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A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae

Tommy McRae (1835–1901) was an Aboriginal artist who lived in the Upper Murray district of Australia. His Aboriginal names have been recorded as Yackaduna or Warra-euea, he was from the Kwatkwat people, whose country stretched south of the Murray River near the junction of the Goulburn River in Victoria.

McRae’s earliest known drawings date from the early 1860s. He produced and sold books of drawings, his illustrations depicted traditional Aboriginal life, including ceremonies, hunting and fishing, with individuals and animals predominantly silhouetted in landscapes of sparse trees and earth. His subjects included squatters, Chinese and William Buckley, who was an escaped convict, who lived in an Aboriginal community for many years.

Tommy McRae’s drawings are held by the National Museum of Australia the National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia Canberra, the State library Victoria, New South Wales Library and Melbourne Museum.

Among the many historical objects in the State Library of Victoria the following are some of the highlights:


Essential Facts:

  • Title:               A Book of Drawings
  • Artist:             Tommy McRae
  • Year:               1782
  • Medium:        Ink on paper
  • Dimensions:  Height: 238 mm (9.37 in). Width: 360 mm (14.17 in).
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria


” Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.” Australian Proverb



Photo Credits: 1) By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons