This carved figure is a Chinese deity known as Shou Lao or God of Longevity. Shou Lao is one of the three Daoist Gods of Fu (Good fortune) Lu (Prosperity) Shou (Longevity). It was discovered in 1879, under the root of a large banyan tree at Doctor's Gully, Palmerston, Port Darwin in Australia.
Shou Lao is the Daoist God of Longevity who usually has a very prominent forehead, carrying a gourd of elixir or a peach which signifies longevity. This particular figure is riding a deer which is also a common feature of Shou Lao. He was originally a mortal but became the head of the celestial department which determines a person's lifespan. He lives in a star known as 'Shou xing', Canopus in Western constellation and said to visit the earth once a year. Shou xing can only, rarely, be seen in the very low sky in the Northern hemisphere. For this reason, Chinese believed that seeing the Shou xing will bring long life and good luck.
This object was discovered in the late 19th century in Australia. Perhaps it was carried by a Chinese person who believed that coming to the South (Australia) where Shou xing can be visible will bring him or her good luck and long life.