National Maritime Museum Grant For Richmond River Paintings

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5th February 2010, 03:03pm - Views: 926

People Feature Australian National Maritime Museum 1 image

People Feature Australian National Maritime Museum 2 image

National maritime museum grant for 

Richmond River paintings

It will come as no surprise to the residents of the Northern Rivers that the region is a magnet for

artists, but few might know that it has been since the late 1800’s.

Using $10,000 in funding from the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Richmond River

Historical Society is currently restoring a collection of maritime art which includes works by the

official marine artist for the Commonwealth of Australia JW Burgess and the notable New Zealand

marine artist William Forster.

Although well known for his scenes of battleships at war and barges on the Thames, Burgess

spent his teenage years in the Lismore region and painted many scenes of its beauty between

1891 and 1897. 

William Forster was thought to have been travelling through the Lismore region when he painted

SS Lismore in 1884 and Lady Franklin in 1883.  

Their residence was likely motivated by commercial reasons. The Richmond River was an

important route for the logging and agricultural trade that flourished in Australia at the time. 

“There were painters that moved around. When the local market was exhausted, they would

move on,” explained Secretary of the Richmond River Historical Society Geoffrey Foley.  

Others in the collection include a painting of a boat by the daughter of a local butter factory owner

and two local shipwrecks Wollongbar and Tomki signed by an artist called Johnson.

“The paintings reveal the role that maritime trade once played in the area,’ said Mr Foley. “Before

roads were built, everything came and went by ship.”

The paintings are currently being restored in Brisbane and will be back on display in February


“The paintings are a valuable part of the Northern River’s maritime history,” said Australian

National Maritime Museum Director, Mary Louise Williams. “We are pleased to be able to support

the conservation of these items through the Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support

Scheme (MMAPPS).” 

The MMAPPS scheme, which the museum funds with Australian Government’s Distributed

National Collection Program, helps regional museums, community groups and volunteers to

promote and protect Australian maritime heritage. For more information, phone (02) 9298 3777 or

05 February 2010

Australian National Maritime Museum - Bill Richards (02) 9298 3645; 0418 403 472

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