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85/1284-340 Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Pressing Lucerne Hay', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917. Click to enlarge.

Photograph pressing lucerne hay in a New South Wales paddock, 1884-1917

Made by Kerry and Co in Australia, Oceania, c. 1884-1917.
This photograph, printed from a glass plate negative, was taken in lucerne paddock in a cereal growing area of New South Wales, probably in the late nineteenth century. Hay was cut in the paddock and loaded onto horse-drawn wagons. This photo shows it being forked into a stationary baler, which compressed the hay into bales, to make it easy to carry, pack and store in a shed for stock feed. It is shown being powered by a steam traction engine via a long flat leather belt. Later, in the early 1900s, balers were driven by a small internal combustion engine mounted on the frame, or by a tractor's belt drive.

Hay balers powered by steam engines came into general use in America in about 1884. One particular type was the ram baler which was usually a large, heavy, long machine. Compression was provided by a gear-driven horizontal piston requiring about 15 bhp to operate satisfactorily, with energy stored in the flywheel. Power machines were often provided with a condenser to thrust the hay into the hopper between strokes. Small balers could be driven by a 3 hp to 5 hp engine mounted on the machine. The resultant standard size of bale was 18 inches (45.7 cm) x 23 inches (58.4 cm) x 3 feet 6 inches (1.1 m) long, though the cross-section was often smaller and lengths varied considerably.

The following information was provided by the hay baler expert, Murray Stokes, in November 2019. The baler or hay press shown in the photograph was made by Jas Smith of Ballarat, Victoria, called the 'Leviathan' and manufactured between about 1895 and the 1920s. It had a capacity to produce 30 tons a day. When it was first introduced to agriculture, this baler was called the 'perpetual' or 'continuous' type because of its continuously operating horizontal plungers (or 'rams') which repeatedly cleared the hay from the bale chamber allowing fresh hay to be continually added to it.

The American, P.K. Dederick of Albany, New York, was the first to patent these machines in 1872. His company revolutionised hay baling as a result. Many people copied P.K.'s idea, some finishing up in court, some not. One of Dederick's original standard bale sizes was 18" x 24", along with 14" x 18" and 9" x 12". This size did not become the norm however as the bales were just too big. By the mid-1880s the most common bale cross-section sizes were 14" x 18", 16" x 18" and 17" x 22" although there were some 17"x 20" and 18"x 22" balers around too (and indeed some 'one-offs' producing bales of 15" x 18", 16" x 20" and even 17.5" x 22").

The 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, January, 2009
Additions, Margaret Simpson, March 2014

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

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-340

Object Statement

Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Pressing Lucerne Hay', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917

Physical Description

Glass negative, full plate, 'Pressing Lucerne Hay', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917.

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The caption, studio number and studio mark are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

This negative is not fully catalogued.

55/106 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 629 Kerry Studio Number

Dimensions

Width

215 mm

Production

Made

Kerry and Co Australia, Oceania c. 1884-1917

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

Photograph pressing lucerne hay in a New South Wales paddock, 1884-1917 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 6 July 2020, <https://ma.as/29724>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/29724 |title=Photograph pressing lucerne hay in a New South Wales paddock, 1884-1917 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=6 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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