The Goolwa.

Exceptionally rare lithograph by James Hazel Adamson (1829-1902) of Goolwa, dated 1854 at lower left, with the steamer, Lady Augusta with her distinctive twin funnels approaching the jetty on the left hand side of the image. The lithograph is based … Read Full Description

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Full Title:

The Goolwa.




Repaired tear from lower sheet edge into image, small nicks and to sheet edges, otherwise in good condition.


Hand coloured lithograph.

Image Size: 

x 330mm

Paper Size: 

x 442mm
The Goolwa. - Antique View from 1854

Genuine antique



Exceptionally rare lithograph by James Hazel Adamson (1829-1902) of Goolwa, dated 1854 at lower left, with the steamer, Lady Augusta with her distinctive twin funnels approaching the jetty on the left hand side of the image.

The lithograph is based on Adamson’s watercolour now in the Art Gallery of South Australia, with a number of changes and reversed. Both the watercolour and lithograph have the the two masted skiff in the foreground with four occupants (one rowing) as well as the half round roofed mill on the shore and the aboriginal family group at lower right.

Governor Young had encouraged the South Australian Legislative Council to offer a prize to the first paddle steamer to operate on the River Murray. In August 1850 the Council offered: ‘£4 000 to be equally divided between the first two iron steamers of not less than 40 horsepower, and not exceeding two feet (60 cm) draft of water when loaded, as shall successfully navigate the waters of the River Murray from Goolwa to the junction of the Darling….

The first paddle steamer on the River Murray was the ‘Mary Ann’ which was built by the Randell brothers and launched at Noa-No upstream of Mannum in South Australia, in February 1853. In 1853, both William Randell and Francis Cadell, had built steamers for use on the river and were to compete for the government prize.

Randell began his voyage in the Mary Ann on 15 August 1853, after abandoning an attempt earlier that year due to low water. The Mary Ann reached the Darling junction on 3 September, Euston on 12 September and the Murrumbidgee junction on 14 September, where she was overtaken by Captain Cadell in the Lady Augusta. Over the next three days the boats passed and repassed each other several times. The Lady Augusta reached Swan Hill on 17 September, four hours ahead of the Mary Ann. The Mary Ann continued up the river and reached Maiden’s Punt (Moama) on 24 September.

Lady Augusta was a wooden hull paddle steamer built by River Murray Navigation Co. in 1853. She was 105′ × 12′ 2 × 22 hp. 90 tons, built in Sydney and was the winner of the South Australian Government’s £2,000 prize (and £2,000 bonus) as the first commercial steamer on Murray.

Not in the following institutional collections:
National Gallery Australia
Art Gallery South Australia

Carroll, A. Graven Images in the Promised Land / A History of Printmaking in South Australia 1836-1981. Adelaide 1981 ::.
Kerr, J. The Dictionary of Australian Artists Painters, Sketchers, Photographers and Engravers to 1870 Melbourne 1992 ::.

National Library Australia: Bib ID 2125516 (NLA copy states, l.l., initialled l.r. on stone. /ours does not)
State Library South Australia: B 12160

James Hazel Adamson (1829 - 1902)

Adamson was a member of a mechanically minded family, but he was artistically inclined. He was born at Hawick, Scotland, on 27 June 1829, and came to South Australia on the ship Recovery in 1839. While his father and brothers were laying the foundations of a successful agricultural implement-making business in Adelaide, James Adamson was following his interest in art. In the 1850s he worked as a topographical artist and portrait painter, exhibiting 75 of his watercolours and sketches of the country around Adelaide in 1854. In 1856 Adamson moved to Melbourne where he practised as a photographer as well as an artist. By the late 1860s he was back in South Australia, at Auburn, where the expanding firm of Adamson Brothers had established a branch of their business. He was president of the Auburn Mutual Improvement Society when they held their Art Exhibition and Conversazione in December 1867. Among the exhibits were his prize painting, The Wreck of the Admella, and a display of scientific instruments which he had probably borrowed from his brother, David B. Adamson (q.v.). In January 1872 Adamson entertained the children of the Auburn Presbyterian Sabbath School with views projected with his magic lantern. A month later the local auctioneer announced that Mr J.H. Adamson was leaving the district and listed the goods he had for sale. Among the items advertised were several hundred books; a ‘very chaste and well-finished buggy designed and built by Mr Adamson for his own special use – the only one of the kind in the colony’; a portable gasworks, suitable for lighting large rooms at a small cost, and probably used to operate his magic lantern; and ‘a first-class photographic apparatus, complete, with every requisite.’ 4 It appears James Adamson moved to New South Wales, as he was exhibiting paintings in Sydney in 1874–75. However, he eventually returned to Adelaide where he died on 2 May 1902. Further details of his career as an artist, and as a photographer in Victoria, can be found in Kerr’s Dictionary of Australian Artists.

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