In 1904, Geelong Gallery faced some hardship. In their annual meeting, they found that 1903 had seen significantly fewer attendees than 1902, mainly due to the entrance fee introduced for particular works. In 1903, they recorded 14,305 attendees, which was a third less than 1902.
With attendance low, Geelong Gallery hoped for a bigger share of grant money from the government in 1904. Unfortunately, the state government decided to scrap their art gallery grants, seriously affecting all the galleries in Victoria.
The loss of the government funding cast doubts on Geelong Gallery’s future, with their only hope to improve member subscription to replace the funds lost by the removal of the grant.
Geelong Gallery managed to get by in 1904 without government assistance, but little progress was made in that year without the extra funds. Geelong Gallery was gifted some more works for the collection in that year, including another work from Sir Howard Hitchcock, a consistent and generous donor to the permanent collection in its early years. He donated the pictured work, The village fleet under repairs (1886) by Arthur Burrington.