Image Outside gold miners' huts, Mount Dromedary, 1890s

TLF ID R3181

This is a photograph, taken by William Henry Corkhill (1846-1936) in the late 1890s, showing four gold miners standing outside a simple slab hut on the Mount Dromedary diggings in southern New South Wales. The hut stands on a narrow terrace cut into the hillside amid the bush. Firewood and housekeeping utensils lie on the ground outside. The men appear to have been engaged in peeling potatoes. They are casually dressed in shirtsleeves and three of them have their trousers tied around the knees with bowyangs. Another hut is visible in the foreground.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows a typical Australian miner's hut of the late 19th century, consisting of a single room with one door and no windows - the fireplace and chimney were built out from the rest of the dwelling to minimise the chance of the hut accidentally catching fire.
  • It shows a hut constructed largely of local pit-sawn planks with a dirt floor - corrugated iron has been used as a cheap and effective roofing material on both buildings in the picture and a slab of bark runs along the apex of the hut as ridging.
  • It shows that the men have cleared a minimal amount of bush to construct their hut - accommodation tended to be temporary as the miners often moved from place to place in their search for gold.
  • It shows tree ferns in the bush behind the hut - this suggests that the men were on the southern side of Mount Dromedary, as tree ferns prefer a cool, moist, shady habitat near streams and waterfalls, where the humidity is high.
  • It shows a hilly, inhospitable terrain, indicating that miners often suffered hardship in their attempts to find gold - they have had to carve out a narrow terrace in the hillside in order to create some flat land to accommodate their hut.
  • It indicates that the miners had no running water - water had to be collected in buckets from rivers and streams, and carried back to the hut.
  • It shows working men's clothing of collarless cotton shirts with rolled-up sleeves, and heavy moleskin trousers with bowyangs tied around the knees - a bowyang was a string or strap worn around the trouser-leg just below the knee to help support the weight of the moleskins and to keep the upper part of the trouser-leg loose, so that the wearer could kneel or stoop easily.
  • It is an example of a photograph by William Henry Corkhill, whose photography over a 20-year period from 1896 documents life at Tilba Tilba, a small farming and gold mining community in southern New South Wales.
Year level

2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Author
  • Person: William Henry Corkhill
  • Description: Author
  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: William Henry Corkhill
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
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Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements