Here is an excellent set of seven introductory and instructional videos produced by the Conservation Centre for Art and Historic Artefacts (CCAHA)
Day Shift – 18/03/2014 – 02:10 PM (forthcoming)
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewees: Mr Andrew Dodd and Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle (Australia)
Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist of the University of Newcastle introduces Mr Andrew Dodd, great grand son of photographer George Freeman. Andrew kindly provided an album of photographs held by the family to the University of Newcastle (Australia) so that selected images could be digitised. A number of these images are highly significant photographs of the town of Newcastle and surrounding coastal areas, and were taken around 1884, as he was certainly there photographing the wreck of the Susan Gilmore which occurred in July 1884. It is reasonable to assume that while here he also photographed the city and surrounding areas, as The Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners’ Advocate reported on the 19th July 1884 (Ref:http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135857993 ) that “Mr. Freeman, photographer, has shown us some excellent picturesque views of the marine scenery around Newcastle. They are well taken, and the photographs would adorn any album.”
The following information regarding George Freeman was prepared by Pamela Goodhart Dodd and Andrew Dodd from copies of original documents, photographs and newspaper cuttings held by the family. The accompanying images were digitised by Gionni Di Gravio. Clicking on the images below will take you to the high resolution images that are in the 2-6MB size range for closer examination.
The album contains around 66 photographs, along with a number of inserts, which are images, a letter, printed documents and posters. The album is in poor condition due to the acidic and brittle quality of the paper. We photographed the entire album for contextual purposes, and digitised the Newcastle related images in high resolution on an Epson Perfection V700 Scanner at the highest resolutions possible. Since the album was on loan, we did not digitise all the images in high resolution due to the time constraints and post processing.
To provide context for the images below, the whole album is available to be viewed as a PDF here: The George Freeman Album (25MB PDF File)
On behalf of the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections we wish to thank Andrew Dodd, Pamela Goodhart Dodd and family for allowing us to share this family treasure with the wider research community, and warmly welcome any feedback or information relating to any of the images or the photographer who captured them, George John Freeman.
GEORGE JOHN FREEMAN
b: 17 January 1843 d: 5 April 1895
A BRIEF HISTORY – Developing Australia
George was London born, raised, and well educated at the Bayswater Grammar, and in a letter he wrote to his father in 1857 he thanked him for buying ‘ a set of apparatus for photography ‘. – this was his start to the interesting life that was in store for him choosing photography as a profession when he arrived in Australia.
George John Freeman arrived in Adelaide on the ship ‘Countess of Fife’, with his father George Freeman and step mother, leaving London on September 28, 1860. They arrived in the port of Adelaide, January 4th 1861. George was 19 years of age, his diary of the voyage records, weather, land sightings, ports and events ,even when there were none to mention, the people he spoke with and ‘printed some photography’ to pass the time, then the excitement of sighting Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia and the long awaited docking in Port Adelaide.
He established a studio soon after arriving, renting properties in various locations and ran his studio from Rundle & Hindley Street premises. George traveled the state photographing the growing townships and was fast becoming a photographer of some note and a character, traveling to Heathcote, Victoria, the Gold Fields in 1865, in a guise of ‘a man in tatterd rags’ he sent photos home to England to an uncle for a monetary hand. In Melbourne and took photographs of the public gardens and buildings, is no know when he started using the name of the Melbourne Photographic Company – Wivell and Johnstone worked with him.
He was the sole agent for the Art Union of Victoria, exhibited paintings of Johnstone’s at the co-gallery. In the 1870s George was the leading fine art entrepreneur. In 1873 he presented ‘dissolving views of oxhydrogen light’ – showing morally uplifting scenes from the ‘ Illustrated life of Christ, The bottle and the Drunkards children and the Pilgrims Progress’. Newspapers reported – ‘Innovative and up to-date photography’, the press reported every novelty- ‘like the Athenians of old, he is always looking for something new’. He experimented with luminous paint to make photos glow in the dark, glass transparencies, coloured sunsets and moonrise with ‘green moon tint observable in the moons rays’ – In 1874 recently dry plates assisted by flash powder, to make ‘instantaneous action photographs’. Around this time he debunked the new craze of spirit photographs demonstrating how they could be faked by partially exposing a plate to form light patches – ‘spirits’.
