Hill End was a gold rush town. At the time of this photo, “it had a population estimated at 8,000 served by two newspapers, five banks, eight churches, and twenty-eight pubs,” according to Wikipedia. The rush was over by the early 20th century. In 2006, the town was down to 166 people.
The photographer came to Hill End as an assistant to a traveling photographer who had been contracted to take pictures of the area that could be used to advertise the mining colony and attract new residents.
*Render is stucco.