Little remains of the once thriving gold mining town of Mathinna in North-east Tasmania, though its namesake continues to prompt historical and cultural reflection. I first heard the name Mathinna in Richard Flanagan’s novel titled Wanting, which left a lasting, emotional impression on me.

Mathinna (1835-1852) was an Aboriginal Tasmanian girl, removed from her family and adopted for a period of four years by the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, Sir John Franklin, and his wife Lady Jane in 1837. On returning to England, they abandoned Mathinna and her life fell into steady decline. Her death remains a mystery, though a plausible theory is that she drowned in a puddle whilst intoxicated.

My painting is imbued with a sense of stillness. There is a balance between heavy and light, and fast and slow, whilst also contemplating past and present.

Jane Tangney


Oil and beeswax on canvas