In 1874 presented an exhibition of British and Colonial paintings and photographs in Adelaide Town Hall. He also opened a picture gallery and ‘encouraged colonial artists to send their productions for exhibition.’ In 1875 he was commissioned to take Adelaide views, a panorama 11 feet long, form the top of the Advertiser Building, and one from Montifore Hill 6 feet long , for the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, USA, in 1876. George married Mary Sarah Goodhart in 1876, an Artist, they lived at the Hindley Street premises.
In 1877 he used the new 22×18 inch camera to take views that won him a bronze medal at The Paris Expo Universelle International, France, 1878, for his views -11′ x8′- of Adelaide from Montifore Hill, Adelaide Oval and Public Buildings. In 1879 his views of Victor Harbour, Goolwa, Mount Gambier gained a third prize in the Sydney International 1880 ?, and for views of Adelaide again in the Melbourne International Exhibiton 1880 -’ well calculated to give clear conception of our progress in architecture and the character of some of our scenery’. His local work of portraits of the Governors of the State and family were highly acclaimed, also photographs of the opening of the Art Gallery with HRH Prince Albert and other noted persons. George was also the ‘first bearer of the Grand sword of the Order of the Grand Lodge of Ancient and Free and Accepted Masons of South Australia in 1884′.
He was not only a photographer but a ‘showman, entrepreneur’, he organised Art Unions with prize money both in South Australia and Melbourne, sold views of prominent buildings and sent to London as promotion of Adelaide, he also worked with Belcher in Adelaide. He produced the first double photo portraits known to be taken in the colony – ‘two portraits of a gentleman sitting and standing – ‘Ingenious’ – the South Australian Advertiser, and to top that he did a triple headed portrait of the Emperor of Prussia, the late French Emperor and Prince Bismark all in one bust ‘- dubbed the three headed monster by the press.
On the 26th February 1879 a devastating fire destroyed his premises in Hindley Street, they were then living in North Adelaide and was alerted by his apprentice, much of his work and photographic plates and negatives were destroyed. In 1880 he patented an application for an ‘automatic fast holding door handle ‘, photographed shipwrecks , the Sorata at Cape Jervios , 7th September 1880. In 1884, styling himself under the name of The Melbourne Photographic Company, his high profile in the South Australian press, George Freeman and Sarah decided to move to Sydney and worked in Newcastle. He possibly lived in Paramatta, Reynolds Street, Balmain, and in Newcastle. ‘George Freeman would set up business, as soon as he finds suitable premises,’ July 10, 1884 - reported by the Newcastle Register.
Photographing another shipwreck the Susan Gilmore, 3/7/1884, his work was noted – ‘the rocks and headlands are shown in the photograph and therefore accurate’ – The Newcastle Morning Herald- his photos were used for auction of the wreck.
The image above was recently unearthed among the research slides of the late Dr John Turner, held in the University of Newcastle Cultural Collections. It is taken from a different perspective to the more popular image circulating of the wreck taken from the beach. Dr Turner does not provide a source for the above image, but compare it with another recently located by Dr Ann Hardy in the Hyde Family Album at the NSW State Library. The image appears to have been taken at the same time, from the position of the people in the photograph.
The photograph taken below from the beach does appear to match the Freeman photograph description description from The Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners’ Advocate story published on the 14th July 1884 p.3 showing what appears to be Rocket Brigades’ life lines in the sand extending to the waterline. : http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135857067
Wreck of the Susan Gilmore.
IN addition to the usual attractive contents of the Sydney Mail, the issue of Saturday last contains a very spirited three quarter-page engraving of the above disaster. The artist has very ably depicted the most exciting event in connection with the wreck – viz., that in which the captain’s wife is being rescued by the aid of the life lines at the hands of the gallant Newcastle Rocket Brigade. The engraving is taken from a photographic view of the wreck by Mr. G. Freeman, of this city, and forms a capital souvenir of the loss of the Susan Gilmore.
