This sketchbook was used between 1824 and 1826 by Midshipman G H Mundy to record his posting to the South American Station. It contains 24 pencil sketches of Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Cape Horn and Coquibo alongside depictions of vessels of the South American station. The book was made while Mundy was on board HMS BLANCHE. It is inscribed with his initials GRM and the date 1824.
SignificanceThis sketchbook provides a unique visual record of the ports, geography, vessels, settlements and civic buildings in the South American station. The detailed and beautiful sketches represent the station's protection of British interests in the Pacific.
HistoryIn the 19th century the British Royal Navy (RN) divided the world into strategic zones or stations. Each station had a squadron of warships that protected British interests. The work of the RN's South American squadron included protecting British interests in South America and the Pacific. This occurred until the Australian Station was created in 1859. The Station protected British shipping routes through Asia and the colonies of NSW and Van Diemen's Land. This included patrolling the Falkland Islands and ships passing through Cape Horn via the Pacific for trade. From 1788 convict transports travelling to Australia routinely stopped at Rio de Janeiro in the South American station throughout the first half of the 19th century. The development of Australian commerce and trade was specifically linked to the surveillance work of the South American Station and its Royal Navy ships in the Pacific. These ships included BLANCHE, CAMBRIDGE, WELLESLEY, ECLAIR and JACKAL.
George Rodney Mundy was born in 1805 and served as a midshipman in North America and the Mediterranean during 1821 to 1824. He was then stationed on the frigate HMS BLANCHE during the years of revolution in South America. Mundy was present on the station to see the newly formed Latin American Republics of Brazil, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Mexico and Buenos Aires.