The Sunday porch: Hill End


“Two women on veranda of rendered* cottage with shingle roof and front garden, Hill End, New South Wales, ca. 1872,” by Charles Baylissvia National Library of Australia Commons on flickr.

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.

4 thoughts on “The Sunday porch: Hill End

  1. For a brief moment I thought they had even ‘rendered’ plants growing in front of the house, and climbers against the wall. But I suppose those dark patches are repairs (apart from the actual climber at the right hand side, of course). You can see they tried to create a home there, not just a temporary place to live while trying to make some money (or: get rich).

  2. Like Henk, I was puzzled by the black patches I suppose they are repairs — I can’t think of any other reason — although the one on the window makes me doubt that sensible explanation.

  3. Henk and Pat:

    The “render” (new word for me) on this house has puzzled me too, and I just left the caption as the Library worded it. The facade is marked, especially around the women’s heads, has if the house is brick, but this is probably a pattern scratched and painted onto the stucco. I almost suspect that the big black spots were created deliberately to make the building appear more rustic. Could that have been a fashion at the time? But then, that would mess up the illusion of the bricks, so probably not. (I think the black spot on the window is a problem with the photograph, since it looks somewhat translucent.) The little garden is charming. Some residents of this gold rush town must have previously lived somewhere more cultured and now wanted to show off their creativity (or style or social airs).

    I was just reading that the population of the town is down to 80 this year.

  4. That photo would definitely be an inducement to move to the town but I am guessing the newcomers would be in for a bit of a surprise. I imagine their home is the exception, not the rule. I wonder if it’s the home of a merchant or someone who is making money off of the gold rush crowd rather than being part of that group.

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