He photographed public buildings in Newcastle and Sydney, including the Town Hall, Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour and streets of the city.
His beloved wife Sarah died of typhoid in 1885, (Newcastle or Sydney) leaving a young family for George and the older children to care for. George continued to photograph buildings and scenes in Parramatta, Sydney and Newcastle. He was also an interpreter of languages for the Sydney and Adelaide courts. In 1890 his health suffering he returned to Adelaide with his family and set up another photographic business promoting photography exhibitions, he bought the camera obscura to Australia with a tent show at Genelg Beach.
George John Freeman died on 5th April 1895.
In the 1870′s there were known to be 700 photographers in Australia – it was big business !
George John Freeman studios out did Duryea, Townshend and Robert Hall. George Freeman’s 34 year photographic career encompassed skill and showmanship along with an ingenious entrepreneurial style that recorded the early years of Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, country towns and views and bought new and exciting innovations to the colony as a ‘photographer of some note’ to which we are proud to uncover more of his work, and learn more about the man who was our great-grandfather and the legacy he left behind.
The National Library of Australia, Canberra (Trove collection – of 21 photographs he exhibited for the Philadelphia Exhibition )
The Adelaide State Library has a collection of photographs including a family history , a scrap-book and memorabilia.
Author : Pamela Goodhart Dodd – Great Grand Daughter of George John Freeman
( Information from family history copies of document,photographs and newspaper cuttings )
Copyright 2014 Andrew Dodd
Escape and Capture: Tracking the Tiki from its Pacific Oceanic roots in the architecture of daily life and ceremony, into pop culture
Senta Taft-Hendry Museum
8 – 22 March 2014
Escape and Capture forms the exhibition component of Judy Robinson’s Master of Philosophy (Architecture) thesis, Flight of the Tiki.
Flight of the Tiki is a study of mid-20th century Tiki carvings and tourist souvenirs as collectables. Tiki carvings were incorporated as freestanding or
engaged architectural elements – into agricultural landscapes, ritual spaces, and vernacular architectural structures of Oceania.
A significant cultural change has occurred: the Tiki’s threatening and defiant posture, depicted in grotesque humanoid form, has been subverted. The message conveyed by Tiki has changed from one of threatening to one of benign welcome.
The Senta Taft-Hendry Museum is located underneath the University Gallery at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan.
Please join the art1st for the opening at the Senta Taft-Hendry Museum
Saturday 8 MARCH from 3pm
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Dr Ann Hardy and Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle (Australia)
Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist of the University of Newcastle and Dr Ann Hardy discuss their recent trip to NSW State Records to photograph three bundles of hitherto lost documents of Newcastle in the late 1820s and early 1830s. The documents relate to an inventory of public buildings in the township that were being readied for what appears to have been the first privatisation prior to the Australian Agricultural Company take over of the Government Mines. They provide a digitised copy and transcription of one of these documents, and the importance of this information to the creation of the 3D early Newcastle model currently being constructed by artist Charles Martin for the University’s Coal River Working Party.
At the end of 2012, historian Rosemary Melville provided Gionni Di Gravio with a photocopy of an 1829 document entitled “Return of all the Buildings and Establishments at New Castle reported by Mr Rodd the Superintendent of Public Works As being the Property of Government shewing their present actual state etc. August 27th 1829 no. 147/143″
(NSW State Records – NRS 905, Letter No 32/4776 [4/2146])
The photocopy was very hard to read in places, so he asked his colleagues at NSW State Records to locate the original, in order to get a better copy. A couple of weeks ago they rang to say they were unable to locate the original, but found another, that was a copy, along with annotations. This was great news. But the very next day, they rang again to say that they not only relocated the original, but three bundles of files relating to it. Everyone was overjoyed. Many thanks to the staff of NSW State Records in Sydney especially Fiona Sullivan, Gail Davis and Chris Shergold.
