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Mary Ann Friend

Mary Ann Friend (1800-27Dec1838) was an author, sketch artist and lithographer who captured early impressions of Australia, having arrived on the Wanstead, of which her husband, Matthew Curling Friend, was master, on 30 January 1830. She made a drawing of the camp at Fremantle and another of the banks of the Swan River where she, her husband, and her husband's brothers were staying.

She travelled from Portsmouth 14 August 1829, visiting the Swan River Colony on her way to Hobart, Van Diemen's Land with her husband Matthew Curling Friend (1792-1871), captain of the Wanstead, the ship on which they travelled. They returned to England via Singapore in 1831 and then came back to settle in Launceston where Matthew was port officer from July 1832. They lived at George Town until her death, after which her husband remarried.



Design and Art Australia Online entry:
Though she travelled extensively with her husband, Mary Ann Friend captured early impressions of her new homeland, Australia, often depicting dry landscapes which highlighted the struggles of the early pioneers.
Sketcher and lithographer, she was born in London, daughter of John Ford of Hampstead. In 1826 she married Matthew Curling Friend (1792-1871), a retired naval officer, inventor and nautical scientist. Three years later they left Portsmouth on board the Wanstead, a merchant ship of which her husband was master, transporting settlers to the new Swan River settlement in Western Australia. They arrived on 30 January 1830 – eight months after the first British settlers had embarked. In March, Mary Ann made a drawing of the camp at Fremantle on the banks of the Swan River where she, her husband and her husband’s brothers, Daniel, Charles and George, were living (two of the brothers, her husband and the artist herself can be seen in the image). Later published as a lithograph, her View at Swan River. Sketch of the Encampment of Matthew Curling Friend, Esqr. R.N. Taken on the Spot & Drawn on Stone by Mrs M.C.F. March 1830 (Mitchell Library) shows the unusual core structure of her temporary home and studio (supplemented by tents and tarpaulins) - a 'horse house’ from the ship converted into what she herself called a 'cottage orné'. Mary Ann Friend achieved a wider English audience for her drawing than the usual family circle. After returning to London so that Matthew could obtain permission from the Admiralty to settle in Tasmania, she converted her initial sketch 'taken on the spot’ into a lithograph, redrawing it onto the stone herself. Although her drawing transformed the place into an amusing and ...

References and Links

Mary Ann Friend's diary - the Swan River part.

Bevis, Stephen 2012, 'Early colonial views', The West Australian, 27 June 2012.

O'Brien, Philippa 2023, No Stone without a Name: A Visual History of Possession and Dispossession in Australia's West, Ellenbook Cultural Foundation.

SLWA page for her journal - in typescript

SLWA, Mary Ann Friend's Journal, podcast (or whatever).

See also: early views of Fremantle.

Garry Gillard | New: 14 May, 2016 | Now: 29 September, 2023