This image shows gold miners at an unknown location probably in New South Wales. Once ore was brought to the surface, it would be sieved to remove larger material and placed in the box-like cradle adjacent to the windlass a hand powered winch used to haul ore up the shaft). Water would then be added and the cradle rocked to separate the gold from the remaining sand, gravel and other debris.
This photographic negative was taken by an un-attributed photographer between the late nineteenth century and 1935 and is part of a larger collection of 7,900 negatives once owned by Sydney bookseller, James Tyrrell.
Included in this section of the collection is a wide variety of subject matter including Sydney Streets, New South Wales landscapes, World War I portraits and images of the Harbour Bridge from the early 1930s. While many of these images remain un-attributed at present it is likely that some were taken by Charles Kerry and Henry King and were either copied by Tyrrell or one of these photographers at a later date.
Some of the photographs from Papua New Guinea appear to have been taken by Reverend Lawes and these may have been a part of the selection acquired by King in the 1890s. David Millar in his book on Charles Kerry also comments on how Tyrrell's purchase from Kerry contained a number of World War I portraits and these seem likely to be the ones in this part of the Tyrrell collection.
However other photographs, like those of Sydney Harbour Bridge, were taken after both Kerry and King had died and must have been later acquisitions by either Tyrrell or Australian Consolidated Press.
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, December, 2008
Millar, David P., Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, David Ellis Press, Sydney, 1981
McGregor, Alasdair, A Nation in the Making, Australia at the dawn of the modern era, Australian Geographic, Sydney, 2011.