Union camp, Barcaldine, 1891

Union camp, Barcaldine, 1891. Located at the head point of the central railway, western Queensland, Barcaldine became a focal point of conflict during the shearers’ strike of 1891. Up to 1000 unionists camped outside the town at Lagoon Creek. On the lookout for ‘trouble makers’, armed troopers camped in the town and guarded the rail head. This painting was discovered in the office of the Australian Workers Union and depicts life at the Lagoon camp. Tents line the banks of the creek while men are standing around fires conversing or simply enjoying a relaxing pipe. In the bottom left corner a library tent is shown with a sign out the front. In the distance the town and an artesian drilling derrick are visible. Little is known about the artist, ‘Chapman’, and whether the painting is an accurate depiction of the camp or based on second hand accounts, but it remains one of the few artistic representations of the places created out of the shearers’ strike. Collection of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Date captured: 
1 June 2011
Date created: 
1 June 2011
Date issued: 
1 January 1893
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
Barcaldine, QLD
23° 33' 8.8812" S, 145° 17' 18.6756" E