Looking at them I am struck by their sad beauty, and remember reading a remarkable book by Robert Hughes - the notable art critic (the Shock of the New) and writer. The book is entitled The Fatal Shore - it's an epic account of Australia's founding, and seeing these tragic portraits, I can't think of a more accurate title.
Australia is a typical modern paradise - alive with industry, people and all the crude trappings of success, but it was for a very long time, in fact for most of its history by far, a truly unknown land.
Australia, or New South Wales as it was known then, was all the way on the other side of the world - it was as far away from home as anywhere could possibly be. Imagine that.