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Scene on Mitta Mitta River

Date: 19th century
Image: 160 x 250 mm
Medium: Ink and wash on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sketch
Object No: 00026047

User Terms

    Black and white ink and wash sketch titled 'Scene on the Mitta Mitta river' featuring two Aboriginal people in a canoe, the male standing with a fishing spear, the female sitting in the stern holding a four-pronged fishing spear and wrapped in a fur cloak. Signed FS - possibly Frederick Strange.
    SignificanceA fine ink and wash sketch recording an Indigenous couple in a canoe on the Mitta Mitta River.
    HistoryThe Mitta Mitta River in Victoria flows from the high plains through steep forests and valleys to Lake Hume. The name derives from the language of the Indigenous Australians who travelled to the alpine area in the summer months for the Bogong moths. Mutta Mutta is believed to mean thunder - the sound of the river in full flood.

    It is believed that the Jaithmathang people lived in large areas of the north-eastern alps which included the Mitta Mitta River; the Kandagora-mittung occupied the Mitta Mitta area. The river was a source of food, social and trading connections.

    European contact with the area began in 1835 when James McFarlane travelled from the Monaro region of New South Wales with George McKillop. He returned a few years later to create Omeo Station. In the 1850s gold was discovered in the Mount Wills area and a number of gold and tin-mining settlements sprang up in the valley. Modern activities today in the area include fossicking, canoeing and fishing.

    Frederick Strange (1826-1854) was born at Aylsham, Norfolk, England in 1826, and killed on 15 October 1854, at South Percy Island (south-east of Mackay, Queensland). Strange migrated to South Australia in 1836 and in 1840 he moved to Sydney and set up business as a collector of natural history specimens, travelling to New Zealand and New Caledonia. In 1852 he returned to England for a short while and on his return to Australia, went to Queensland.

    Strange was a collector with Charles Sturt on the Murray. He also collected for the zoologist John Gould at the Flinders Range, Lake Albert and the River Coorong in South Australia, also in southern Queensland, and in northern New South Wales where he discovered Prince Albert's lyre-bird.

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