George Street Sydney

Made 1858-1860

This photograph of George Street, Sydney is from one of the earliest sets of Hetzer’s stereoviews. In the foreground we can see the London Hat shop on the corner and in the middle distance ‘Clapham House Boot and Shoe Mart’. This view, published by William Hetzer, was taken using a commercially produced twin lens stereo camera.

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 specialised in ...


Object No.


Physical Description

Photographic print, mounted stereoview George Street Sydney, paper / albumen / silver / ink, published by William Hetzer, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1858-1860

A stereoview photographic print consisting of two black and white images that have been taken simultaneously. The prints have been mounted next to one another on a card. The images show George Street in Sydney. Either side of the street is lined with two and three storey buildings, some of which have canvas awnings out the front shading the footpath below. Street lamps can be seen on either side of the street. A horse and cart is parked on the side of the road. Text written on the side of one building reads 'CLAPHAM-HOUSE / BOOT SHOE / MART'. Another building in the foreground of the image has 'London HAT' written across it. An oval shaped trademark has been pressed into the front of the mount to the right of the images. There is handwritten text on the back of the mount.



175 mm



A stereo photograph is comprised of two photographs, one taken as the left eye sees the view and another slightly offset as the right eye would see a view. These photographs are mounted on a card which is then fitted into a viewer. The viewer allows the brain to superimpose the two images, imitating the three dimensional stereovision of the human eye.

Stereo photographs are essentially the combination of two inventions of the 1830s. Sir Charles Wheatstone announced the first of these in 1838; it was an optical viewer that could combine two specially developed three-dimensional drawings that took into account the slight variation between the right and the left eye. The second occurred in 1839 when two different photographic processes, the 'daguerreotype' by Louis Daguerre and the 'Talbotype' or 'Calotype' by Henry Fox Talbot, were announced to the world.

In the 1840s Sir Charles Wheatstone began experimenting with Talbot's process which enabled him to place two slightly offset photographic images in his viewer. The success of these experiments inspired a Scotsman, Sir David Brewster, to announce in 1849 his modification of the stereo format, a portable viewing device called a lenticular stereoscope. It was Brewster's stereoscope which defined the standard for the new format and which was popularised from the early 1850s.

Geoff Barker, August 2009.

William Darrah, 'The World of Stereographs', W. Darrah, 1997
Helmut and Alison Gernsheim, 'The History of Photography', Thames and Hudson, 1955, 253



Cite this Object


George Street Sydney 2014, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 January 2018, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=George Street Sydney |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 January 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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