Drawing the Downs: Thomas Domville Taylor
Timothy Roberts, HGRC Visiting Fellow, 2019 to 2021

Interior of Domville Taylor’s hut, Tummaville, Darling Downs, Queensland, 1847 / Thomas Domville Taylor (National Library of Australia, call number PIC MSR Volume 1191 #PIC/20299/42)

Taylor’s father, Mascie Domvile Taylor died on 9 October 1845. [23] It is perhaps for this reason that Taylor departed Australia for London on 16 June 1846 aboard the General Hewitt, stopping in Pernambuco during the voyage. [24] Tummaville was acquired in 1846 by Thomas Gore, brother of St George Richard Gore who owned neighbouring station Yandilla. [25] Taylor never returned to Australia, though keen to preserve his memory of his time in Queensland, in 1847 he commissioned Chester-based artist George Pickering to complete an ink wash sketch of the interior of his hut at Tummaville. Taylor died on 14 September 1889, at Trouville Road, Clapham Common, and was survived by his wife Charlotte. [26]

Taylor’s drawings, journal and sketchbooks are among the first graphic and written accounts of life on the Darling Downs. Their importance lies not only in their dates of execution, but the fact that together present a rare first-hand account of the lifestyles of the earliest settlers in the region, as well as consider the increasingly tense yet complex relationship between indigenous and settler communities in this part of Australia. Further analysis of these materials, particularly Taylor’s journal, will reward researchers with insights into early observations of indigenous cultures in central Queensland, as well as reveal how the earliest European communities negotiated the terrain to create livelihoods in the region.

23. Christopher Pemberton Hodgson, ‘Leichardt’s Party’, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 October 1845, p. 2.
24. William Phillimore Watts Phillimore, ed., Shropshire Parish Registers: Diocese of Lichfield, vol 1. Shropshire: Shropshire Parish Register Society, 1900, p. iv (between pp. 250-251).
25. Sydney Morning Herald, 17 June 1846, p. 2.
26. Sydney Morning Herald, 18 February 1846, p. 4.
27. Flintshire Observer, Mining Journal and General Advertiser for the Counties of Flint and Denbigh, 21 September 1889, p. 6.