Archive for the ‘Unknown Photographer’ Category

Elsie Ross’ Album




Elsie Ross

This album was left with Mary Shaw on the death of her cousin Elsie Ross. Growing up, Elsie Ross was just “Auntie Elsie” who usually turned up for Christmas meals. I don’t think anybody except Mary knew exactly how she was related to us. I’ve since worked out that she was my “first cousin three times removed”, her mother being the sister of my great grandfather, Thomas Mitchell Hale.

Elsie’s mother died in 1939, twenty years after her father. Her only sibling, Roy, had died in the Great War so I guess it was to be close to her cousins that she returned to Victoria from Tasmania in the 1940s. Besides my great aunts she had other cousins but I’m not sure how much she saw of them. My memories of her blur a little into those of the other real and assumed aunts but I do remember being a little spoiled by her as a very young boy.

This album is small and contains only a few photos and some of these were inserted by Mary later. There’s Elsie with her mother, Elsie as a child and the snap on the left from the 40s, maybe on her return to Melbourne. Apart from these there’s a set six photos that seem to have been taken while on a picnic around 1900. Elsie is in some but the names of the other subjects can only be guessed at. It does seem strange that there is no portrait of her father or brother and I have to wonder if these few photos are all that remain of a larger set.


Elsie and her mother



Above is Elsie with her mother, Elizabeth Hannah Ross (nee Hale). It was taken about 1885, most likely at the Piper Street Kyneton studio of photographer William Hordle Smith. The photo below is also by Smith, now in Mollison Street, and from Elsie’s age would have been taken about 1890.

More portraits by W. H. Smith can be found at the State Library of Victoria and also a group shot of the Kyneton Angling Club. Maybe Elsie’s father is in this group. As the local undertaker operating near Smith in the Kyneton High Street it is at least a possibility.





Picnic – Early 1900s

The rest of the photos in Elsie’s album seem to be amateur shots taken all on the same day. They are printed on very thin paper and are now extremely brittle. There are no captions.

Below is a group at the base of some river falls. I can only guess that this is close by Kyneton where the family were living until 1916. The Campaspe River runs through Kyneton but doesn’t seem to have much in the way of similar features. A couple of miles to the southwest of Kyneton is the Coliban River and on it are a number of dams. I’m guessing that this shot was taken somewhere near there prior to the construction of the reservoirs, on a quick read early last century.

Group at the Falls

Group at the Falls

Just left of centre in this detail from the photo above there is a photographer with his camera and wooden tripod.


With some minor variations this group below appears in all except the last of the rest of the photos. I think it is Elsie in the foreground with the white ribbon on her hat. I would put her age at mid to late teens and the photo 1900 to 1905. The ring on her finger is a mystery.

So who are the others? Is it possible that the older man and woman are her mother and father who would have been 54 and 60 in 1900? Try as I might I can’t see her mother from the 1885 photo as the older woman here. Could the man with moustache and glasses be brother Roy? Born in 1888 Roy would have only been 15 in 1903. Maybe the photo was taken later? Or is this Elsie with a beau and his family?

Look closely at the photos and you will see what looks like a box camera near the billy in front of the older man. Note also the fur around the shoulders of the younger man. Leather bound books can be seen front left of the third photo. In the second last Elsie and the young man can just be seen sitting in the grass on the other side of the dam. A water pipe crosses the top of the hill in the last photo.












Bought Ones (Tasmania Part 3)

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As well as the Launceston area prints posted previously Lavinia Shaw‘s album has these of Hobart and Mount Wellington.

While searching for a bit more on the locations I came across a series of wobbly stereoscopic images of similar Mount Wellington scenes. Not really directly relevant but here’s a link anyway.


“The Ploughed fields Mount Wellington”

The Ploughed Field on Mount Wellington

probably Samuel Clifford (1880s?)

