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'Prospecting', about 1886

2011.0032.0007

'Prospecting', about 1886

Object information

Description

Print of 'Prospecting' by American artist William Thomas Smedley, about 1886. The work is based on John William Lindt's photograph of Main Top from the Clarence Valley series, dating from the 1870s.

Physical description

A black and white print mounted on grey card. Depicted are three miners looking into a gold pan with a slab hut in the background. The slub hut features two signs, one of which reads 'PINCHGUT'. Below is the printed title 'PROSPECTING'. The reverse shows printed text suggesting that the print was part of a book.

Statement of significance

The Victorian Goldfields collection comprises material related to gold mining primarily around the Ballarat region in the late 1800s. It includes gold mining equipment (two picks, a rope ladder, safety hook, windlass, mining cart), gold mining related objects (candle boxes, Chinese scales), gold mining images (including an S.T. Gill lithograph) and gold mining related documents (police gazette of 1853 - 55, a large folio of goldfields maps, goldmining company documents).

The discovery of gold in Victoria transformed the fledgling colony and had a lasting effect on Australian culture and society. Objects directly related to the extraction of gold in the early gold rush days of Victoria are extremely rare, and therefore this collection of gold mining equipment has great significance. S.T. Gill is considered perhaps the most important artist of the Victorian goldfields, and his lithograph of gold mining activity at Ballarat has great historic value. The police gazette features reports on the Eureka Stockade, a pivotal moment in Australian history and the maps and other documents from this time are extremely rare and have great significance.

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