John Travis Leake
John Travis Leake, a sketcher and medical practitioner, was born in Yorkshire, England, one of the six sons of John Leake, a pastoralist, and Elizabeth, née Bell, who migrated to Van Diemen’s Land from Hamburg, Germany, in 1822-23. His younger brother was Charles Leake. The family settled ‘Rosedale’ in Campbell Town where John Travis Leake lived from 1840 to 1850. Six very European-looking watercolours of picturesque Tasmanian scenes, including View on the Derwent and Hegley Flats, that had been inherited by descendants, Dorothy Foster of Rosedale then Rosemary Ryan (d.1996) and her son Dominic Ryan, were offered by Sotheby’s, Melbourne, on 5 May 2003.
Leake moved to the mainland, trained in medicine and practised as a surgeon at Portland, Victoria. The Illustrated Australian Magazine of December 1850 published a lithograph by the Ham brothers after an original drawing by Leake: View from Caves near Portland, Looking towards the Bridgewater Lakes and the Sea. The accompanying article, which saw the caves as an example of the power and beauty of God, noted that by ‘The kindness of J.H. Leak [sic] Esq., a surgeon residing in the vicinity, we are enabled to present our readers with a view of these grand curiosities of nature’. In later life Leake’s mind became deranged.
Biography extracted from Design and Art Australia Online