Although the angle is ever so slightly different the one above is very much like this one by Samuel Clifford held by the Tasmanian State Library described as:

Title: The Ploughed Field on Mt Wellington
In: Tasmanian scenes P. 7
Publisher: [ca. 1873]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 11 x 19 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001124850322
Source: W.L. Crowther Library
Notes: Title inscribed in ink below image ; date noted in pencil at lower right of image on album page
Exact size 104 x 183 mm
“Tasmanian scenes” also known as “Clifford album 3”
Subjects: Rocks – Tasmania – Photographs
Hobart (Tas.) – History – 1851-1901 – Photographs
Other creators: Clifford, Samuel, 1827-1890
Variant title: Clifford album. 3

Samuel Cifford was a close associate of well known Tasmanian photographer Thomas Nevin.


“The Bower Mount Wellington”

Fern Tree Bower Mount Wellington

Unknown (1880s?)

There are many similar contemporary shots but I could find no other copy of this print. This one seems to have been taken shortly after mine – note the missing and broken ferns.


“Falls below Mount Wellington”

Silver Falls, Fern Tree Bower, Mount Wellington

Unknown (1880s?)

This one is unsigned and I can find no other copy but it is very much like this one attributed to Stephen Spurling 2nd in the National Gallery of Canada described as:

Silver Falls, Fern Tree Bower, Mount Wellington
Stephen Spurling, Attributed to
c. 1870-1899
17.9 x 23 cm
albumen silver print
Gift of Donald C. Thom, Ottawa, 1980
National Gallery of Canada (no. 33447)

The Tasmanian State Library has a few a few similar prints.


“Hobart Tasmania”

Part of a Hobart Panorama

Henry Hall Baily c1870

The University of Tasmania identifies this as the left side of a panorama described as: “Photograph from the collection of James Backhouse Walker of a view of Hobart looking towards the Eastern Shore. The panorama has been taken from Mr. Roberts’ garden with various shrubs and a Norfolk Island pine in the foreground. Henry Hall Baily is the photographer. He had studios in Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets Hobart from 1865 until 1918.”

Written by hrog

January 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

Bought Ones (Tasmania Part 2)

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Apart from the four Spurling prints of the last post, Lavinia Shaw‘s album included three more scenes from the Launceston area.


“Cataract Falls Launceston”

Cataract Falls from First Basin

William Cawston (1880s?)

The stamp on the lower right identifies the photographer as William Cawston. This can be seen more clearly on another print from the same negative held by the Tasmanian State Library and described as follows:

Title: Falls from First Basin
In: Tasmanian scenery (Cawston) P. 18
Publisher: [18–]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 16 x 21 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001124850983
Source: W.L. Crowther Library
Notes: Title inscribed in pencil below image ; undated
Exact size 155 x 208 mm
Subjects: Waterfalls – Tasmania – Launceston – Photographs
Gorges – Tasmania – Launceston – Photographs
Rocks – Tasmania – Photographs
Cataract Gorge (Launceston, Tas.) – History – 1851-1901 – Photographs
Other creators: Cawston, W. fl. 1863-1891. (William),
Variant title: Cawston album

A short biography of William Cawston can be found here.



First Basin, Cataract Falls

Unknown (1880s?)

A similar photo in the Tasmanian State Library identifies the place but the photographer remains unknown.


“The Devil’s Punch Bowl Launceston”

Devil’s Punch Bowl

William Cawston (1880s?)

Another print held by the Tasmanian State Library identifies the photographer:

Title: Devils Punch Bowl, Pen Quite
In: Tasmanian scenery (Cawston) P. 11
Publisher: [18–]
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 16 x 21 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001124850926
Source: W.L. Crowther Library
Notes: Title inscribed in pencil below image ; undated
Exact size 154 x 210 mm
Subjects: Rocks – Tasmania – Photographs
Waterfalls – Tasmania – Launceston – Photographs
Punchbowl (Launceston, Tas.) – History – 1851-1901 – Photographs
Kings Meadows Rivulet (Launceston, Tas.) – History – 1851-1901 – Photographs
Other creators: Cawston, W. fl. 1863-1891. (William),
Variant title: Cawston album

As far as I can work out this was taken near what is now the Punchbowl Reserve in what is now the southern suburbs of Launceston. I was unable to locate the falls exactly or establish whether they still look similar.

