January 26 marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Britain at Sydney Cove in 1788. This complex anniversary has a link to Tate, as Tate Britain stands on the site of the old Millbank Prison on the north bank of the Thames. Between 1843 and 1853 anyone being transported to the colonies was first held at Millbank, and there is even the suggestion that the Australian slang term for British people, Pom, is an acronym from ‘Prisoner of Millbank’ (though the Oxford English Dictionary says there is actually no evidence for this, and it’s most likely a much later shortening of pomegranate. It doesn’t mention where the ‘whinging’ bit that normally goes with it might have come from though).
Tate is also making preparations for the opening of the major exhibition Turner from the Tate: Making of a Master at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide which opens its doors on 8 February. In this survey show over 40 oil paintings and 60 watercolours will be on display with many J.M.W. Turner works never seen before in Australia.
So however you decide to celebrate, whether you plan on ploughing on with an outdoor barbeque, conducting a lamington bake-off or decide to adopt a kangaroo I hope Nicholas Monro’s Kangaroos kicks-off proceedings nicely.