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85/1284-2129 Glass negative, half plate, 'Coogee', Kerry and Co., Sydney, c. 1884-1917. Click to enlarge.

Glass negative, half plate, ‘Coogee’, Kerry and Co., Sydney, c. 1884-1917

Made by Kerry, Charles H in Coogee, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1884-1917.

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...

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-2129

Object Statement

Glass negative, half plate, 'Coogee', Kerry and Co., Sydney, c. 1884-1917

Physical Description

Glass negative, half plate, 'Coogee', Kerry and Co., Sydney, c. 1884-1917.

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image depicts Coogee Beach, looking south. The image is centered on the activity of groups of people on the beach. The people on the beach are predominantly men, only one woman and a small girl can be seen in the background. The men are dragging a net in from the water. This may be a temporary shark net. The men are wearing hats, trousers, shirts and vests. One man has removed his shirt and is wearing only trousers and a vest. Three men on horses are depicted in the centre of the image. Two men in bathing suits are standing at the waters edge. A group of children in bathing suits can be seen in the water, within the net. The children are all facing the beach and appear to be leaving the water. A boy wearing bathing trunks is depicted knee deep in the water, outside the net, in the foreground of the image. Two naked children can be seen standing with the central group of people on the beach. Three rowboats are depicted on the sand. One rowboat, in the lower left corner of the image, is attached to the net via a long piece of rope. This boat is inscribed 'L.F.B. No 708'. A basket can also be seen on the sand in the foreground of the image.

More people on horses can be seen in the background, three of the horses are in the water and one horse on the sand is harnessed to a wagon. The suburb of Coogee is depicted in the background of the image. An esplanade or sea wall and buildings including houses, commercial buildings and the spire of a church can be seen. Large pine trees can also be seen at the southern end of the beach. The caption, studio mark and number are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

10/37 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 351 Kerry Studio Number

Marks

Studio mark on plate emulsion lower right, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink 'K. & CO.' Studio number and caption on plate emulsion verso, lower right below studio mark, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink '351. COOGEE.'
Inscription in plate emulsion verso upper right corner, scratched by hand '350 Coogee'.

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 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

Glass negative, half plate, 'Coogee', Kerry and Co., Sydney, c. 1884-1917 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 October 2019, <https://ma.as/28790>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/28790 |title=Glass negative, half plate, 'Coogee', Kerry and Co., Sydney, c. 1884-1917 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 October 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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