This photograph from a glass plate negative shows the town of Camden, with St John the Evangelist Church of England seen at the top of the hill. Camden is located south west of Sydney on the Nepean River. The church was built from 1840 to 1849 by Richard Basden, John Le Fevre and Johnathan Wheeler. It was associated with some of the most important architects in the colony having been designed by John Cunningham and Mortimer William Lewis and an 1872 extension designed by Edmund Thomas Blacket and the famous English architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. The church was re-roofed in 1872, 1901 and 1929.
The historic town of Camden was originally called The Cowpastures, was settled by James Macarthur, surveyed in 1836, laid out in 1840 by Murray, founded and its first lots sold in 1840 and the municipality proclaimed in 1889. Dairying started in Camden in 1826 and later it produced wool, wheat, other crops and fruit.
Margaret Simpson, Curator,
Phillip Simpson, 'Historical Guide to New South Wales', Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty Ltd, North Melbourne, Vic., 2020.
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 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
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