John Glover was born in England in 1767 and showed a talent for drawing at an early age. He was a successful landscape painter in England before migrating to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in 1831 where he bought land and set up a farm near Launceston. Glover’s Tasmanian landscapes showed his liking for natural bushland and he developed a new approach to capturing the effects of Australian sunlight. He worked outside using a palette of olive greens, misty greys and strong blues to depict the unique qualities of native Australian environment.
A view of the artists house and garden, in Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land shows Glover’s Patterdale farm at Deddington Northern Tasmania on a bright summer’s day. His shingle-roofed stone house and wooden studio-gallery are surrounded by his flourishing replica English garden. Glover brought plants and seeds with him on the long journey from England and planned the garden while on the ship. Although Glover has delighted in presenting his (introduced) plants thriving, he has also depicted the natural bushland beyond the edges of the garden, showing the soft olive greens of the Tasmanian manna gum tress. This painting emphasises Glover’s firm sense of possession of his new land, expressing a colonist’s feeling of nature tamed in Australian wilderness.
Australian Curriculum Connections - Year 5 History
The nature of convict or colonial presence, including the factors that influenced patterns of development, aspects of the daily life of the inhabitants (including Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples) and how the environment changed (ACHASSK107)
Australian Curriculum Connections - Year 5 Geography
The environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces within them (ACHASSK113)
- Glover, his wife and son travelled on a ship for five months from England to Australia in 1830. Brainstorm what you think this journey would have been like. What are some things you have experienced when travelling a long distance with your family?
- Based on your observations of this painting, do you think Glover was happy in his new home?
- Is this a realistic view of an Australian garden? Provide reasons for your answer.
- Identify the plants in Glover’s garden. Do you have any of these plants in your garden at home or school? Write an inventory of the plants in your garden at home. Which are endemic to where you live and which are not? What plants and flowers grow best in your garden and why? What plant or flower would you like to grow?
- Research gardens in other places in the world. How and why are they different? What is unique about Australian flora?
- Glover’s garden displays introduced plants including willows, roses and hollyhocks. Most of Australia’s weeds began as escaped garden plants introduced by immigrants, travellers, and later by plant nurseries. Weeds often threatened the growth of native plants by doing too well in this new country. Research extinct Australian flora and create a painting as a tribute to this extinct plant or flower.
- Investigate the energy requirements to sustain a native garden. Design a sustainable garden for a place in your community. What are some of the challenges of this site? How will you overcome these?
- Investigate what life was like for Aboriginal people in Van Diemen’s Land prior to colonisation. How did life for Aboriginal people compare to other inhabitants, like Glover. Consider clothing, diet, housing, paid and unpaid work, trade or language.
Glover brought plants from England to plant in his new garden. Today this wouldn’t be possible as Australia has one of the world’s strictest quarantine policies. Biosecurity legislation restricts the movement of living things to prevent the spread of pests and diseases between states in order to protect the environment.
- Research the impact introduced plants have had on Australian flora and fauna and examine the effects on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- What are some ways we can protect Australia’s environment?
- Identify the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in the management of Australia’s landscape.
- Throughout history, artists have depicted the Australian landscape differently. Find an example of an artist who has captured the true essence of an Australian landscape. Why do you think this is the best example?
The Gallery’s Learning programs are supported by the Department for Education.
This education resource has been developed and written in collaboration with Kylie Neagle, Education Coordinator and Dr. Lisa Slade, Assistant Director, Artistic Programs.