Cartoon of the week

Heaphy, Charles 1820-1881 :Ye diggings. [1852]

This is one of a curious set of cartoons done in 1852 by Charles Heaphy, relating to New Zealand’s gold rush. Heaphy (1820-1881) was an English-born New Zealand explorer and first soldier of the New Zealand armed forces to be awarded the Victoria Cross. He was also a noted artist and executed several works of early colonial life in New Zealand.

It shows a group of officers from H. M. S. Pandora on a goldmining picnic at the Coromandel, occupied with goldmining, eating and drinking and hunting. The cartoon shows:

Ye Gold Commissioner speculateth on ye amount of ye licence fees [i. e Charles Heaphy, seated cross-legged on the top of a hill]; Jones lot – no. 1. Bob. [Theodore Morton Jones atop another hill shooting at something, with the dog Bob at his side, top right]; Experiment on ye ductility of ye metal [ an officer in the centre of the picture, sliding head first down a hill into his pan of gold]; An erratic boulder [another officer falling on his back, centre picture]; Preparatory process moistening ye clay [an officer lying back emptying a bottle of alcohol]; Good diggings [an officer with food in both hands, about to place a forkful in his mouth, left foreground]; Ye thoughtful provideth for the future. Dove Cot No. 2 [an officer carting a heavy wooden gold cradle]; Shiney [i.e. shiny?]; surfacing [two men, one flat on his face, scratching the ground, with a pan of gold in front of them]; Ye nugget [ a very small gold nugget, centre left foreground]; Ye Master contemplateth his nugget [i. e. the ship’s Master viewing a minute nugget]; Clay sheweth igneous action [several clay smoking pipes on the ground, right foreground]; Variety of quartz [the drinking mugs on the ground, right foreground]; Ye medical officer prepareth to open (quartz) skin [the Pandora’s doctor, Dr John Jolliffe, “lancing” a rock from which gold is “bleeding” into a pan held by another officer]

Heaphy, Charles 1820-1881 :Ye diggings. [1852]. Heaphy, Charles 1820-1881 :How we went to the diggings and what we did there. In a series of cartoons. [1852]. Ref: E-299-003. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22823469

Thanks to Lloyd Carpenter for pointing this out. For more about Australasian gold rushes, see Lloyd’s book Rushing for Gold at



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3 Responses to Cartoon of the week

  1. It would be lovely if you added some sharing buttons such as Twitter! (WP Settings)

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