Photo of the Day

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Colonial pride Oxford Street Sydney 1885

June 12th, 2013 by

85/1285-463 Glass negative, full plate, 'Departure of N.S.W. Troops for the Soudan, No. 11',  Henry King, Sydney, Australia, 1885

This is another image taken by the Sydney based photographer Henry King of the New South Wales Contingent parading through Sydney on their departure for the War in Sudan on 3 March 1885. The photo is taken from the same vantage point as the previous images and shows another group of men possibly sailers.  Also in the image, on an adjoining balcony, is another photographer using a full plate camera  to record the scene. It was a significant day for the colony as it was the first time that soldiers from the self-governing colony were accepted to fight for the British Empire.

The Sydney Morning Herald on 4 March 1885 reported the event with great pride and a pointed dig at imperial attitudes:

This day marks an entirely new departure as regards the relations between the old country and her colonies. Hitherto the colonies have been regarded by many politicians at a drag upon the home country ; and statesmen have been heard to say that the colonies of England were a source of weakness to her, and not of strength.

The fallacy of such statements was demonstrated beyond dispute by the events of yesterday. If ever there was in the history of the world an occasion where everything that had been arranged was performed to the letter, if ever there was a day when a programme literally arranged was carried out satisfactorily, it was yesterday, when the chosen troops of New South Wales, the picked men of the colony, embarked for the purpose of assisting the British arms in the Soudan.

Photography by Henry King studio (85/1285-463)

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