Robert DOWLING
England 1827 – England 1886
Australia 1834-1857, 1884-1886

Minjah in the old time (Weerat Kuyuut and the Mopor people at Minjah Station) 1856
oil on canvas
76.4 (h) x 101.7 (w) cm
Warrnambool Art Gallery, Victoria , Presented by Joseph Ware 1886

Dowling’s first group portrait of the Victorian Aboriginal people, Minjah in the Old Time, is thought to be a commission from Joseph Ware. The painting shows the Spring Creek or Mopor Aborigines of the Gunditjmara people near the Minjah Station homestead.

The central figure is ‘King Mopor’ (Marpoura), the elder Weerat Kuyuut. His daughter ‘Queen Mopor’, Yarruum Parpurr Tarneen, sits to his right. The two standing figures are visiting the campsite and are likely to be Johnny Dawson, ‘King Laratong’ (Kangatong?), the head stock-keeper at nearby Kangatong Station and his wife Sarah (‘Queen Laratong’).