Out of Work

The Story Behind This Mural

In 1935, during the Great Depression, Robert Brown, a sixty-eight year old miner who was unable to find a job in Maryborough, packed his swag and headed south looking for work.  He trekked south through Queensland and into New South Wales,  stopping a few days here and there to replenish his provisions by working on stations – mostly doing fencing.  When he reached White Cliffs, he made a barrow to carry his possessions.  Due to the dry climate he carried five gallons of fresh water as well as his usual provisions.  He walked to Lightning Ridge opal field where he found an opal worth £150; however it was stolen during the night.  He worked his way to Canberra, where he was denied the age pension. Robert reached Melbourne in March 1936 and then made his way to South Australia.  From Eucla, Robert struggled across the Nullarbor Plains with only a half dozen oranges as food.   His water gave out. Famished and thirsty he struggled to a fettler’s camp.  Four weeks later he reached Perth where he wheeled his barrow to the Perth Old Men’s Home. His marathon took just under three years, and nearly 10 000 miles over the sun-scorched, inhospitable land.   

Mural Location


About the Artist

Patrick Phillips, the artist, was born profoundly deaf. He grew up as a teenager in Maryborough and has a long association with Saint Mary’s Catholic Parish.

Being deaf he learnt to communicate through drawing and his art.

He is a successful artist who has exhibited nationally.

Contributors to this Mural

The Maryborough Mural Project relies entirely on the generosity of volunteers and sponsors from our local community.   The artist’s commission was generously sponsored by Councillor James Hansen’s Discretionary Funds.  The Committee would like to thank Mr Ashley Bower, Mrs Jan Carlson, Mrs Tracey Christoffel, Mr Mal Finlayson, Ms Tracey Gray, Mrs Dawn Vanderwolf,  and Mr Rai Whitten for their time and expertise in coordinating this mural.  The Committee also thanks the following businesses for their kind and generous sponsorship of this mural: