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Terence John Andrew Callen

Australian, 1912 - 2000

Terry Callen was a marine artist and writer with a particular interest in the Newcastle and Hunter regions of New South Wales. He was born at Stockton, on the north shore of Newcastle harbour, where the wharves were forests of masts in the days of sailing ships - well into Terry Callen's childhood. His father was a well known shipbuilder who had built a number of vessels for the important local firm J & A Brown. Terry Callen grew up steeped in Newcastle's maritime character and history, particularly the numerous maritime disasters which took place on the treacherous approach to Newcastle, and shipwrecks which lined Stockton Bight. He became an authority on Newcastle maritime history, and wrote and illustrated two books on these themes. An unpublished manuscript by him on the history of Australian steamships, illustrated with photographs and sketches, is held at the National Library of Australia. He also had a sustained interest in the Newcastle tug CHAMPION, of which he made several models and paintings.

After leaving school Terry Callen took art classes in Sydney to improve his work with the human figure, but it was said he needed no lessons to be able to draw ships. He was a prolific painter of ship portraits, both contemporary and historical. He painted conventional illustrative broadside views of ships, and dramatic views of ships in difficulties or being wrecked, many of which appeared in his books. His attention to detail was meticulous and accurate.