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”

William Kilburn’s 1848 Chartist Daguerreotypes

William Kilburn's Daguerreotype photo of the Chartist meeting at Kennington Common on 10 April 1848
Figure 1: William Edward Kilburn, Great Chartist meeting at Kennington, 10 April 1848. Source: Royal Collection Trust.
Early photograph of Chartist meeting at Kennington Common in 1848.
Figure 2: William Edward Kilburn, Great Chartist meeting at Kennington (second image), 10 April 1848. Source: Royal Collection Trust.

Remarkably, a pioneering photographic record survives of the culmination of one of the most significant days in English nineteenth-century political history—William Kilburn’s fascinating Daguerreotypes (Figures 1 and 2 above) of the Chartist mass meeting held at Kennington Common (now Kennington Park), London on 10 April 1848.1William Edward Kilburn, ‘The Chartist Meeting on Kennington Common, 10 April 1848’ [two Daguerreotypes], Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 2932484 and RCIN 2932482. Among the earliest photographs of a crowd, these historic images of a demonstration widely feared of precipitating insurrection have received occasional attention from scholars since they were rediscovered in the Royal Collection in the late 1970s; however, surprisingly little detailed analysis has been published to date.2See, for example, David Goodway, London Chartism, Cambridge, 1982, pp. 141–42. Continue reading “William Kilburn’s 1848 Chartist Daguerreotypes”