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Reproduced courtesy of Peter Hudson

The Visitor

Date: 2013
Display dimensions: 710 × 580 × 30 mm
Overall: 710 × 580 × 30 mm
Medium: Watercolour and wax on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Peter Hudson
Object Name: Drawing
Object No: 00054552

User Terms

    A drawing by Peter Hudson is titled 'The Visitor' depicting a flying fish on a white background, super imposed on a night sky. The handwritten words are composed by Neil Murray and read;
    'On Mr. Greens table the fish landed mouth open and gasping, with fins that would be wings, its eye fixed and shining as a spherical orb the shape of a planet..."I am your flying celestial bosy, as wonderous as the stars and you can touch me"...'
    This work is based on a chance event recorded in Joseph Banks’ journal. Banks describes 27 September 1768 a flying fish which flew in through the open hatch of the cabin occupied by star gazing astronomer Charles Green. The fish was taken to the great cabin to be studied and drawn.
    SignificanceThis painting by Peter Hudson is significant in providing an alternate view of first contact and European occupation of Australia.
    HistoryThis work by Peter Hudson was produced for East Coast Encounter, a multi-arts initiative involving Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, writers and songwriters to re-imagine the encounter by Lieutenant James Cook and his crew with Indigenous people in 1770.
    Peter Hudson was the initiator of the East Coast Encounter concept and was a passionate advocate for the project.

    Cook's voyage along the Australian east coast has become central to national historical narratives. The East Coast Encounter project asked artists to re-envisage this seminal journey by imaginatively exploring moments of contact between two world views during these encounters. It also brought these events into the present by incorporating artists' reflections on their relevance today, and their responses to visits to significant contact locations. Topics such as encounter, impact, differing perspectives, nature and culture and views of country are investigated.

    Sir Joesph Banks kept a detailed journal of this first voyage by Cook and records on 25th September 1768:

    'Now for the first time we saw flying-fish, whose beauty, especially when seen from the cabin window, is beyond imagination, their sides shining like burnished silver. Seen from the deck they do not appear to such advantage, as their backs, which are dark-coloured, are then presented to view.

    27th September - About one this morning a flying-fish, the first that had been taken, was brought to the cabin; it flew aboard, chased, I supposed, by some other fish, or maybe because he did not see the ship; at breakfast another was brought, which had flown into Mr. Green the astronomer's cabin."
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: East Coast Encounters collection

    Assigned title: The Visitor

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