings were waterproof-Indian-inked, and then brush-washed with pale tinges of watercolour.

Other details

  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: National Library of Australia
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 1852
  • Name: George French Angas
  • Remarks: artist
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 02 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
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  • Image
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements