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Life under canvas


Sketch from the Edward Snell Diary
Courtesy of the Australian Manuscripts Collection
State Library of Victoria
MS 8970

Life on the goldfields has been depicted by many, but never more colourfully than by Edward Snell in his 1850's diaries.

"The sketch represents faintly the bustle and confusion that exists in the Golden Gully. The Gully is full of holes which are tunnelled into one another under ground and I should say there are at present about 20,000 people there, all digging and 'fossicking' like mad fellows...

"The diggings look very pretty at night, thousands of fires in all directions, the flash of a gun or pistol every few seconds, two or three rows always going on, and every here or there the noise of a flute or fiddle..."

Snell captured the essence of life under canvas.


Sketch from the Edward Snell Diary
Courtesy of the Australian Manuscripts Collection
State Library of Victoria
MS 8970

"Made a damper to take to the diggins tomorrow and wrote up this log - read an old newspaper from England dated last October. Stale news in England but fresh to me. Our tent is in a precious litter and here’s a sketch of the interior of it and by Jove while I’ve been sketching I’ve forgotten the damper and it’s burnt as black as coal, there it is on the right hand side of the sketch - wouldn’t I have blown up Wornum [one of Snell’s companions] if he had done it - as it is there’s no one but myself to kick up a row with and as I’m tired of sketching I’ll just light a fresh pipe and meditate about it."


Credits

State Library of Victoria

From the State Library of Victoria’s virtual exhibition Life on the Goldfields.



 
 

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