WILLIAM FORSTER’S painting of three-masted iron schooner Lismore is one of several pictures being restored for Richmond River Historial Society.
WILLIAM FORSTER’S painting of three-masted iron schooner Lismore is one of several pictures being restored for Richmond River Historial Society.

A picture of our maritime heritage

A RARE collection of paintings depicting the Northern Rivers’ maritime history is being restored in Brisbane courtesy of a $10,000 grant from the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Richmond River Historical Society secretary Geoffrey Foley said the 19th Century collection, which includes works by noted New Zealand artist William Forster and the official government artist J W Burgess, was due back in Lismore later this month.

“The paintings reveal the role that maritime trade once played in the area,” he said.

“Before roads were built, everything came and went by ship.”

Two paintings of the SS Lismore and the Lady Franklin, were painted by Forster as he travelled through the region between 1883 and 1884.

Burgess, who later became famous for his British maritime battle scenes, and depicting barges on the Thames, spent his teenage years between 1891 and 1897 painting in the region.

Other paintings include the shipwrecks Wollongbar and Tomki by an artist named Johnston.

Mr Foley believes many artists would take up residence while there was a demand for their services, and then move on.

The director of the Australian National Maritime Museum, Mary Louise Williams, who provided the restoration grant, described the paintings as valuable pieces of local maritime history.

“We are pleased to be able to support the conservation of these items through the Maritime Museums Project Support Scheme,” she said.

The scheme is designed to assist regional museums, community groups and volunteers to promote and protect Australia’s maritime heritage.



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