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The Boatman: Portrait of Gary Richardson and Standard Motor Launch ‘Waltzing Matilda’ ©2016 (Watercolour, 56 x 75 cm.)

This artwork is in fact a triple portrait which acknowledges the dedication and contribution of two men: Gary Richardson and David Glasson.

Former work boat driver, Gary Richardson regularly crossed the harbour between Garden, Cockatoo, Spectacle & Snapper Islands in Sydney during the 1980s-90s. His late father, Alan Richardson, was the first Cadet (c1930) and later Keeper of the Sydney Training Depot at Snapper Island.

In the background of the painting is the partially restored Standard Motor Launch, originally designed & built in 1910 as part of the fit-out for H.M.A.S. PARRAMATTA (I).

Affectionately nick-named MATILDA after the popular Aussie ballad Waltzing Matilda, for her habit of waltzing across water – though not in a straight line! The wreck was acquired on behalf of the Naval Heritage Collection and her subsequent restoration is due to the vision of David Glasson and a dedicated group of good mates, including Glenn Wallace, Brian Thomas, Cyril Humbert, Dennis O’Brien, Tony Taranto, Benoit Bouf, Neville Brown & Toby Maigaard.

In the foreground is David Glasson’s hand-built scale replica of MATILDA which is accurate in every detail, and which was handcrafted to the last rib and rivet to demonstrate what the heavily-modified boat actually looked like!

Gary Richardson’s visit to Spectacle Island came just ahead of ‘Waltzing Matilda’s’ debut at the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Classic & Wooden Boat Festival and permanent home at the Naval Heritage Museum at Garden Island. All that she was waiting for was a pair of brass lanterns!

In 2017, David was awarded the prestigious Australian Wooden Boat Association’s HAL HARPUR AWARD for his superb restoration of a significant part of our maritime heritage.

Additional sources: Peter Munro, Matilda waltzes above the water for National Maritime Museum Festival (The Sydney Morning Herald, April 14, 2016)




The original watercolour is on high quality heavy weight French Arches watercolour paper, comes with a certificate of authenticity and has been tastefully framed. Also available as a fine museum-grade giclee print or unstretched linen canvas to your preferred size.