Along the Leichhardt (1993) – Sawrey Family Collection – SOLD

Available at: SOLD

Detail photos for this Artwork

The Leichhardt River, named after the early explorer Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-1848), is in far north west Queensland and passes through parts of the Gulf Country in places mainly used for mining and grazing. Important cattle stations are located in the area because of the water source provided by the Leichhardt.

During his stockman days, Sawrey worked in north west Queensland, encountering the Leichhardt River when he worked for stations around the Selwyn Ranges, the source of the river. Sawrey’s family recall him speaking about areas he worked in between Camooweal and Cloncurry, and that he most likely worked on or visited Augustus Downs station during his time as a stockman, which is one of the largest stations on the Leichhardt River, near Burketown.

In the early 1990’s Sawrey re-visited parts of outback and north Queensland on trips with his friend, journalist Lawrie Kavanagh, recording stories in words and paintings by retracing places that Sawrey rode through and the stations he worked on during his droving days, including areas around the Leichhardt River.

This painting from 1993, was created by Sawrey using Gouache, a fast drying water-based paint perfect for painting on trips. It was created during one of Sawrey’s trips with Kavanagh and depicts gums and the cool of the water and shade along the banks of the Leichhardt River.

The painting may be simple, but it records the importance of river water for the survival of stock and people on stations and on their droving journeys. The passage of the river was also an important geographical marker for trips on saddleback where stockmen tracked their journey across the land using the location of rivers, ranges, and the position of the stars.

The sight of water after a long journey on horseback would have been a very welcoming and comforting vista for drovers after hours in the saddle – a place to camp and to water horses and cattle, wash clothes and saddle blankets, take a bath, and boil a fresh billy.

Sawrey’s artworks inspired and made during his trips with Kavanagh, are expert captures of the places he visited; and are reminiscent of his early sketches on scraps of paper carried in his saddle bag when he moved on horseback from camp to camp.

These wonderful artworks inspired by Sawrey’s trips with Lawrie, rarely surface for sale. Over the years, being a specialist in Hugh Sawrey’s work, I’ve had the pleasure of selling a small selection of them. I’m now delighted to offer, “Along the Leichhardt”, which has been held in the Sawrey family’s private collection for 30 years, a memento of Sawrey’s adventures in his youth and later with his mate, Lawrie Kavanagh.

Gouache on Paper
35 x 49 cm
58 x 70 cm
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