The full-length studio portrait (92 x 55 mm) is mounted as issued on the printed card of W.H. Schroeder, 649 George Street, Haymarket ('and at Princes Street, Grafton'). The firm was definitely active at that address from 1867 to 1879, but the image appears to be earlier rather than later in this period. The uniform is that of the NSW Volunteer Artillery from the 1860s. Very similar caps are also to be found in a Tasmanian photograph in the collection of the Australian War Memorial (A04784), 'ten men of the Hobart Town Volunteers Artillery and ten men from the First Rifles', dated October 1863.
The South Australian Register (Thursday, 16 November 1882) contains an advertisement for the sale of 'the whole of his superior stock-in-trade ... of his well-known photographic establishment ... in consequence of his relinquishing the profession'. Accordingly, this photograph cannot be later than 1882, but it is probably circa 1880. The young men are in identical uniforms; the only specific clue is the distinctive badge on their forage caps. The extensive hand-colouring obliterates some of the detail, but it is essentially a flag or pennant on a flagpole set within a circle of rope finished off with a square knot. This suggests to us the uniforms are of maritime, if not naval, relevance (and we would not be surprised to learn that the men were foreign visitors to Adelaide).
In November 1914, A7 HMAT Medic was in the convoy that departed Albany with the First Detachment of the Australian and New Zealand Imperial Expeditionary Forces. In September 1928 she sailed from New York with the Wilkins-Hurst Antarctic Expedition on board, Wilkins being none other than the South Australian-born Sir George Hubert Wilkins (1888-1958), war correspondent and photographer, polar explorer, naturalist, geographer, climatologist and aviator (Australian Dictionary of Biography). In September 1942, converted to an oil tanker, she was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic by a German submarine. ^This photograph would appear to have been taken before the outbreak of the First World War, but the image seems to have had a long shelf life. This particular example improves on the ship's impressive military history by the addition of the signatures of ten Australian Victoria Cross winners who returned to Australia on her in late 1918. The following information comes from a detailed online post about Private John Carroll VC by Anthony Staunton (www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl): 'By 28 July 1918 ... 38 of the 63 VC awards to the AIF had been gazetted. Ten of the awards were posthumous and Captain Tubb who was awarded the VC at Lone Pine on Gallipoli had been killed in action in Belgium on 20 September 1917. Seven of the surviving 27 recipients returned to Australia between September 1915 and April 1918 mostly because of wounds. In the five weeks between 16 August and 23 September 1918 Carroll was one of 15 Australian VC recipients who returned to Australia for furlough and to help recruiting for the AIF. Carroll was one of ten Australian VC recipients who embarked on 24 August aboard HMAT Medic'. These ten men signed the mount of this photograph of HMAT Medic. ^The photograph, mount and signatures have subsequently sustained some water damage, resulting in some stains and minor loss to the surface of the photograph, some stains to the mount, and loss of some of the paper surface of the mount, taking with it two signatures (leaving offset ink impressions) and damaging a third. In spite of these blemishes, it is a rarity of consequence. Clockwise from the top centre, the signatures are John Carroll (33rd Battalion); John Whittle (12th Battalion); Reginald Inwood (10th Battalion); Jorgan Jensen (50th Battalion); John James Dwyer (4th Machine Gun Company); Leonard Keysor (1st Battalion); William Ruthven (22nd Battalion); Walter Peeler (3rd Pioneer Battalion) (signature now missing); Thomas Kenny (2nd Battalion) (signature now missing); and Stanley McDougall (47th Battalion) (signature partially missing).
A few trifling blemishes to the mount; the photograph is in fine condition. Australia's oldest continuously run harness race, now called the WA Pacing Cup, celebrated its centenary in December 2013. When the South Australian pacer 'Maori Speed' won in December 1914, it was only the second time the Cup had been contested.
All images are captioned in the negative, and all are uniquely numbered in ink on the verso, beneath the initials CAB (a broken run from 1 to 91) by an early owner. Fifteen (mainly the mining ones) are dated 1898 in the caption, and there are several of Lord Brassey's visit to Perth (March-April 1898); the balance appear to be of a similar vintage. About 30 of them have basic handcolouring that definitely looks better through the viewer. Neither Craig, nor Solin, nor the North Fremantle Studio is recorded in Davies and Stanbury (1985), but Barrie (2002) lists Craig & Solin at 'Fremantle and Kalgoorlie 1898'. Trove lists about 40 photographs by them, all held by the State Library of WA. The substantial 1993 publication by Martyn and Audrey Webb, 'Golden Destiny. The Centenary History of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia', of some 1100 quarto pages 'profusely illustrated by contemporary photographs, maps and diagrams', does not contain any images by Craig and Solin, suggesting that the material in the SLWA came into the collection after the book was published. (Offered together with seven other stereophotographs, all initialled CAB and uniquely numbered within the same run: five are in the 'Rose's Australasian Views Victorian Series' and are rubber-stamped 'Craig & Solin, Manufacturers' Agents and Importers of Cycles, Family Bibles, Books & Fancy Goods, Fremantle').
The Robertsons came to Australia in 1887; Oriana married into the Moodie family of 'Wando Dale', Coleraine, Victoria. Of primary importance are the approximately 50 portraits featuring prominent members of pioneering Western District pastoral families: the Camerons of 'Dunan'; the Edgars of Pine Hills; the Gardiners of Nangwary; the McConochies of Konongwootong; and the Trangmans of Burswood. The photographs are contained in five full-leather quarto albums, and an attractive arch-topped six-panel folding panoramic frame (for cartes de visite) in full morocco. Further details and images are available on request.
The original gelatin silver photographs are generally 65 or 80 mm x 130 mm (a few are smaller); some have been trimmed to an oval shape. The images comprise views of the homestead, its occupants, gardens and outbuildings, including the shearing shed (41); sheep and cattle (27); paddocks, dams and windmills (15); men on horseback (6); and farm vehicles (5). People feature in more than 50 photographs (in 11 of them, it is a small boy, often doing what small boys on farms do). There is also a postcard-format photograph of 'Night Watch', the winner of the 1918 Melbourne Cup, with a message on the verso signed by the owner of the horse, C. Lisle Macdonald. The watercolours are by a capable amateur; the monogram CA appears in the bottom right-hand corner of all of them. They are a panoramic view of part of the property, with a gallows for slaughtering cattle the focus (130 x 245 mm); the shearing shed and yards (120 x 245 mm); grassland with hills in the background (125 x 175 mm); and grazing sheep (75 x 155 mm). The photographs and watercolours give a very good idea of life on a working outback pastoral property at the time. Mounted on the inside rear cover are 16 small newspaper cuttings concerning consignments to the saleyards or abattoirs of sheep and cattle from 'Wiawera', consistently described as 'outstanding' or the 'best'. The commercial album is cloth-bound, with a blind-pictorial emblem on the front cover; the spine has been replaced; the cloth boards are worn around the extremities and a little tape-stained near the spine; the first page is a little marked; overall it is in very good condition, with the contents uniformly fine. [An aside: 'Wiawera' has been in the hands of an unrelated branch of the Treloar family since at least the 1950s].