Just arrived at Cundletown was painted in the late 1850s by Dr George Herman Bruhn. Cundletown is situated at the junction of the Dawson and Manning Rivers and it was one of the major centres of commerce in the Manning Valley at that time. The town had been laid out similar to an English village with squares and radiating roads by an English surveyor in about 1844, and the painting reflects an orderliness in the grid patterns of the house blocks. It is simply drawn and childlike or naïve in style.
Dr Bruhn was born in Germany in 1810 and came to Australia with his wife and four children in 1847, settling initially in South Australia, before moving to Victoria. In about 1856, he moved to Cundletown NSW where he was the town’s first resident physician and surgeon.
Dr Bruhn also had qualifications and experience as a Chemist and in Agriculture, Geology and Mining, and it was he who found the first gold in Victoria at Clunes in 1851, thus starting the ‘gold rushes’ in that State in the 1850s. After his short stay in Cundletown, he worked as the local doctor in Maclean, but then moved to Bundarra in the New England region of NSW in 1863, where he was again involved with mining and gold prospecting.
Dr Bruhn is known to have painted many scenes along the north coast of NSW and elsewhere, and they all used similar techniques and colours. Perhaps the paintings were made not to reflect his artistic talents, but to record local landscapes and daily activities, in much the same way as we take photographic records of our travels today.