"The Whaler" is the most prominent image in our old Club. There are several works showing the image around our walls, from photgraph to oil painting, they are all by Chas E Astley 1908. The two main works are an original oil painting (Ex Dono Mr T.S. Bellair) and a framed photograph of the same (Ex Dono W.M.J. Walsh) with title "The Whaler", and subtitled, "You talk about ‘ard times", complete with a paper clipping of December 22, 1931 - a satirical piece by journalist Will Carter which describes them as "odoriferous old schemers of the road", and that "the most conspicuous of all was the Murrumbidgee Whaler"
The Artist - Charles Ernest Astley (b 1869 Deptford, Kent, UK d June 1929 Warwick, Queensland, Australia) is described by Design and Art Australia Online as one whose "paintings were no more than competent", though never-the-less Chas was "a significant cultural figure in both Toowoomba and Warwick".
However it is not the brush strokes, but the image itself that our members take heed of. The Waler shoulders the Bar, a conscience moment, as to that which sets one apart from one's present comfortable circumstances to a far paler state - could it be just as simple as a failed season, or a bad hand?
The swagman is an image of rural Australia that persisted during the two periods of growth for our Riverine Club.
Swagmen were men "down on their luck". Lore would have it that they only took food and clothing in exchange for some menial work, such as a splitting a pile of wood. Hearsay puts it otherwise, that oft the exchange was schemed to the swaggy's favour. Either way these men were "waltzing Matilda" along the roads and Murrumbidgee and had the respect and help of many landholders along the way.