The full 1829 document along with transcription can be downloaded here:
Return of all the Buildings and Establishments at New Castle reported by Mr Rodd the Superintendent of Public Works As being the Property of Government shewing their present actual state etc. August 27th 1829 no. 147/143 with Transcription by Gionni Di Gravio (13MB PDF)
Descriptions of selected buildings and features located on the 1830 Armstrong Plan, and overlayed on Google Earth.
A selection of features and their descriptions, along with 3D virtual images provided by Charles Martin. More on Charles work can be found here:
Item No. 29
Where is it? Light House Situated on the Headland and South east of the Town
Who occupies it? Signal and Fire men
What condition is it in? This is an octagon weather boarded building designed after the Chinese style of architecture. The top part is perfectly weather proof. The ceiling of the lower floors all down owing to the rain finding its way in at the step which surrounds the building at the height of the lower story it not being covered by lead or copper but only with pitch which has melted away. The top mast of the Signal Staff is decayed and requires replacing. The Telegraph post is split and requires securing by means of two screw bolts. The platform of the Battery on which is six iron 12 Pounders mounted on old fashioned wooden garrison carriages requires, repairs as do also the carriages. The Guns, carriages, signal staff, Telegraph and Light House wants painting.
Item No. 34
Where is it? The Wharf [Where situate is not noted, but once stood at the extremity of Watt Street (formerly George Street)]. Now under the roundabout adjacent to Newcastle Railway Station.
What condition is it in? The Wharf is of Plank supported by Beams resting upon Piles, which are nearly eaten through by the worm - [100?] by 23 feet. The steps of wood require to be renewed having decayed and quite dangerous.
The Watch House
Item No. 27
Where is it? Watch House
Who occupies it? Police and Bell man of the Public Works Department
What condition is it in? This Building 27 x 21 feet weather boarded with brick lined noggin consisting of two rooms and two cells for one of the latter requires repair at the back is a small octagon tower containing a Bell to summon the working parties some of the weather Boards of the Tower want replacing.
The Lumber Yard
Item No. 15 (should be 16)
Where is it? Lumber Yard situated at the north end of Watt St. and the East Side Newcastle Wharf
Who occupies it? Public Works Department
What condition is it in? This Yard is separated from that of the Prisoners Barracks by a high wooden fence on the east side, on the north side by a similar fence, on the west by a high brick wall rough cast. Its various shops to the south side thus forming the yard which covers a space of ground 186 x 173 feet. The Carpenters shed is 45 x 15feet and requires saddle boards the whole length and a few weatherboards replacing at the closed end. The Blacksmiths shop is 70 x 30 feet of Brick and well constructed but requires new shingling entirely. The Watchman of the Lumber Yard has a small brick lodge within the walls 12 ft. square at the entrance into the yard in good repair. There is adjoining a small tools house 9 x 6 feet and a lime shed 30 x 9 feet of logs in good repair.
What do we propose be done with it? I proposed partitioning off 25 feet from the west end of the Blacksmiths Shop for the purpose of making a store and two small rooms for the Superintendent and Clerk’s Offices.
Item No. 28
Where is it? Gaol is situated on the rising ground to the Eastward of the Town
Who occupies it? Criminal Prisoners and Debtors
What condition is it in? This Building is 87 x 37 feet of stone rough cast having two stories an entrance porch in which is two Gaolers rooms surrounded by a high brick wall rough cast the whole covering a space of ground 140 x 105 feet. Three rooms and ten [cells] on the ground floor and seven rooms above require some repairs viz some shingling new Iron bars to strong room ground floor. The inner wall is a crack indicating a settlement but of no great consequence some flags require relaying. There is a considerable crack and settlement in the outer brick wall at the north east corner, which ought to be supported at the angle by buttresses. The Gaoler complains of the Debtors escaping from the yard owing to the Cook house and Privy being situated too near the wall.
What do we propose be done with it? In the event of a future arrangement by which this Building should not be required as a Gaol it might be converted into a Military Barracks.
