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85/1284-1472 Photographic negative, wreck of the German warship 'Adler', gelatin / glass, photographer unknown, published by Kerry and Co, Apia, Upolu, Samoa, 1899. Click to enlarge.

Wreck of the German warship 'Adler', Apia, Upolu, Samoa, 1899

Made
This photograph is one of around 30 images taken during the outbreak of hostilities in Samoa in 1899. This photograph is of the wreck of the German warship 'Adler' which was thrown onto the reef in Apia harbour in 1889. This image was probably taken in 1899 long after this event.

This war was the legacy of an earlier dispute between the Samoan chiefs Tamasese and Malietoa which had erupted in 1888-1889 after the heavy handed involvement of British, German and American in Apia, on Upolu. In August 1898 Samoa's King Malietoa Laupepa died and his long-time rival Mata'afa returned from exile supported by the German forces. This act was strongly opposed by the British and Americans who backed Malietoa's son, Tanu, and in January 1899 a war, similar to the one ten yeas previously, erupted in Apia.

On March the 14th the American heavy cruiser U.S.S. Philadelphia shelled Apia in an attempt to dissolve a provisional government set up by Mata'afa and the Germany. Instead it inflamed the hostilities and Mata'afa's forces attacked houses in Apia, particularly the Tivoli Hotel where three American sailors were killed.

On the 30th of March a British and American force under Commander Sturdee, along with about one hundred Samoans under Lieutenant Gaunt, made their way along the coast driving small numbers of Mata'afa's men before them. On the first of April they were attacked by Mata'afa's men and seven were killed.

The deadlock was broken by a ceasefire announced on the 25th of April 1899 and soon after a treaty was agreed to by all parties which recognised the independence of the Samoan Government. In doing so it also divided European interests so that Germany received the western Samoan islands with Savaii and Upolu, the United States received the eastern islands with its capital at Pago Pago on Tutuila and Britain withdrew from the area for recognition of rights on Tonga and the Solomon Islands.

This photographic negative was published by the Sydney firm Charles Kerry & Co. and is part of the Powerhouse Museum's Tyrrell collection which contains over 2,900 glass plate negatives by Kerry & Co. Although a few appear to be from the 1880s most were produced between 1892 and 1917. Over this period, and well into the early 1900s, prints from these negatives appeared in many Australian publications and albums of views. In 1903 the company began producing postcards from these negatives, further establishing the images as some of the most significant and best known early views of New South Wales.

Some of the more significant themes covered by the collection include; views of New South Wales, Queensland, country towns, Sydney, Indigenous Australians, the South Pacific, rural life, native flora and fauna, and sentimental views. In addition a number of significant events from the 1900s are covered by the collection including; embarkation of troops for the Boer War, Hordens fire, the Inauguration of the Commonwealth in 1901, the arrival of the Great White Fleet and the Burns verses Johnson boxing match at Rushcutters Bay in 1908.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, May, 2009

References
Kennedy, Paul M. The Samoan Tangle; a Study in Anglo-German-American Relations, University of Queensland Press, Queensland, 1974
Millar, David, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
Stevenson, Robert Louis, A Footnote to History; Eight years of Trouble in Samoa, 1892, transcribed from the 1912 Swanston edition by David Price, 2005, Project Gutenberg eBook, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/536/536.txt
Tyrrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrrell, Sydney, 1929

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-1472

Object Statement

Photographic negative, wreck of the German warship 'Adler', gelatin / glass, photographer unknown, published by Kerry and Co, Apia, Upolu, Samoa, 1899

Physical Description

Photographic negative, wreck of the German warship 'Adler', gelatin / glass, photographer unknown, published by Kerry and Co., Apia, Upolu, Samoa, 1899

A silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image features a shipwreck in an estuary at low tide. The large hull of the ship has split in two. Buildings can be seen in the background on the land behind the ship. The caption, studio number and studio mark are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

72F/52 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 2816 Kerry Studio Number

Marks

Handwritten caption and studio number along the bottom of the negative reads '2816 WATER OF GERMAN MAN OF WAR KERRY Photo Syd'.

Dimensions

Width

215 mm

Production

Notes

Charles Kerry was born in 1858 and by 1885 was running a studio in partnership with C. D. Jones. This partnership lasted until 1892, when Charles became sole owner and changed the studio's name to Kerry and Co.

By 1890 the company was employing a number of photographers who would become famous in their own right. George Bell who covered rural New South Wales was employed in 1890 and Harold Bradley was doing outdoor work and covering events around Sydney by 1899.

Kerry continued to work in the field and in 1895 he took photographs of Royal National Park for New South Wales Government, photographed Queensland artesian bores and was employed by the New South Wales Government to travel the state and photograph Indigenous Australians. In 1897 Kerry led the first party to reach the summit of Mt Kosciuszko in winter conditions and photographed the Jenolan caves.

By 1900 Kerry had turned his studio into one of the largest and most respected photographic establishments in the colony. His new four story premises at 310 George St were designed by the architect H. C. Kent and the third floor studios alone could accommodate 70 people wanting their portraits taken.

In 1913 Kerry retired leaving the running of the studio to his nephew, unfortunately the business did not do well and Kerry and Co. closed its doors in 1917. Kerry himself died in 1928.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, January, 2009

References
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
David, Millar, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Tyrrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrrell, Sydney, 1929

History

Notes

This photographic negative is one of 2900 Kerry & Co. photographs in the Powerhouse Museum's 'Tyrrell Collection' once owned by Sydney bookseller, James Tyrrell. Almost all of these negatives are 21.5 x 20.3 cm (10 x 8 inch) glass plates and many of those now held by the Powerhouse Museum collection would have been used to create postcards. In addition to the Kerry & Co. Studio images, the Tyrrell Collection at the Powerhouse Museum includes glass plate negatives published by Henry King and a number of other negatives by unattributed photographers

James Tyrrell used the images by Kerry & Co. and Henry King to produce his own booklets and views of New South Wales but although full of iconic Australian images, the collection does not appear to have been fully utilised by Tyrrell.

In 1980 the collection was purchased by Australian Consolidated Press who published a limited series of 2000 contact prints from the collection. Housed in boxes copies of these were given to the State Library of New South Wales and the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney.

In 1985 Australian Consolidated Press donated the collection to the Powerhouse keeping a set of copy prints for themselves. The collection at this time consisted of 7,903 glass plate negatives and 7,916 contact positive prints.

A further 2,500 Kerry & Co. negatives are held in the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney, although these do not appear to have been acquired from Charles Kerry and Co. by Tyrrell.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, January, 2009

References
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
David, Millar, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Tyrrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrrell, Sydney, 1929

Cite this Object

Harvard

Wreck of the German warship 'Adler', Apia, Upolu, Samoa, 1899 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 March 2021, <https://ma.as/28060>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/28060 |title=Wreck of the German warship 'Adler', Apia, Upolu, Samoa, 1899 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 March 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}