# 32057

Photographer unknown.

Road gang at work, Southern or Central Queensland, circa 1885.

$450.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, 190 x 235 mm, laid down on its original album leaf (now split); fully contemporary caption in ink beneath image ‘Road Gang’; a very strong print with excellent clarity and tonal range; offsetting around edges, otherwise in fine condition.

This photograph came with a group of Queensland views originally sourced from the same mid-1880s travel album. Although the location is unidentified, other views in the group were taken in Brisbane, the Toowoomba area and the Mackay-Rockhampton region. The setting is clearly urban (not rural), and one of the buildings in the background at right is a typical “Queenslander”, raised off the ground on stilts.

The road gang in this animated shot comprises around 25 men hard at work with picks, shovels and tamping irons; an overseer; and two horse-and-cart drivers waiting on either side of the already flattened stretch of road in the foreground. There is nothing in the image to suggest that the labourers were convicts performing “hard labour”, although it is possible that this was the case.