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News From Home

Date: c 1853
Dimensions:
Overall: 240 x 278 x 25 mm, 540 g
Medium: Ink on paper, framed
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00030871
Place Manufactured:England

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    Description
    This colour print by George Baxter after the painting by Harden S Melville shows five men in a miners hut. Two of the men are naïve interpretations of Indigenous Australians. One man is reading the Illustrated London News, while another appears to be reading a letter from home. The title is printed in English, French, German and Spanish.

    Miners on the gold diggings were eager to hear news about their homeland and the loved ones they left behind. Letters and newspapers provided comfort in their daily routine of lives. Often on Sunday during the designated day of rest miners would walk several kilometres to check if mail had arrived.

    A companion print, 'News from Australia', was produced around 1854.
    SignificanceAlthough a fanciful view of the Australian goldfield, this print offers a glimpse into what life was like for miners at the camps and highlights the importance of recieving communication from home.
    HistoryDuring the 1800s the discovery of gold in California and Australia instigated the migration and movement of many people. During the 1850s and 1860s tens of thousands of miners criss-crossed the Pacific Ocean between Australia and America in search of gold. A $20 one-way ticket bought the traveller a bunk and a space for one trunk. The trip between Sydney and San Francisco took about six weeks.

    During the gold rush post offices increasingly emerged around gold digging sites as mining camps grew into permanent settlements. The 1850s was a busy period for the Australian postal system which was under heavy strain from the increasing influx of people and growth of the Australian economy. Letters and news from home was an important way for miners to stay in contact with their family and the outside world.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: NEWS FROM HOME

    Web title: News From Home

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