Thomas Watling, the first professional painter to arrive in New South Wales, was in fact a native of Scotland. The son of a soldier, Ham Watlin, he was born in Dumfries in 1762. His parents seem to have died shortly after he was born and he was brought up by a maiden aunt, Marion Kirkpatrick. She made sure that young Thomas received a good education and he later trained professionally as an artist before starting his own school which he named ‘Watling’s Academy’. He also spent a brief period in Glasgow in 1788 working as a coach and chaise painter.
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