Historic Photographs of Early Hydroelectric Schemes at the Gara and Styx Rivers near Hillgrove, NSW

The New England region of northern New South Wales (NSW) has an interesting history of hydroelectric generation dating from the late 1880s. As I’ve noted in this overview of the earliest examples in colonial Australia, NSW’s first hydroelectric installation commenced operation at the Mount Sheba gold mine at Nundle in late 1889 (see the map below).1Sydney Morning Herald, 4 November 1889, p. 7; Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 February 1890, p. 24Sydney Mail, 24 May 1890, p. 1168. Continue reading “Historic Photographs of Early Hydroelectric Schemes at the Gara and Styx Rivers near Hillgrove, NSW”

Andrew Cunningham’s 1870 Captain Thunderbolt Photographs

Woodcut engraving of Frederick Ward published in June 1870
Figure 1: Frederick Ward, alias Thunderbolt. Source: Illustrated Sydney News, 8 June 1870, p. 1.

On 25 May 1870 the bushranger Frederick Ward (also known as Thunderbolt or Captain Thunderbolt) was shot and killed by a police trooper named Alexander Walker at Kentucky Creek, near Uralla, in northern New South Wales. In the following days an Armidale photographer named Andrew Cunningham captured at least ten photographs pertaining to Ward’s death. These included three relatively well known images of Ward’s corpse and two portraits of Alexander Walker (see Figure 2 below). Five much lesser known outdoor scenes were also taken by Cunningham at Kentucky Creek, including three photographs of the site where Ward was ‘captured’. Continue reading “Andrew Cunningham’s 1870 Captain Thunderbolt Photographs”

The All England Eleven’s 1861-62 Australian Tour and Early Cricket Photography at the Sydney Domain

Photograph of the first All England team that toured Australia prior to their departure from England in 1861.
Figure 1: The All England team prior to their departure from England in 1861. Source: William Caffyn, Seventy one not out, after p. 172.

The All England cricket team’s tour of 1861–62 generated unprecedented interest and excitement in the Australian colonies. Cricket had surged in popularity in Australia in the mid 1850s, when inter-colonial matches began, and when Victoria and (to a lesser extent) New South Wales (NSW) were transformed by gold rushes. In 1861 two Melbourne restaurateurs, Felix Spiers and Christopher Pond, contracted a team of English professionals captained by H.H. Stephenson to tour Australia. Stephenson and William Caffyn had been members of the pioneering 1859 All England tour to North America; however, the Australian venture—by virtue of distance—was a much longer undertaking, lasting well over six months.1William Caffyn, Seventy one not out: the reminiscences of William Caffyn, Edinburgh, 1899, chs. 14, 17. Continue reading “The All England Eleven’s 1861-62 Australian Tour and Early Cricket Photography at the Sydney Domain”

Early Hydroelectric Installations in Colonial Australia

While major Australian hydroelectric developments in the twentieth century (particularly the Snowy Mountains Scheme) have received considerable attention from historians, this short essay looks at the very earliest colonial hydroelectric installations.1For social histories see Brad Collis, Snowy: the making of modern Australia, Palmerston, 2002; Noel Gough, Mud, sweat & snow: memories of Snowy workers, 1949–1959, Moonee Ponds, 1999; Siobahn McHugh, The Snowy: the people behind the power, Pymble, 1995. For Tasmania see Marilyn Quirk, Echoes on the mountain: remarkable migrant stories from the hydro villages of the Tasmanian central highlands, Heybridge, 2006. In order to keep the survey manageable I’ve limited it to the first six examples which were all built for electric lighting purposes in the 1880s. Continue reading “Early Hydroelectric Installations in Colonial Australia”