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85/1284-2150 Glass negative, half plate, 'Mt. Kembla Road', Kerry and Co, Sydney, c. 1884-1917. Click to enlarge.

'Mt Kembla Road' by Kerry and Co from the Tyrrell collection

Made
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, …

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-2150

Object Statement

Glass negative, half plate, 'Mt. Kembla Road', Kerry and Co, Sydney, c. 1884-1917

Physical Description

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format, inscribed 'Mount Kembla Road'. Four houses constructed of wood are depicted in the centre right of the image. The houses are bordered by wooden fences. Three men can be seen standing on a dirt roadway in front of the houses. A second dirt roadway is depicted on the left side of the image and a man and woman can be seen walking on this road. The two roads are separated by trees and bushes. The background of the image depicts the surrounding bush environment with vegetation including eucalyptus trees. The caption, studio mark and number are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

Notes from independant researcher JohnStafford: "The image " Mount Kembla road" is actually a view of the village of Kembla Heights. The road of the left of the two roads was later named "Soldiers Road " and more recently re-named Harry Graham Drive in recognition of Mr Harry Graham, a local baker and former Mayor of Wollongong. This road lead to Mount Keira (in the distance ) and beyond also to the upper Cordeaux River Dam number two after making a left turn off this road. The road near the houses (on the right ) eventually lead to the Mount Kembla Colliery and was used by Coal Miners to walk to and from from their occupation at the Coal mine and for the use of horse and carts. Later, as the traffic loads were heavier such as motor lorries, the use of this road to the mine was used by pedestrians only and the part of this road past the houses became overgrown and was just a track through the trees leading to the Coal Mine. The road on the left was then upgraded for heavier traffic. Mount Kembla (Mountain) is perhaps 2 km behind the photographer and Mount Kembla (village ) is perhaps 2.5km behind and to the right, and 300 metres nearer sea level in relation to the photographer who is facing in a northerly direction. The fork in the road, as seen in image, is presently where High Street (right) merges with Harry Graham Drive (left) in the village of Kembla Heights, N.S.W." (Email correspondence, 1/7/2017)

10/180 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 611 Kerry Studio Number

Marks

Studio number, caption and studio mark on plate emulsion verso lower centre, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink '611. Mt. KEMBLA ROAD. / K & Co.'Caption decorated on plate emulsion verso with hand embellishments in ink.
Inscription in plate emulsion verso upper centre edge, scratched by hand 'Mt Kembla Road' and upper left corner '611'.

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
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

'Mt Kembla Road' by Kerry and Co from the Tyrrell collection 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 August 2022, <https://ma.as/28814>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/28814 |title='Mt Kembla Road' by Kerry and Co from the Tyrrell collection |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 August 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}