Written by hrog

January 21, 2013 at 10:06 am

Amelia’s Wedding

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These two photos are from Lavinia Shaw‘s album. Both seem to have been taken on the day of her sister, Amelia‘s wedding. The wedding was held on the 25th April 1887 at her father’s home, “Old Hiawatha“. Both groups are posed around the left hand end of the verandah on the north west corner of the house. Lavinia’s caption for both photos is “Wedding Group”. Much later Mary Shaw added names for some of the subjects.


“Wedding Group”

With Mary’s identifications in quotes, standing from the left are “Lavinia”, “Herbert”, one of the Thomas cousins(?), “Amelia Shaw & John Moore” and “Alfred Shaw”. Seated again from the left are “Eva”, “Arthur”(?), Margaret Shaw (nee Wilson), “Effie” and “Alfred (junior)”(?).

Mary didn’t identify Alfred’s second wife Margaret and for some reason she appears blurred or turned away whenever she appears in photos in the albums. I do have one clear portrait of her probably taken a little later so considering it and the dates and her placement in the album photos I don’t think there’s much doubt it is her.

I still have some doubts about Mary’s Identifications of the three older Shaw sons. To me the boy on the right looks like Ernest.


“Wedding Group”

Across the back are John Moore’s father, William Moore, 2 unknown women (although the woman on the left may appear in an earlier 1884 photo), Lavinia, Margaret Shaw, Alfred Henry Shaw, John Clarke (husband of Mary Jakeman Clarke (nee Heywood), Effie Shaw and Amelia. At the front a Thomas cousin, Eva, Arthur(?), two women (is that the other Thomas cousin on the right?), Herbert and Ernest.

There is a possible identification for one of the “unknown women”. William Moore was a Baptist minister and would have travelled from Brisbane for the wedding. a long and ardous journey in 1887. I have a 1903 photo of his wife, Margaret, who would have been about 64 at the time and it is pretty certain that she does not appear here. William and Margaret had one daughter, Elizabeth, who would have been about 25. Could this be her at with the hat (and very pinched waist) at the rear.

The women’s clothes are a clue too. Amelia, Effie and Eva are in bridal white but most of the other women are in what look like very sumptuous satin dresses with strips of velvet at cuff and lapel. Only two vary from this, the possible Moore daughter and the woman in white and black at the front. The latter rests her hand on Margaret Shaw’s lap and seems slightly distracted. Margaret had only been in Australia for six months so who other than close family would be this familiar? Her sister’s Hannah family had no girls of this age so is this the other Thomas girl? She doesn’t appear with her sister in the other wedding group so maybe she was unwell? This may explain why she is dressed so differently to to her sister. I did consider that the other seated girl might be the other Thomas sister but even though the dress conforms her features don’t seem to fit with the earlier photos.

Rebecca Thomas married a year later and lived on until 1959. Her younger sister Elinor never married and died in 1927. I’m guessing that it’s Rebecca on the left and Elinor with Margaret.

“Lawn Above the Fountain”

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This is a detail from a photograph in Lavinia’s album. It was taken on the front lawn of the family home, “Old Hiawatha” in Balaclava and it can be dated to 1884 using the children’s apparent ages and the black armbands signifying the recent death of their mother in August of that year (and possibly that of their grandmother who died shortly after in October).

Mary Shaw has added to Lavinia’s caption, “Lawn Above the Fountain”. Mary noted the armbands and attempted to identify the subjects. It is definitely Alfred Shaw Senior on the grass in pith helmet and Eva Shaw at the right hand end of the bench seat. I’m less certain about it being Alfred Junior with the dog – maybe Ernest? And the girl in the swing is likely be one of the Thomas cousins, not Charlotte Alice Harvey wife to be of Alfred Junior. So, the others from the left – Herbert standing, unknown girl, Effie, the other Thomas cousin, (Eva), (Thomas cousin), possibly Mrs Sarah Thomas (nee Heywood) and an unknown man (Sarah’s husband, Hugh Thomas had died in 1881).

It is possible that the man at the right is Alfred Shaw (junior). He would have been 26 at the time and probably already heavily involved in his father’s business and soon to become successful in his own right. There are no photos with all three sons together and the more I look the more I think that Mary has incorrectly identified both Arthur and Ernest as Alfred in various group photos.

This print is glued directly onto the album page but there are similar family prints from the same time identified as by J. W. Lindt.

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