Charles Rasp hanging out in Silverton

Silverton Gaol Museum welcomed home a beautiful digital photographic full size replica of Charles Rasp’s portrait on Friday.  

Dr Kate Gahan, an advisor to the Broken Hill Museum, explained that the original portrait was sent away to Melbourne for essential restoration in 2019 and was completed earlier this year.

The restored original will now be housed in the Broken Hill City Art Gallery.

Dr Kate Gahan was joined by Jim Daly, Ross Wecker and Jeff Summers from the Broken Hill Historical Society to welcome Charles Rasp back to the Silverton Gaol Museum.

Art gallery staff installed the digital photographic replica of the portrait at the gaol.

The conservation team at Grimswade Conservation at Melbourne University took longer to restore the portrait than first anticipated because of COVID-19 shutdowns.

The original photographic portrait was taken by George Hasler at Johnston and O’Shaunnay’s Studio in Melbourne in 1886.

The digital reproduction of Charles Rasp now hangs in the exact spot where the original portrait had been for many years.

Historian Maja Sainisch-Plimer who visited the Silverton Gaol in 1979 was transfixed by the portrait of Rasp and described him ‘as the enigma with the sad eyes.’

Afterwards, Ms Sainisch-Plimeer gathered evidence and pieced together the details of Rasp’s pre-Australian life from museums and archives in 13 countries.

The findings of her primary research were published in the 1984 Journal and Proceedings at the Broken Hill Historical Society.

Charles Rasp founded Broken Hill on a boundary ride when he pegged out a claim in the area of what is now called Broken Hill because the original mullock hill (now known as the Line of Lode) had an indentation that made it look broken.

Gold and silver deposits were being found around the Barrier Ranges, including near Silverton, and Rasp went looking for tin with some other men.

Instead, he found vast deposits of silver, lead, and zinc.

Charles Rasp formed a mining syndicate of seven members that became the Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd (BHP).

The Broken Hill Historical Society Inc. would like to extend their gratitude to BHP for donating the restoration cost and digital replica.

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