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The Cowpastures, Just like an English landscape


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The early colonial European settlers in the Cowpastures were the key players in the story of creating
an English-style landscape along the Nepean River. The settlers took possession of the countryside
from the Dharawal Aboriginal people and re-made it in their own vision of the world. They
constructed a cultural landscape made up of an idealised vision of what they had left behind in the
‘Old Country’. For the European settlers the new continent, and particularly the bush, had the
elements of the Gothic with its grotesque and the demonic, and the English-style landscape
aesthetic they created was one attempt to counter these forces. Settlers used the aesthetic to assist
the creation of a new story on an apparently blank slate and in the process dispossessed and
displaced the Indigenous occupants. The new landscape was characterised by English placenames,
English farming methods and English settlement patterns, with only cursory acknowledgement of
Indigenous occupation. The early settlers had such a profound impact on the countryside that their
legacy is still clearly identifiable today even after 200 years.

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The Cowpastures, Just like an English landscape

  1. 1. The Cowpastures, just like an English landscape Ian Willis Presents
  2. 2. Burrenuick ‘First Fleet Cattle’, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 1932. The Cowpastures 1932
  3. 3. From Chris Betteridge, Menangle Landscape Conservation Area Assessment of Significance, Sydney, Musecape, 2012.
  4. 4. The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 1927
  5. 5. The Duke and Duchess of York Opening Provisional Parliament House Canberra 1927 (NLA)
  6. 6. Suffolk Landscape John Constable 1776-1837 Watercolour Unsigned undated
  7. 7. Australia Gothic The dark and foreboding presence of the Australian bush
  8. 8. ‘A scene by moonlight’ An Account of the English Colony of NSW Vol 2 by David Collins 1802 London
  9. 9. John Hawdon Elderslie Australian Town and Country Journal 18 Jan 1879
  10. 10. View of the the Nepean River at the Cow Pastures NSW Joseph Lycett 1825 Cpbtn Art Ctr
  11. 11. View in the Cowpasture district RM Westacott Watercolour 1840-1846 NLA
  12. 12. The cow pastures, New South Wales S. Prout; A. Willmore. Engraving London : Virtue &​ Co., 1874 NLA
  13. 13. The Cow Pastures New South Wales River Nepean River, NSW. 'The Cow Pastures, New South Wales'. Type: Antique steel engraved print. Date of printing: c1874. "Australia Illustrated"; By Edwin Carton Booth; Drawing by John Skinner Prout, N. Chevalier, Published by Virtue and Company Limited, London.
  14. 14. Belgenny Farm Cottage Cottage Henry Kitchen design 1820 Grant John Macarthur 1805 5000 acres Camden Camden Images
  15. 15. Denbigh House 1822 Built by Charles Hook 1812 grant to Charles Hook Camden Images 1990 Denbigh homestead resembled a scattered village surrounded mostly by an enclosed landscape with a half circle of hills… JS Hassell, Old Australia 1902
  16. 16. Glenlee Grant to William Howe 1818 3000 acres Eskdale renamed Glenlee House 1823 Henry Kitchen (Dept of Environt)
  17. 17. Brownlow Hill House 1827 Alexander Macleay NSW first Colonial Secretary Grant Alexander Macleay 1827 1500 acres (Camden Images)
  18. 18. Kirkham Homestead 1816 John Oxley Grant John Oxley 1810 600 acres Oxley NSW Surveyor General (RAHS)
  19. 19. Macquarie Grove Grant Rowland Hassall 1812 400 acres Homestead c.1813 (Dept of Environt)
  20. 20. Camden village, Sydney in 1842, showing Kirkham windmill and the Cowpastures Thomas Woore 1842 Pencil Drawing SLNSW
  21. 21. Ian Willis