Fall of the Weatherboard, New South Wales c. 1840sBy Remembering the Past Australia / May 2, 2022 / Australia / 0 Comments
Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, Australia
This engraving, by Thomas Heawood, was made from a mirror image of John Skinner Prout’s drawing of the Weatherboard Falls, in the 1840s. Wentworth Falls was originally known as Weatherboard because of the weatherboard construction of the first building in the area. In 1879 the name became Wentworth Falls due to other towns already having the name Wentworth.
Cox’s Weatherboard Hut
On 8th October 1814, The Weatherboard Hut was completed at the site on the eastern side of the Jamison Creek, approximately at the rail embankment below the road bridge at Wentworth Falls. It was used to house the men and tools as they pushed the road forward (Blaxland Road). The straight stretch that borders the Blue Mountains Historical Society was constructed by Lieutenant Thomas Hobby and called by William Cox, Hobby’s Reach.
The hut was used as a military post by soldiers stationed there to check passes allowing travellers to use the road. It ceased to be used in approximately 1832.
“Australia” vol. I, 1873; Edwin Carton Booth F.R.C.I. with drawings by (John) Skinner Prout, N. (Nicholas) Chevalier, &c. &c.
About the Artist:
John Skinner Prout was born on 19 December 1805, in Plymouth England, the eldest child of John Prout and Maria Skinner. His father was the elder brother of the leading English watercolour painter Samuel Prout (1783-1852). In 1828 he married Maria Heathilla Marsh, also an accomplished painter and musician (harpist). They had eight children, four daughters and four sons.
In 1840 John Skinner Prout emigrated to Sydney, accompanied by his wife and eight children, arriving on 14 December 1840. He brought with him a complete lithographic printing press, and in early 1841 he started producing lithographed versions of his drawings of Sydney. For the next 3 years, he followed the route of many artists of the period, journeying west across the Blue Mountains towards Bathurst, south to Broulee and the Illawarra district, and north to Newcastle and Port Stephens. Returning from these travels, Prout would work up his sketches into finished works in lithographs, watercolour and oil paint for sale.
In January/February 1844 Prout moved to Hobart and began drawing a new lithographic series, Tasmania Illustrated. Here Prout was more successful, drawing the patronage of the Governor Sir John Franklin and his wife.
In June 1848 Prout and his family returned to England. Upon his return, at the Western Literary and Scientific Institution, Leicester Square, he exhibited his work on life in the Australian colonies and lectured on convicts, bushrangers and Aboriginals. He lived in London for the rest of his life.
From the collection of:
The British Library