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To enter Port Phillip Bay on the south coast of Australia was a difficult task. The narrow entrance, known as The Rip is subject to strong tidal streams and with stormy weather, it could  make it a perilous passage. The pilots for ships were based in Queenscliff on the western shore and were taken to the ship that had requested a pilot by a cutter and then transferred by the pilot's whale boat. A dangerous operation requiring skilled boat handlers and a steady nerve.

The illustration shows the pilot during the transfer.


Published in The Ausralasian Sketcher. 1874.


Wood engraving.


229 mm x 240 mm.


Wood engravings were first produced in Europe in the fifteenth century. During the late eighteenth century the process was reintroduced and used for inexpensive illustrated books. The nineteenth century publishing phenomena of the illustrated newspaper was made possible by use of the technique. The process allowed for the illustration and the text to be printed by a single pass through the printing press using the letterpress method.  It also made it possible for several engravers or even a team to produce and work on a single illustration at the same time.


All the major artists of the period contributed to the illustrations. Some papers acknowledged the artists on the plates but The Australasian Sketcher appears to have had a policy of anonymity. Where known, we have included the artist’s name.


SKU: REG000106
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