photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
This photograph of two men boxing is from the Wong Ah Sat archive. The men may have been friends or neighbours of Amelia Eve Wong and Henry Hackney Wong, two enthusiastic amateur photographers who lived on their family’s property at Bolong, NSW. Amelia Eve Wong and her brother created many outdoor portraits such as this one, posing their subjects in the rural landscape. Another photograph of these two boxers was posted last week on Photo of the Day. In both images the figures have been carefully positioned to show the two trees leaning towards each other in the background. Behind the boxers is a fence or possibly the ropes of an outdoor boxing ring. In this image there is a glimpse of a specator on the left hand side of the frame.
Boxing was traditionally a working class, male activity; the two men in the photograph may also have been farm labourers; their suntanned faces, necks and lower arms suggest long hours spent outdoors. Boxing was a popular subject with photographers at this time, and there are other photographs of boxers in this collection. The sport also features in some photographs from the Phillips collection posted previously on Photo of the Day.
Wong Ah Sat, father of Amelia Eve and Henry Hackney Wong, came to Australia from southern China in 1857. In 1864 he married Amelia Hackney, who had come with her prosperous and well-educated family from Manchester, England, where they had been involved in the drapery trade. Sat and Amelia took up a property near Bathurst and later moved to Bolong where they ran a store and raised a large family, becoming respected members of the predominantly Anglo-Celtic farming community.
The Powerhouse Museum holds a collection of objects and photographs from the Wong family, many of which are currently on display in the exhibition, What’s in store? A history of retailing in Australia.
Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian
Photography by Amelia Eve Wong and/or HenryH.Wong
Powerhouse Museum collection: 97/92/12-4/12
No known copyright restrictions.