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85/1284-493 Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Shearing by Machinery', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1890-1917. Click to enlarge.

Glass plate negative, full plate, ‘Shearing by Machinery’, Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1890-1917

Made by Kerry, Charles H in Australia, Oceania, c. 1890-1917.

Mechanised shearing was developed by Frederick Wolseley and associates in Victoria between 1868 and 1885. It was demonstrated around the country in 1886, much to the dismay of blade shearers who thought fewer men would be needed in the sheds. A shearers’ union that formed at the time became the basis of what is now the Amalgamated Workers Union.

Mechanised shears changed the wool industry. Shearing became easier and faster, sheep suffered fewer injuries, the yield of wool per sheep increased, ...

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-493

Object Statement

Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Shearing by Machinery', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1890-1917

Physical Description

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image depicts the interior of a shearing shed. The shearing board is depicted in the centre of the image and mechanised shearing equipment can be seen running parallel down the board on the left and right sides of the image. Approximately fourteen shearers can be seen shearing sheep. Two shearers are depicted standing in posed positions, facing the camera on the left and right sides of the image. Three small boys can be seen in the centre of the shearing board, collecting the shorn fleece. Sheep pens can be seen in the background on the left and right sides of the image. The roof of the shearing shed is depicted in the upper part of the image, it is constructed of timber beams and corrugated iron with several windows providing natural light to the shearing board area. The caption, studio number and studio mark are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

Sheep were sheared by hand until the late 1880s when mechanised shears were introduced into shearing sheds. They dramatically increased the rate of shearing and had replaced hand shears on many properties by the turn of the century.

49/35 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 948 Kerry Studio Number

Marks

Caption and studio number on plate emulsion verso lower right, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink 'SHEARING BY MACHINERY. 948'. Studio mark on plate emulsion verso lower left, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink 'KERRY PHOTO SYDNEY'.
Inscription in plate emulsion verso upper left, scratched by hand 'Shearing by Machinery'.
Illegible inscription in plate emulsion verso top centre, scratched by hand and then scratched out.
Inscription in plate emulsion verso top centre right, scratched by hand then scratched out 'Shearing Tuggaranong'.
Inscription in plate emulsion verso upper right, scratched by hand '948'.
Inscription in plate emulsion verso upper right, scratched by hand then scratched out '14'.

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
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, full plate, 'Shearing by Machinery', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1890-1917 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 September 2019, <https://ma.as/29893>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/29893 |title=Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Shearing by Machinery', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1890-1917 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 September 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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