This photograph was published in one of the earlier sets of William Hetzer's stereoviews, and his blind stamp can be seen imprinted on the right-hand side of the mount. It is a view of the east side of George Street, just down from the Post Office. The shadows suggest the image was taken in the afternoon, and as we can see the awnings have al been erected except the two at the base of the picture. This may be due to Hetzer requesting them taken down as he took this shot from the window of this building.
Towards the centre of the image we can just make out the signage of Edward Curtis, painter and paper hanger. Next door is, Walker and Jones Jewellers, and further down the street is, George Heath the chemist, William Piddington Bookseller and Stationer and Henry Betrand the dentist.
In 1850 William Hetzer arrived in Sydney, with his wife Thekla, where they immediately set up a photographic studio at 15 Hunter Street. Hetzer initially specisalised in calotypes but soon adopted the new collodion based positive/negative processes, like the ambrotype and albumen prints, which were appearing in the early 1850s.
In 1858 Hetzer embarked on what is now his best known enterprise, the publication of a set of 36 albumen prints taken with a stereo-view camera. The success of the first series encouraged Hetzer to keep publishing Sydney views and by 1859 he had over a 60 different views. Hetzer's views of Sydney - "... its harbour, principal buildings, streets and neighbouring scenery, &c." were among the earliest outdoor photographs taken in Sydney. The sets sold well and Hetzer continued to publish sets of stereo-views of Sydney and its harbour, right up until 1863.
In 1867, Hetzer left Australia and returned to England, auctioning off his photographic equipment, and about 3500 registered negatives, to the photographer Joseph Degotardi.
For more information please see attached Powerhouse Museum Theme, 'Early Photographs of Sydney by William Hetzer.'
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, October 2008