We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Myth of the Western man (White man's burden)



Gordon Bennett


1955 – 03 Jun 2014

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Queensland Australia
    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
    South Building, lower level 1, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © The Estate of Gordon Bennett

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Gordon Bennett

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 9 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 14 publications

Other works by Gordon Bennett

See all 7 works