ACTIVITY 1

The Case of the Loin Cloths aka Lap Laps

Look online at the depictions of Aboriginals painted by British settlers from the First Fleet period of the late 18th century through the first twenty years of the 19th century.

  1. https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/569912/view/aboriginal-tree-climbing-18th-century
  2. https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/catalog/1763812
  3. https://www.charlesnodrumgallery.com.au/artists/john-heaviside-clark/climbing-trees/
  4. https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/67272/
  5. aboriginal perspective joseph lycett

Discuss the introduction of white ‘lap laps’ in the depictions, especially by Joseph Lycett. Consider the reasons for this despite the fact that in his Journal of an Excursion Across the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, published in London in 1825, a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1816 to 1824, Barron Field, Esq who was also a Fellow of the Linnean Society and a respected botanist noted in his 1822 travels that many indigenous communities still ‘possess the art of very neatly sewing together, with the sinews of the kangaroo and emu, cloaks of skins, the hide of which they also carve in the inside with a world of figures. They use these cloaks for the sole purpose of keeping themselves warm, and have as little sense of decency as the natives around Sydney; for in the middle of the day, when the weather is warm, they throw back their cloaks across their shoulders.’