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'The claim disputed', c1852

This is a watercolour, measuring 19.4 cm x 25.4 cm, by Samuel Thomas Gill (1818-80), a famous colonial artist. It shows a well-dressed man - presumably the Gold Commissioner - arbitrating a dispute over a claim involving three diggers, probably on the Victorian gold fields. Two of the diggers are in animated discussion ...

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Sheet music cover for 'Australia draws her maiden sword', 1885

This is the damaged front cover of a three-page score for the song 'Australia Draws her Maiden Sword'. It depicts Australia as a maiden drawing her long sword and preparing for imminent conflict. Behind her, troops are shown marching out of their encampment. On the bottom of the cover in copperplate are the words 'WRITTEN ...

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Ophir gold diggings in 1851 - asset 3

This is a hand-coloured lithograph made by Thomas Balcombe (1810-61), measuring 27 cm x 47.5 cm, and based on a sketch made on the spot by J Korff. It depicts gold diggings at the confluence of Summer Hill Creek and Lewis Ponds Creek at Ophir in New South Wales. A horseman is shown approaching miners standing near the creek, ...

Interactive

Discovering democracy: the people make a nation

Interact with a slideshow of images and text to explore the controversies that the colonies needed to deal with before they could agree on a federated Australia. Investigate the library to find out more about the different views about trade, immigration, transport, defence and rivers. Examine the rivalries among the colonies ...

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Concert room at Ballarat, 1855

This is a watercolour, measuring 22.8 cm x 31.9 cm, by Samuel Thomas Gill (1818-80), a famous colonial artist. It shows Charles Thatcher (1831-78), a comic singer well known on the gold fields, performing popular songs on stage at the Charlie Napier Hotel in Ballarat with a female accompanist. The painting has the artist's ...

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Panning for gold on the Mulgrave River, c1888

This is a black-and-white photograph showing five miners prospecting for alluvial gold on the banks of the Mulgrave River in Queensland. Two of the men hold shovels and stand by a sluice, two others pan for gold and the fifth rests on a wooden wheelbarrow. Several other mining implements are in evidence - a pan, pick, shovel ...

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'Gold digging in Australia 1852: bad results'

This is the first of a pair of oval watercolours, measuring 20.2 cm x 26.4 cm, painted by Samuel Thomas Gill (1818-80), a famous colonial artist. It shows two gold miners sitting dejectedly beside their mine, probably on the Victorian gold fields. Behind the men is a windlass, as well as their wheelbarrow, pick and spade. ...