Pioneer Settler Lucy Sawtell in front of a cottage with her children

Made by Kerry, Charles H in Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1905-1917.

This image from a glass plate negative published in 1907 and entitled ‘Pioneer Settler’ depicts Lucy Sawtell and her children Edna, Ella (seated) and Ina in front of a cottage in the Dorrigo area of New South Wales. Throughout the 1800s and much of the 1900s women living and working on Australian farms were little acknowledged for their contribution. Often they physically helped their husbands to clear the land, build the house, and enclose the farm with heavy post and rail fences. They added th...

Summary

Object No.

85/1284-777

Physical Description

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image depicts a settler's family near Dorrigo in New South Wales. A house is depicted in the centre of the image, it is a wood and corrugated iron structure with a verandah at the front and a chimney on the left side. The land immediately around the house has been cleared and trunks from felled trees are visible. A horsedrawn vehicle, called a sulky, can be seen to the right of the house and a fence constructed of wood posts and wire mesh can be seen in front of the house. A woman and three small children are depicted near a tree trunk in the foreground of the image. The people depicted are Lucy Sawtell (nee Frost) (b 1878) wife of Henry Charles Sawtell, Edna (b 1901), Ella (seated) (b 1902), Ina (b 1904) and George (b 1905) standing beside chimney near house.Tall stands of trees are depicted behind the house in the background of the image. The caption, studio mark and studio number are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

53/19 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 1674 Kerry Studio Number

Marks

Caption, studio number and studio mark on plate emulsion verso lower right, inscribed by hand in reverse print in ink 'A PIONEER SETTLER. / 1674. Kerry. Sydney.'
Inscription in plate emulsion verso top centre, scratched by hand 'Dorrigo 1674'.

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

Made

Kerry, Charles H c. 1905-1917

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, November 2008

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
Valdon, 'Our Artistic Workers; Mr. George Bell', Australian Photographic Journal, Volume 17, Number 199, December 21, 1908

Used

Australian Consolidated Press

Cite this Object

Harvard

Pioneer Settler Lucy Sawtell in front of a cottage with her children 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 18 June 2018, <https://ma.as/30208>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/30208 |title=Pioneer Settler Lucy Sawtell in front of a cottage with her children |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=18 June 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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