Item No. 36
Where is it? The Church
What condition is it in? A stone Building the outside Plastered. A Square tower at the East End, surrounded with a small shingled spire. At the West end circular. The roof over the circular end appears very much sunk. I should think the rafters had given way – The tower spreads at the top 10 inches being split, and is much out of the perpendicular. There is a crack in the circular end and the Plastering is fallen from the outside of the west side of the Tower.
The Pier or Break Water
Item No. 33
Where is it? The Pier or Break water
What condition is it in? This is of Stone, it is raised too high for a Break water, and I conclude from this circumstance, was not contemplated for that purpose when undertaken. But rather as a Promenade to the Nobby – its being continued at its present height, would be very injudicious rendering it more liable to damage in stormy weather; it should not be more than 8 feet above high water mark, but it is now twelve feet and is higher at it termination that at the commencement ,which is also the [inverse?], since it should be lower in the middle than the ends, by way of an inclined plane to facilitate the progress of the works.
The interior and exterior slopes are not sufficient. I do not consider these to be any natural obstacle to prevent the continuance of this work having taken the soundings immediately in the line of its directions as well as at some distance on each side of that line generally finding two fathoms, and in no case more than two and three quarters. –
In communication with Mr Livingstone the Master of the Lord Liverpool Packet who has had the opportunity of I believeing some years experience and observation and also having had the benefit of the nautical experience – Lieutenants Caswell and Lieut. Wood both of the Royal Navy – I concur most fully with them in opinion that it would be most advisable to continue the works for the good of the Harbour; The Channel into which is now rapidly filling up but would be most decidedly cleared by the force and direction given to the water, when the Boat Passage shall be stopped.
There is a probability of free stone upon Mr Platts property which I visited and inspected, close to the River side about six miles from Newcastle, and I recommend it should be opened, having reason to believe good Building stone and flogging, might be got there a great desideratum for Newcastle, the stone being unfit for building though hardening under water – In the event of a quarry being found it would be best for the upper part of the Break water to be built with it.
I apprehend Mr Platt would not object as it must greatly benefit his Property. An Overseer and ten men would make sufficient progress in uncovering it in a fortnight or three weeks to enable a better judgement to be formed of it.
No 1 Windmill
Item No. 30
Where is it? No. 1 Windmill & House situated on the rising ground to the South West of the Town
Who occupies it? Mr Riley
What condition is it in? A Brick Mill rough cast circular 32 feet Diameter and 38 feet altitude. The sails and main shaft have been carried away but the materials for new sails are upon the premises. A new main shaft and driving wheel are already put up. A few shingles wanting and some of the bricks are much decayed. There is attached a brick noggin Cottage 48 x 13 feet almost down.
Gionni Di Gravio
18th February 2014
PhD EXHIBITION: 5 – 22 March 2014
Collecting identity investigates how single artworks can hold completely unpredictable and multiple meanings. Susan Ryman, for her PhD research in Natural History Illustration, has made original artworks using the traditional tools of the illustrator, reflecting on the immediate world in all of its contradictory forms. These memory triggers encourage viewers to reflect on their own experiences, memories and emotions in this unique approach to storytelling.
Please join the artist for the opening at the University Gallery: Saturday 8 MARCH from 2pm
The Diaries of Senta Taft-Hendry
Senta Taft-Hendry has been travelling to remote parts of the world exploring ancient cultures and collecting their art for her Gallery in Sydney. Her tales are of intrepid voyages and the relationships with those she met on the way.
For over fifty years she has been collecting and engaging with people from remote areas, often travelling as cargo or with missionaries. This book is a diary of those experiences as written by Senta as it happened.
Please join Senta Taft-Hendry for the launch of her book at the Senta Taft-Hendry Museum at the University of Newcastle: NEWCASTLE LAUNCH Saturday 15 FEBRUARY at 2pm
Please RSVP by Tuesday 11 February. phone 02 4921 5255 or email email@example.com
Please join Senta Taft-Hendry for the launch of her book at Galleries Primitif 174 Jersey Road. Woollahra: SYDNEY LAUNCH Thursday 13 MARCH at 6pm
Please RSVP by Tuesday 11 March. phone 0409 910 005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org