Colonial Gallery – Australian Art to 1880

These works were the creation of artists mostly born outside Australia, some of whom arrived as convicts, others who were lured here by gold or came as curious travellers. It also includes works from the first generation of native-born artists.

These works are a visual record of society in the early Colonial period; a time of nascent national identity, conflict, exploration, and the beginnings of Australian self-government. Convicts and squatters, the goldfields, Eureka, bushrangers and explorers all have their place. We also begin to see the growth of Ballarat documented by these artists.

The gallery was hung originalyl 'Academy salon' style, as the picture railing allowed works to be hung high up the walls, although the viewing of many of these pieces would have been difficult.

From this room, part of the original Gallery, we begin our journey through Australian art.