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Topsy Turvey - or, Our Antipodes

Date: 1864
Overall: 349 x 438 x 20 mm, 1.42 kg
Medium: Etching on paper, framed.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Etching
Object No: 00030595

User Terms

    This hand coloured engraving depicts a scene in outback Australia and offers a satirical view of the gold rush during the 1850s. It shows a group of ruffians playing cards in a shanty town as they are waited on by fashionable distinguished members of society. The term Antipodes was used to refer to the colonies of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as they are on the opposite side of the world to England.
    SignificanceThis is a rare sketch of the Australian outback during the gold rush and reflects Australian experiences in the 1850s. It highlights social changes that were instigated by the gold rush and the challenges to traditional values of the time.
    HistoryThe discovery of gold in Australia echoed the California gold rush of 1849 in many ways. Gold brought people and wealth to both countries and dramatically changed their societies and environments. The influx of people from many parts of the world challenged the established customs in Australia and England. Australia's population tripled in just 10 years with miners from Britain, Europe, America and China living and working together on the diggings.

    Along with the diversity of nationalities the goldfields brought people from all different walks of life together including women, businessmen, labourers and tradesmen. In many ways the gold rush allowed a more egalitarian lifestyle and instigated changes in Australian beliefs, politics, economics, and technology.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Topsy Turvey - or, Our Antipodes

    Web title: Topsy turvey or our Antipodes

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