In September 1907 F. K. Mclean, of the English, Royal Astronomical Society, led an eclipse expedition to Flint Island north of Tahiti. Unusually the astronomers accompanying him were not from England but from Australia and New Zealand. The first to join up was C. J. Merfield of Sydney, followed by James Short, astronomical photographer and W. E. Raymond who both worked at Sydney Observatory. In addition there was Joseph Brooks a retired surveyor and the Reverend F. W. Walker and Henry Wincklemann both from from New Zealand.
They arrived on Flint Island on the 23rd of December and set up camp near the Lick Observatory party led by Professor W. W. Campbell. Thus, for a few weeks, the tiny island became home to two expeditions who shared their equipment and stores as they prepared for the January 3rd eclipse.
Six glass plates were taken by McClean, Brooks and Walker, using a De La Rue Chronograph. Ten more, six using a 4 inch Dallmeyer lens and four with a telephoto lens, of 1-1/4 inch aperture, were taken by James Short, assisted by Mr. Caffin. Henry Winckelmann took eight plates using a Ross telephoto camera and W. E. Raymond sketched the event as he viewed it through a Grubb 4-inch telescope.
These five solar eclipse photographs mounted on board were taken by J. W. Short and are a mix of prints from the negatives taken with the Dallmeyer and telephoto lenses in January 1908.
For more information see attached Powerhouse Museum Theme 'Australian Eclipse Expedition to Flint Island 1908'.
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, October, 2008
McClean, F. K., Report of the Eclipse Expedition to Flint Island, January 3, 1908, Richard Clay and Sons, Limited, Bread Street Hill, E.C., and Bungay, Suffolk, date unknown