watercolourist and surgeon, was born in Tewkesbury, England, son of James and Sarah Nind. At New South Wales in 1826 Scott Nind (as he was called) was appointed assistant surgeon to the proposed military settlement at King George Sound (Albany, WA), a British outpost formed largely to discourage the French from claiming any part of New Holland. With a small garrison force of eighteen troops from the 39th Regiment under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer and twenty-three convicts, he arrived at the Sound in the brig Amity on Christmas Day 1826. There he became friendly with the Aborigine Mokare, who had been sketched by de Sainson when Dumont d’Urville’s French exploratory expedition visited earlier in the year. Nind shared his hut and rations with Mokare and in return learned much about the local Nyungar people. Possibly partly because of this relationship, Nind did not fare as well with his white colleagues. He was said to have been on 'very unsociable terms’ with both Lockyer and his replacement, Captain Wakefield. By August 1828 he had decided to quit his post, but NSW Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay refused to accept his resignation and he was forced to remain at the Sound for most of the following year. This unsatisfactory situation was exacerbated in April 1829 by Nind’s refusal to serve on a Board of Survey with Sergeant Hoop: 'I should be unwilling in any transaction to be associated with a Non-Commissioned Officer’.

The new commander of the 39th, Lieutenant Sleeman, complained to Macleay about Nind’s 'careless and reluctant manner in which he appears to discharge any duties however trifling, [and] the sullen opposition he shows on all occasions’. In September Nind suffered a serious mental breakdown witnessed by a shocked Sleeman in his (Sleeman’s) house. Nind had to be placed under restraint and 'every dangerous Article removed from his reach’. Sleeman now wrote to Macleay that what he had taken to be Nind’s 'Opposition and Sullenness was really occasioned by extreme dejection of Spirits and a morbid state of mind bordering on derangement, probably increased by his long residence here’. However distressing, this public episode did result in the desired repatriation to Sydney in October 1829 and from there to England. His health may not have immediately improved. In 1831 Robert Brown, the noted botanist who had visited King George Sound with Matthew Flinders in 1801, read Nind’s paper 'A description of the natives of King George’s Sound (Swan River Colony) and adjoining country’ before the Royal Geographical Society in London, Nind being unaccountably absent.

Nind returned to NSW in February 1833 to claim a land grant to which he had been entitled in 1825 but had postponed, he said, because of his appointment to the Sound. The system had changed in the interim, however, and he was deemed to have 'forfeited all claim to a grant’. He argued his case for several years, to no avail. Nevertheless, he remained in the colony. At the age of sixty-one, he married Maria Ann Thompson. He died at Campbelltown, outside Sydney, on 6 August 1868.

The five known Western Australian watercolour sketches attributed to Nind are very competent and careful delineations of the King George Sound landscape which, Nind stated, 'although of a barren nature, is very picturesque’. His View of Frederick Town. King George’s Sound (ML), dated 1828 and initialled 'I.S.N.’, is both picturesquely framed and geologically and botanically precise. It relates to Nind’s description in his paper: 'The hills behind the settlement are capped by immense blocks of granite, and are strewed with a profusion of beautiful shrubs, among which the splendid Banksiae grow to a large size, and the Kingia and Xanthorrhoea or grass-tree are abundant’. Four unsigned watercolours (AGWA), long thought to have been by Major Lockyer, were convincingly re-attributed to Nind by Barbara Chapman in 1979. (Three were drawn after Lockyer had left the settlement yet all are clearly in the same hand.) They depict the first camp, Mount Melville and Frederick Town, Princess Royal Harbour – King George’s Sound March 1827 , Entrance to King George’s Sound (1828), The Settlement King George’s Sound (1828) and a general view, King George’s Sound 1829 .

Nind pointed out in his paper that by 1829 Frederick Town, or Albany as it soon became, 'consisted only of eight or ten buildings, some of which were brick nogged, others of turf, and others of wattle and plaster. The roofs were thatched with coarse grass.’ Although his drawings of the settlement were appropriately modest, the last in particular conveys only the arcadian serenity of a place where the natives were friendly, the climate was healthy and the French had gone home. Conflict between the perfections of the natural world and 'vile man’ was, as with so many early landscape drawings, inexpressible within the conventions of the day.

Staff Writer
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