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85/1284-2127 Glass negative, half plate, 'Pyrmont Bridge', Kerry and Co., Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1902-1917. Click to enlarge.

Glass plate negative, ‘Pyrmont Bridge’, by Kerry & Co.

Made by Kerry, Charles H in Pyrmont, New South Wales, c. 1902-1917.

A vast array of horse-drawn vehicles are seen in this photograph of Pyrmont Bridge in Sydney. In 1894 a tally was taken of the horse-drawn vehicles crossing the bridge between 10 am and 6 pm. It comprised:

10 horse cabs (Hansom cabs)
386 buggies
10 horse buses
2521 two-wheeled horse-drawn carts
395 four wheel wagons
40 meat vans
97 horsemen
360 animals alone
7359 pedestrians

The bridge opened 14 times and 30 vessels passed through. Even before there were motor cars, large cities had to deal w...

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-2127

Object Statement

Glass negative, half plate, 'Pyrmont Bridge', Kerry and Co., Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1902-1917

Physical Description

Glass negative, half plate, 'Pyrmont Bridge', Kerry and Co., Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c.1902-1917.

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image depicts the Pyrmont Bridge, Sydney. This image is printed in David P. Millar's book 'Charles Kerry's Federation Australia'. Millar states that the image has been taken from the operating tower of Pyrmont Bridge. The image looks back towards the city and the bridge scene dominates the centre and foreground of the image. Numerous horsedrawn vehicles are depicted including hansom cabs, omnibuses and commercial and private carriages and wagons. A Bowrey Brother's vehicle can be seen in the foreground travelling towards the city. A Metropolitan Ice Company Ltd. vehicle can be seen in the foreground travelling towards Pyrmont. Waugh's Pyrmont omnibus service can be seen in the background. Other vehicles are depicted carrying materials such as wool, wood and boxes and bags of supplies.

The background of the image depicts the densely developed urban environment of the Sydney city business district. Town Hall can be seen in the upper right side of the image and the dome of the Queen Victoria Building can be partially seen in the upper left side of the image. Steamers can be seen docked at Darling Harbour on the left side of the image. Pedestrians can be seen crossing Pyrmont Bridge on both the left and right sides. A street sweeper is depicted on the right side of the image, standing on the footpath. The caption, studio mark and number are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

14/34 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 329 Kerry Studio Number

Marks

Studio mark, studio number and caption on plate emulsion verso lower left, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink 'K. & CO. / 329. PYRMONT BRIDGE'. Inscription in plate emulsion verso lower left corner, scratched by hand '329'.

Dimensions

Width

165 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
Tyrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrell, 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. Of these 493 glass plates were damaged but usable and 13 plates totally broken.

A further 2,500 Kerry & Co. negatives are held in the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney.

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
Tyrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrell, Sydney, 1929

Cite this Object

Harvard

Glass plate negative, 'Pyrmont Bridge', by Kerry & Co. 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 June 2019, <https://ma.as/28788>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/28788 |title=Glass plate negative, 'Pyrmont Bridge', by Kerry & Co. |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 June 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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