This image is one of a collection of 61 photographs taken by or owned by James Short, who was in charge of the astrographic telescope at Sydney Observatory's Red Hill (Pennant Hills) Branch from July 1890 until his retirement in 1930. Short made important contributions to the work of the Observatory while his turbulent relationships with the various Government Astronomers added colour to the Observatory's history.
This view here is thought to be Sydney's Woolloomooloo Bay, probably in the 1870s, looking westward before much commercial wharf construction began. A boatshed and what looks like a salt water pool can be seen. There are at least two small steam propeller-driven launches. A seagoing sailing vessel is at anchor in the distance and there is a small pile driving frame in the foreground at the right.
Graeme Andrews OAM, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences volunteer under the supervision of Margaret Simpson, Curator, August 2016
Many of these photographs are previously unfamiliar and give insight into the history of Sydney Observatory. They include photographs of Pennant Hills (Red Hill) Observatory, Sydney Observatory and the 1922 Sydney Observatory expedition to Goondiwindi in Queensland to observe a total solar eclipse. There are also interesting images of a 1908 eclipse trip to Tahiti.