This work shows a goat tethered in the grounds of the Melbourne Public Library, on the site of the former La Trobe Library building. The gates and driveway were moved a few feet east in the early 1960s, and the driveway became the site of the ER Pitt building in 1997.
The view looks north to the walls of the Old Melbourne Gaol and across a vacant site which, in 1887, became the site of the Working Men's College (now the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). The small building to the left of the picture is probably the Insolvency Court, demolished several years later for extensions to the college. The parts of the gaol visible in this painting were also demolished in 1937 to make way for further extensions to the Working Men's College.
At the time of this painting, McCubbin was the drawing master at the National Gallery Art School, which occupied buildings on the La Trobe Street frontage, close to the area depicted here.