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Gordon Bennett

(Australia 1955 – 03 Jun 2014)

Myth of the Western man (White man's burden)
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
synthetic polymer paint on canvas

175.5 x 304.3 cm stretcher

Signature & date
Signed and dated u.r. verso, pencil "...1992/ G Bennett 24-12-92".
Purchased 1993
Accession number
Unable to display image due to copyright restrictions
Not on display
Further information

1788 Colony established. Flag raised.

1796 First legally sanctioned massacre of Aboriginal people – Hawkesbury River area – troops sent from Parramatta.

1799 - First murder trial of five whites for the murder of two Aboriginal boys – found guilty but released – pardoned three years later.

1802 - Pemulwuy killed and decapitated, his head sent to England.

1803 - First colony established in Tasmania

1804 - First massacre of Aboriginal people in Tasmania, at Risdon Cove.

1813 - Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson cross the Blue Mountains into Wiradjuri land.

1824 - Massacres of Wiradjuri people.

1838 - Myall Creek massacre in northern New South Wales. First white man hung – against public opinion and in a retrial after acquitted in first trial – for the murder of Aboriginal people. This creates a climate of secrecy around further murders.

1857 - Yeeman people (near Roma, Queensland) massacred.

1861 - Largest massacre of whites by Aboriginal people in reprisal for hundreds of Aboriginal deaths, at Cullin-la-Ringo Station, Queensland by the Kairi people.

1869 - Tasmania, William Lanney – touted as the last Aboriginal male – died. His grave is looted and skeleton stolen.

1876 - Tasmania, Truganini – touted as the last Aboriginal female – died. Her skeleton is put on display (against her last wishes) in the Tasmanian Museum.

1928 - Coniston massacre in the Northern Territory, near Yuendumu. Those responsible vindicated in an official (cover up) inquiry ending 7 February 1929.

1971 - Yirrkala, Gove Peninsula, land rights thrown out of court.

1972 - Aboriginal Tent Embassy set up in Canberra. Gough Whitlam elected and Blue Poles by Jackson Pollack purchased for Australia (public outraged).

1976 - Truganini's bones cremated and her ashes dispersed in the wind.

1992 - Mabo case is won – Terra Nullius overturned.

Information provided by the artist.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006

Bibliography (14)

Anthony Bond and Victoria Lynn, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'Contemporary Practice - Here, There, Everywhere ...', pg. 229-285, Sydney, 1994, 284 (colour illus.).

Stephen Farthing (Editor), 1001 paintings you must see before you die, London, 2007, (colour illus.).

Kelly Gellatly, Gordon Bennett, Melbourne, 2007, 48-49 (colour illus.), 127. plate nos. 19-20

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art', pg. 208-241, Sydney, 1999, 234 (colour illus.).

Tim Jordan and Steve Pile (Editors), Social change, England, 2002, (colour illus.). plate no. 9

Lunami Art Gallery and Ross Gibson, Inner-Land, Japan, 1993.

Susan McCulloch, Alan McCulloch and Emily McCulloch Childs, The new McCulloch's encyclopedia of Australian art, 'Bennett, Gordon', pg. 40-41, Carlton, 2006, 41.

Pam Meecham and Julia Sheldon, Modern art: a criticial introduction, Oxon, 2005, 14-15, between pgs. 84 & 85 (colour illus.). plate no. 1

Margo Neale, Yiribana: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, Sydney, 1994, 122, 123 (colour illus.), 136, 139. plate no. 60

Terry Smith, Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles, 'Putting painting at stake: Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles', pg.55-73, Canberra, 2002, 62, 63 (colour illus.).

Nicholas Thomas, Possessions: indigenous art / colonial culture, 'Hierarchies: from traditional to contemporary', pg. 196-223, London, 1999, 200, 202, 204 (colour illus.), 207, 297. 124

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Contemporary: Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, 'Cultural memory, critical distance', pg.154-203, Sydney, 2006, 160, 161 (colour illus.).

Donald Williams, In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 1995, 204 (colour illus.).

Donald Williams, In our own image: the story of Australian art, Sydney, 2002, 200 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (6)

Recent Acquisitions of Aboriginal Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jul 1993–12 Sep 1993

Inner Land, Lunami Art Gallery, Japan, 09 Nov 1993–27 Nov 1993

Dreaming the Republic: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander - responses to the pending Republic, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 28 Nov 1997–11 Jan 1998

Another Country, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Jul 1999–02 Apr 2000

Title Deeds: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Works from the Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Jul 2000–05 Nov 2000

Gordon Bennett, a survey: