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85/1285-837 Glass plate negative, entitled 'Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, N.S.W., May 1st 1889', depicting the paddle steamer 'General Gordon' during celebrations for the opening of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge, full plate, glass/silver gelatin, photograph by Henry King, Sydney, Australia, 1. Click to enlarge.

Paddle steamer ‘General Gordon’ on Hawkesbury River, NSW, during opening of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge, 1889

Made
This image shows steamers on the Hawkesbury River to the north of Sydney. The inscription on the image reads 'Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, N.S.W, May 1st, 1889'. This date was an historic occasion – the opening of the railway bridge across the Hawkesbury.

The image shows a large crowd of people waiting to board a paddle steamer. An account of the day reads: 'After the formal opening the guests were invited on board the steamers in waiting at the Hawkesbury wharf, and an opportunity given them of seeing the bridge from the river, and of enjoying the glorious river scenery'.

The ferry itself is probably the small steamer in the middle of the image. Both boats are flying American flags in honour of the Union Bridge Company of New York, USA, which had constructed the bridge.

The ferry, operated by local settler, George Peat, had provided the means of crossing the river at Mooney Mooney Point from the early 1830s. The service ceased with opening of the railway bridge on 1 May 1889.

Ref: Charles Povter, Government Printer, The Opening of the Hawkesbury Railway Bridge, Celebration at the Hawkesbury, 1 May, 1889.


This photographic negative was taken by the Sydney based photographer Henry King. It is part of a collection of over 1300 glass plates taken between 1880 and 1917, although most appear to have been made in the late 1880s and 1890s

King was one of the Colony's most significant early photographers and although born in England around 1855 grew up in Sydney. He found work with the well-known Sydney photographer J. Hubert Newman and in 1880 established a studio in partnership with William Slade. Four years later he was sole proprietor.

King quickly established a reputation for himself due to the high quality of his finished work. While King's income, like many other photographers, was dependent on portraiture he, like Kerry, is best known for his outdoor work. These views, particularly his city views, are justifiably praised and seem more carefully framed and printed than Kerry's. Outdoor views of Sydney make up the main bulk of King's work in the collection although, like Kerry, he took a series of photographs of the Jenolan Caves using magnesium flares.

Henry King died aged 68 in Waverley War Memorial Hospital on 22 May 1923 following abdominal surgery

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, December, 2008

References
King, Richard, Australian Dictionary of Biography - Online Edition
Josef Lebovic, Henry King, 1855 - 1923, auction catalogue, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Paddington, Australia, date unknown
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988

Summary

Object No.

85/1285-837

Object Statement

Glass plate negative, entitled 'Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, N.S.W., May 1st 1889', depicting the paddle steamer 'General Gordon' during celebrations for the opening of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge, full plate, glass/silver gelatin, photograph by Henry King, Sydney, Australia, 1 May 1889

Physical Description

Glass negative, full plate, 'Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, N.S.W., May 1st 1889', Henry King, Sydney, Australia, 1889.

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

47/45 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 1049 King Studio Number

Marks

This negative is not fully catalogued.

Dimensions

Width

215 mm

Production

Notes

Henry King became sole proprietor of a photographic studio in George Street in 1880. Henry King's studio closed around 1900 and Charles Kerry acquired some of his negatives.

History

Notes



This photograph is one of 1334 Henry King photographs which are also part of a larger collection of 7,900 negatives once owned by Sydney bookseller, James Tyrrell. After King's death in 1923 the studio collection of glass negatives was purchased by Tyrrell.

In addition to the Henry King images, the Tyrrell Collection at the Powerhouse Museum includes glass plate negatives published by Kerry & Co. Studio 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.

The photographic collection acquired by Tyrrell was purchased by Australian Consolidated Press and its new owners almost immediately set about producing a limited series of complete sets of contact prints of the collection for libraries and museums in New South Wales. 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 Museum. 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.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, December, 2008

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Australian Consolidated Press under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1985

Acquisition Date

19 July 1985

Cite this Object

Harvard

Paddle steamer 'General Gordon' on Hawkesbury River, NSW, during opening of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge, 1889 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 October 2020, <https://ma.as/31614>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/31614 |title=Paddle steamer 'General Gordon' on Hawkesbury River, NSW, during opening of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge, 1889 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}