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Kangaroo coursing

This scrimshaw powder horn shows a scene of kangaroo coursing, or hunting. It was probably made around 1836 by John Kelly, a soldier in the 28th North Gloucestershire Regiment of Foot, who arrived in New South Wales that year.

Detail image showing a man on horseback, etched into a piece of scrimshaw.
Scrimshaw powder horn (detail), 1836

A suitable pastime for gentlemen

Kangaroo coursing was a popular subject for colonial artists. Like British traditions of foxhunting, from which it derived, coursing was seen as an ‘aristocratic’ mode of hunting.

It was regarded as a pastime suitable for gentlemen who wished to test their skill and their horse’s mettle riding across country, but did not have to worry too much if they did not bring home game to eat.

A powder horn, tapering to one end, inscribed with text 'John Kelly, E, 28P', and scenes of a man riding on a horse among trees.
Scrimshaw powder horn, 1836

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