Gold Panning in Oakey Creek, 1881

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122.00 (cm)
91.40 (cm)
4.00 (cm)
Calculated at Checkout

Jennifer Marshall

Size 122(W) x 91.4(H) Mixed media on sealed and primed hardboard, Double framed


Within days of gold being reported a gold rush began and prospectors came from near and far. Claims were pegged out all along Oakey creek and the gullies that ran to the west among the hills. By the beginning of April 1881 Mount Britton was a small town of tent-dwellers, with Gibson’s Store and Butcher’s Shop the first of many bark and sapling buildings to be erected. In this painting prospectors are busy panning, cradling and puddling for gold in that part of Oakey Creek adjacent to the township of Mount Britton. Below the mountains Sydney Heads and the Marling Spikes you can see Gibson’s Store and Butcher’s shop among the diggers tents on the town flat. The track that leads past his shop and heads down to the creek behind these prospectors continues over the creek and up to the reef mines that were dug above Nuggety Gully.



The portly gentleman in this painting is the German doctor whose claim was jumped by three Italian scoundrels while he was giving evidence at a court hearing in Nebo. For three days the doctor vented his fury on them, and having an eloquent mastery of the most colourful parts of the English language, he attracted an increasingly larger crowd glad for the entertainment. The third day a lone young Irish police constable was appointed to the town and the doctor thought he’d get justice at last. He took the constable down to where the claim-jumpers were hard at work and told his story, but the constable refused to do anything. Furious the doctor exploded with a verbal tirade, which had no effect on the constable, but had the crowd laughing. Exasperated, the doctor retreated to his tent and returned with an ancient blunderbuss with which he threatened the now terrified constable, who hard up against the creek bank had turned a sickly grey. This tactic did not work either, so seeing a curious parrot overhead the doctor aimed and fired. A great blast, a puff of smoke and the parrot flew off squawking leaving one small feather to land at the constable’s feet.