Percy pretty well buggered after a hard day's jog, Cape York 1973.

Percy Trezise

The man who loved Cape York Peninsula

Percy pretty well buggered after a hard day's jog, Cape York 1973.

The Museum’s newest exhibition examines the life and legacy of a man whose name was synonymous with Cape York Peninsula for over 30 years – Percy Trezise.

Artist, conservationist, rock art specialist, Aboriginal rights activist, friend and mentor, author, bushman, pilot and storyteller, Percy was a charismatic, energetic and unconventional figure who strode the national stage raising awareness of Queensland’s most significant cultural heritage – the rock art created by Aboriginal people over their tens of thousands of years living in Cape York. His legacy of research, art, archives, books, papers and most importantly, protected areas, bears witness to his efforts.

The exhibition brings together for the first time Percy’s art, writings, diaries, photographs, letters and, most significantly, examples of his Cape York rock art recordings and facsimiles, to showcase the breadth of his interests and energies. His rock art recordings are shown with the permission of their Traditional Owners and Custodians.

The exhibition explores Percy’s many friendships and the people who contributed to Percy’s project of understanding and protecting the rock of Cape York. Especially significant was his twenty year ‘brotherhood’ with Lardil man Goobalathaldin, Dick Roughsey. Artists, cultural activists and writers, these two men projected Cape York Peninsula into the national imagination.  

The exhibition features artworks created by both men, inspired by their explorations of Cape York, as well as award winning children’s  books they wrote and illustrated. Unusually, they worked together on the illustrations, with Percy painting the landscapes and Goobalathaldin painting the figures.  

Percy Trezise: the man who loved Cape York Peninsula will run through to December at the Cairns Museum. The exhibition is included in the price of entry.

Eddy Oribin and Percy Trezise heading bush, courtesy Heinz Steinmann
Eddy Oribin and Percy Trezise heading bush, 1973. Courtesy Heinz Steinmann