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The Gold Finder of Australia; how he went, how he fared, and how he made his fortune Illustrated with Forty-eight Magnificent Engravings, from authentic sketches taken in the Colony....
London: Clarke, Beeton & Company, 1853. Octavo, with engraved and printed title pages, and 47 other plates; a very good copy in half tan morocco by Bayntun, spine in raised bands with gilt lettering. Popular and eminently digestible account of an itinerant digger on the Australian goldfields, spuriously presented as a firsthand account yet the work of a London hack journalist seeking to capitalise on the goldrush fever of the 1850s.The book is abundantly illustrated with engravings taken from several sources, mainly the work of Samuel Thomas Gill, though he is not credited as the artist. The unacknowledged reproduction of Gill's Australian scenes was not limited to this book as pirate editions of his goldfields scenes appeared in both England and Germany during the gold rush era.According to his own account, the author arrived in Melbourne in 1852 and made his fortune at the Bendigo goldfields. Yet John Sherer was a London journalist who almost certainly never visited the colony, and composed this rollicking account from various sources both published and anecdotal. Although written under false pretences, popular accounts of the diggings such as this did much to inform popular perceptions of Australia during the 1850s. Interestingly The Gold-Finder of Australia was also issued by the publishers Clarke, Beeton & Company serially in 24 separate penny sections as a part of the 'People's Illustrated Editions' which included Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin amongst other titles.Artifice aside, the book makes for compelling if somewhat melodramatic reading: 'we found the skeleton of an unlucky Digger, who, like ourselves had evidently lost his way in the woods and evidently perished from weariness and want. The position in which he lay was revoltingly natural. His fleshless skull reclined upon the bleached bone of his arm, as if he had just lain down to repose'Of special interest is the decorated title page illustrated with goldfields scenes. The page features the Emu and Kangaroo crest bearing the motto "Advance Australia" (appropriately, the crest sits atop a mound of tools including shovels, pick-axes and a prospectors gold cradle)....
      [Bookseller: Hordern House]
Last Found On: 2015-03-06           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    


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