Martens' records the sale of this picture as 'View Throsby Park' to 'J.Throsby' for 12 guineas on 4 February 1837 in his "Account of pictures painted at Sydney, N.S. Wales" . [Mitchell Library ZDL MS142]. The watercolour relates directly to a pencil drawing, titled 'Throsby Park' and dated 'Augst. 10/36' now in the collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (ZPXC 296, f. 30).
Charles Throsby (1777-1828), surgeon, settler and explorer, was granted land in 1819 near Bong Bong in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. In October-November 1820 Governor Lachlan Macquarie made "a tour of inspection to the western and southern countries some time since discovered by Charles Throsby Esq" and Throsby himself joined the vice-regal entourage as they passed through Bargo on 17 October 1820. In his journal of the tour Macquarie records that on 18 October 1820, after crossing the Wingecarribee River, they met a "numerous herd of about 400 head of cattle belonging to Mr Throsby feeding in a rich fine meadow on the west bank of the river". Mr Throsby's hut was about a mile and a half from the river and Macquarie noted that "the grounds adjoining Mr Throsby's hut are extremely pretty, gentle hills and dales with an extensive rich valley in his front, the whole surrounding grounds having a very park-like appearance, being very thinly wooded." Macquarie further noted that "Mr Throsby not having yet given any particular name or designation to his new estate in this fine country, I have, with his own consent, named it Throsby-Park." (Lachlan Macquarie 'Journals of his tours in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land 1810-1822', Library of Australian History, 1979, p.146).At the time the picture was painted the 'Falls of the Quarrooille' were on land granted in 1819 to the surgeon, settler and explorer Charles Throsby (1777-1828) near Bong Bong in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. In 1836 the property, called Throsby Park, was owned by Throsby's nephew and heir, also named Charles. It was Charles Throsby junior (1800-1854) who played host to Conrad Martens at Throsby Park in August 1836 during Martens' tour of the Southern Highlands in search of picturesque subjects and painting commissions from landowners.
The name 'Quarrooille' presumably derives from an Aboriginal name. The falls were renamed Fitzroy Falls in March 1850, to mark the occasion of Governor Sir Charles Fitzroy's vice-regal tour of the Berrima district: "His Excellency the Governor... accompanied by Mr.Throsby, went to see the waterfall on [Mr Throsby's] estate, and, as no Governor had previously visited this delightful scene the falls were named Fitzroy Falls" (Sydney Morning Herald 16 March 1850).
The falls were a popular beauty spot for visitors and Martens' account book records the sale of three other versions of the subject: one to Robert Mackenzie - Sir Robert Ramsay Mackenzie (1811-1873) - on 19 December 1838 for 15 guineas. Mackenzie's copy, which does not include the small figures shown standing and sitting near the top of the waterfall in Throsby's version, is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, acquired through the Felton Bequest from Mackenzie descendants. (ref: Patricia R. McDonald and Barry Pearce The artist and the patron
At the Society for the Promotion of Fine Arts in Australia exhibition held in Sydney in mid-1849, Martens exhibited a watercolour titled 'Fall of the Quarrooilli, Throsby Park' which he sold to J. Wilford for 6 guineas and at the Fifth Annual Exhibition of the New South Wales Academy of Art held in Sydney in April-May 1876 Martins exhibited a watercolour entitled 'Fitzroy Falls, near Bong Bong' which was sold to Lady Stephen for 10 guineas. This version is now in the collection of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (ZV*/Sp.Coll./Martens/4). Elizabeth Ellis, in Conrad Martens: life & art
1994, p.188 declares that 'the 1876 watercolour is a mere shadow of the earlier ones'. [MM October 2005]