A Russian expedition

A Russian expedition lead by Captain Bellinghausen, visits Bungaree’s clan at Kirribilli. Pavel Mikhailov (the Russian expeditioner and artist) draws Bungaree and many of his clan, including Diana Boongaree daughter of Matora. Other family members who are named and drawn by Mikhailov include Matora herself (first wife of Bungaree).

  • Matora, courtesy AIATSIS
  • 'Boungarie', drawn by Mikhailov, 1820, Courtesy AIATSIS

The artist draws or records other names of the people in Bungaree’s clan. Boin (Bowen) is Bungaree’s son. His mother is Toura. Bowen’s wife is Maria or Mary, her father is Jonza and her mother is Nan or Naney. Bowen’s daughters are Theda, Theela Bowen and his son Mark.

  • 'Boin (Bowen)  drawn by Mikhailov, 1820, courtesy AIATSIS

Macquarie gives the Russians freedom to investigate the local Koori conditions, social life and dealings with colonial officials. Those whom they see along the north side of the harbour are “extremely lean and quite black in colour … They subsist on a mixed diet of shell fish and fish, forest products, and exchange their fish for British goods. They hunt and the women fish or gather bush food, then they withdraw into the bush at night. They sleep by fires and never lack a fire, embers even burn in the noon day heat”. Mikhailov writes of Bungaree’s family “Sometimes they ornament their head with bird’s bones or fish bones, or the tail of a dog or kangaroo teeth; and sometimes they plait their hair, smearing it with gummy sap of a plant so that it resembles rope ends. They stain the face and body with red earth … When a youth reaches man’s estate [ie manhood], two of his front teeth are knocked out. As for the girls, in early youth they have two joints of the little finger of the left hand cut off”. Since the men in Bungaree’s group were often absent from Kirribili, Mikhailov concentrated in his painting on the women and children. Volendens,Gulanba Duby, Gouroungan, Ga-ouen-ren, Matora. Male figures drawn are Boongaree, Bourinoan, Movat, Salmanda, Boin (Bowen) and Toubi (Toby). (Barratt 1991)

  • Joseph Lycett's 'Distant View of Sydney and the Harbour', courtesy of National Library