Hill End, painting by Russell Drysdale
In 1947, when Russell Drysdale and fellow artist Donald Friend first visited the former New South Wales gold-mining towns of Sofala and Hill End, Friend made sketches of the picturesque and dilapidated buildings while Drysdale took photographs of the romantically ruinous streetscapes. Both were captivated by the ambience of these quintessential inland Australian townships with their dilapidated and abandoned buildings. Drysdale completed his Hill End and Sofala paintings back in his Sydney studio. This work is acknowledged as one of the finest of the series.
Inspired both by the example set by Friend and Drysdale and by the enduring nostalgic appeal of these old towns, artists today are still drawn to paint these same vernacular subjects, with some taking up residencies in Hill End offered for this very purpose.