In 1951 Russell Drysdale travelled to Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland where he developed an interest in Indigenous Australians as a subject for his work. Many of the paintings he produced during this time depict Aboriginal subjects in urban and rural settings, and reveal the artist’s objective compassion toward the people he met and painted. These works formed a significant social comment on the sense of displacement experienced by Indigenous people during the early 1950s in Australia.
'Station boys' emanates from this period and presents two young Indigenous Australian stockmen standing side-by-side in a photographic-type format. Portraying the young men at a close proximity – in comparison to related works, such as 'Group of Aborigines' (1953) – the painting establishes a more intimate connection between its subject and the viewer.
oil on canvas
76.5 x 60.9 cm stretcher; 87.8 x 72.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, red oil "Russell Drysdale". Not dated.
Gifted by Ausgrid on behalf of the NSW Government 2013
© Estate of Russell Drysdale
Shown in 1 exhibition
Russell Drysdale (1953), Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 18 Nov 1953–04 Dec 1953