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Goldminer1861

by James Anderson

This unusual portrait shows an Australian bushman, probably a goldminer, wearing a highly-stylised version of goldfields dress. His occupation is suggested by the pick and shovel linked together and balanced on his shoulder.

The subject’s spotless white shirt is left open at the neck, tucked into well-fitting trousers above long boots, showing evidence of recent polish. He is unshaven, as was the custom in outlying regions, and stands in a relaxed pose near the door of a bark hut. His red flannel ‘Crimean’ shirt, a kind of over-shirt popular with rural workers, is draped casually over one arm. He lights an ornately carved meerschaum pipe which suggests his European origins.