The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
85/1284-141 Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Washing Wool', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917. Click to enlarge.

Glass plate negative

This photo shows wool being washed at Enngonia Bore, near Bourke, New South Wales. In the dusty outback of NSW, dirt can make up more than half the weight of a sheep's fleece. Farmers once washed sheep in rivers and pools before shearing them. Without the dirt, the fleece became more attractive to buyers and cheaper to transport.

When sheep were first introduced to Australia, the sheep were washed before being shorn. By 1840, wool was being washed after it was removed from the sheep. Many …


Object No.


Object Statement

Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Washing Wool', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917

Physical Description

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image depicts wool being washed after shearing. The wooden washing or scouring area is depicted in the centre of the image. This area is located outside a woolshed. Three Chinese men are depicted washing or scouring the wool. They are using long wooden handled forks to scour the wool in vats of water. The wool is then being scooped out into piles on a wooden deck in the scouring area. A system of pipes can be seen behind the men leading to the vats. Two young boys can be seen in the background of the image, they are looking towards the scouring area. Trees, farm buildings and a sheepdog are also depicted in the background of the image. The caption, studio number and studio mark are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

49/25 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 222 Kerry Studio Number


Caption, studio number and studio mark on plate emulsion verso lower left corner, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink 'WASHING WOOL. / 222. Kerry. / Sydney.'
Inscription in plate emulsion verso top edge, scratched by hand '222'.



215 mm

Cite this Object


Glass plate negative 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 29 March 2023, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Glass plate negative |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=29 March 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}