Image 'Arrival of the mail, Myers Flat diggings', probably 1850s

TLF ID R3297

This is a black-and-white print, measuring 17.7 cm x 21.6 cm, created from a wood engraving. It shows two men seated on a horse-drawn, two-wheeled buggy. Nine miners are gathered by the buggy, awaiting the delivery of letters, reading letters or newspapers and exchanging news. Although not visible on this image, the title 'Arrival of the mail, Myers Flat diggings' and the artist's initials 'T.C.' (Thomas Carrington) are inscribed underneath the picture.



Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows the Myers Flat diggings 7.5 kilometres north-west of Bendigo and 150 kilometres north of Melbourne - the Myers Flat diggings formed part of the Eaglehawk gold field where gold was first discovered in 1852; at the height of the rush the population numbered 40,000.
  • It portrays miners at an alluvial gold field as it may have appeared in 1853, 20 years before the print was probably made - alluvial gold is found near the surface, usually eroded from reefs and deposited over the years in creeks and waterways, especially at points, such as bends in the creek, where the flow of water slows; by 1853 the alluvial gold at Eaglehawk was largely exhausted and miners were turning to the rich seams of quartz gold found deep below the surface.
  • It depicts three crudely constructed shaft mines - mines such as these were relatively short-lived as the lines of gold in the Bendigo area required deep shafts and extensive tunnels, well beyond the financial capacity of individual miners; only companies with high levels of capital could afford to sink deep shafts in the area; even so, many such companies failed to find gold and collapsed financially, taking their shareholders' investments with them; 300 tonnes of gold were ultimately extracted from the shaft mines in the Bendigo area.
  • It provides examples of some of the tools of the gold miner - shovels, picks and axes.
  • It shows the mail being delivered, probably by employees of the Victorian Postmaster-General's Department - before Australia became one nation, each of the self-governing colonies had its own postal service and issued its own stamps.
  • It is an example of the work of Thomas Carrington (1843-1918), cartoonist, illustrator and journalist, whose greatest claim to fame was his series of pictures drawn between 3 and 31 July 1880, illustrating the capture of the Kelly gang - Carrington was one of five members of the press who travelled on the special train to Benalla, Victoria, on 27 June 1880 only to find himself a first-hand witness to the siege at Glenrowan, a significant event in Australian folk history.
  • It is one of '200 Wood engravings published in Victoria, Australia', exhibited at the International Exhibition of 1873 in London.
Year level

5

Learning area
  • History
Strand
  • History/Historical knowledge and understanding

    Other details

    Contributors
    • Content provider
    • Copyright holder
    • Organisation: National Library of Australia
    • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
    • Author
    • Name: Thomas Carrington
    • Remarks: artist
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 30 Aug 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    Learning resource type
    • Image
    Browsers
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    Rights
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements