S.T Gill was an illustrator; an illustrator of life in early colonised Australia and as such had few pretensions. Gill had come to Victoria from South Australia early in 1852 and his populist and humourous work depicting life on the gold-fields was clearly successful, judging by the number of variant versions and prints after Gill's drawings that now exist. Furthermore Gill was able to captalise on Victoria's developing sense of its own historical importance, which began to be felt strongly in the late 1860s. In 1869 the newly established Melbourne Public Library commissioned Gill to produce a set of 50 drawings depicting life on the gold-fields based on the drawings he had made at the height of the gold rushes of the early 1850s." (A Sayers, Australian Art, Melbourne, 2001, p.63)
Highly romanticised works such as Wayfaring Diggers have by far proved to be the most highly saught after of the artist's oeuvre. Here depicted is a pair of healthy young men comfortably contemplating the riches they are undoubtedly just about to discover. This ideal of what life was thought to be like on the gold-fields gave the nineteenth century spectator an apparently true sense of the life of a miner. To a large degree it is this romantic view that attracts the modern day viewer to contemplate this extraordinary chapter in the story of our relatively short settled history.