Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum


July 22nd, 2014 by


It was a brave photographer who stood in the middle of the street in the path of an oncoming carriage to capture this shot of a Melbourne street c. 1900. To the left of the carriage is the Carlton tram.

Photography by unattributed studio. Tyrrell Collection, 85/1286-2625

No known copyright restrictions

The John Simpson store

July 21st, 2014 by


The John Simpson store in Cumberland Place at The Rocks in Sydney was run by John Simpson and his sister, Esther. The crossed anchor and shovel painted above the door indicated that the mixed grocery business supplied mariners and immigrants headed inland in search of gold as well as the local residents. Signs that used visual images told all prospective customers, literate or not, of the merchandise that might be found within.

The detail above, like the photograph of Bettingdon and Merriman streets posted last week, shows the curiosity aroused by the presence of a photographer in a part of the city not usually of interest to the view trade. The children have all paused their activities, (the girl in the light-toned dress holds a skipping rope at her shoulders) to stand still for the photographer.

This photograph is one of a series that appears to be part of the 1901 Rocks Resumption Photographic Survey.


Photography by unattributed studio, Tyrrell collection 85/1286-2592

No known copyright restrictions.

Court fashion

July 18th, 2014 by


This is another photograph by David Mist taken at the New South Wales tennis championships at White City in Edgecliff, Sydney. The centre court official wears shorts and Bermuda socks, a popular summer outfit for men in the Australia of the 1970s. Behind him in the crowd another man sports a terry towelling hat, also a popular men’s accessory of the time.


The photograph is part of the David Mist Archive collection.

Photography by David Mist

© All rights reserved

Thursday Island township

July 17th, 2014 by

00g06135TI towship

This photograph, like many from the Tyrrell collection that depict scenes of the Pacific island or Torres Strait region, may have been found its way into the collection via the studios Charles Kerry, Henry King or Tyrrell’s bookshop, who all bought photographs from missionaries, traders or collectors.

Thursday Island is also known as TI or Waiben and the township, shown in the photograph above, is  the administrative centre of the Torres Strait Islands. Thursday Island has an area of around 3.5 square kilometres.


Photography by unattributed studio, Tyrrell collection, 85/1286-674

No known copyright restrictions

White City

July 16th, 2014 by


At first glance this image looks as though it might depict a large screen in a theatre, but a closer look reveals that it shows the tennis court at White City in Sydney’s Rushcutter’s Bay during the New South Wales tennis championships. The photograph was taken some time in the late 1960s and was published in David Mist’s Sydney: a book of photographs. In the text the newly-arrived English photographer comments on the Australian enthusiasm for sport:

Spectator sports attract huge crowds, with football, cricket and tennis commanding the news coverage and assuming the importance of international events.

The photograph is part of the David Mist Archive collection.

Photography by David Mist

© All rights reserved

Millers Point, c. 1901

July 15th, 2014 by

00g07328 detail

These children were photographed standing outside the White Star hotel on the corner of Bettington and Merriman Streets, Millers Point, in Sydney c. 1901. This photograph (below) from which the detail above is appears to part of  the 1901 Rocks Resumption Photographic Survey.  The purpose of the survey was to document the buildings, however, many of the images show people, particularly children, who appear fascinated by the photographer’s presence and eager to appear in a photograph.


Photographer unknown, Tyrrell Collection, 85/1286-2585

No known copyright restrictions

Portrait of Juliette Lebeau

July 14th, 2014 by


This family portrait shows the young Juliette Lebeau, (seated) born in Laon, Picardy in 1840.  At the time that this photograph was taken, she could not have imagined the tumultuous life that she would lead.

By 1868, she was in Paris with two young children, having been abandoned by her husband, Francisco Lopez, who departed for Brazil.

Four years later, in 1872, as Madame Rastoul, Juliette arrived in the penal colony of New Caledonia as the companion of Dr Rastoul, who had been transported for his activities in the Paris Commune of 1871.

After two years in the French colony, Mme Rastoul and her two children were released and came to Sydney. The Sands Directory of 1879 lists her as Madame L. Rastoul, 150 Victoria Street, Professor of French. In 1880 she married the artist and former Communard, Lucien Henry.  Henry, Chef de Legion of the 14th arrondissement during the Commune, had come to Sydney from New Caledonia following the amnesty granted to the Communards imprisoned there in June, 1879.

Madame Juliette Henry founded the Cercle Litteraire Française, (French Literary Circle), a group dedicated to the study of French literature and culture which convened at Tattersall’s chambers in Hunter Street, Sydney. The Henrys divorced 1896 and Juliette Henry died in 1898.  The inscription on her headstone in Waverley cemetery reads:


As an affectionate tribute to her memory by her friends and members of the Cercle Littèraire Française.

En avançant dans notre obscur voyage, du doux passé l’horizon est plus beau.  En deux moieties notre ame se partage et las meilleure apartient au tombeau.  Lamartine

(While going forward on our dark journey, the view of the sweet past is more beautiful.  Our soul is divided in two halves and the best half belongs to the grave.)

The Powerhouse Museum holds other photographs of Madame Henry, some of which have been posted previously on Photo of the Day. The museum also has the largest collection of Lucien Henry’s work. In 2001 the museum held an exhibition entitled, Visions of a Republic: the work of Lucien Henry. Paris,Noumea, Sydney.


Post by Kathy Hackett, Photo Librarian


Ref: Visions of a republic: the work of Lucien Henry, Paris, Noumea, Sydney. Ed. Ann Stephen, Powerhouse Publishing, 2001

Photographer unknown, 99/119/2-6

No known copyright restrictions

Behind the scenes: A fine possesion

July 11th, 2014 by

photo 4

This great shot was taken recently by Arts & Design curator Eva Czernis-Ryl in Canberra. It captures the  moment when Susan Taylor, the owner of Department of the Exterior fashion boutique  and an art and jewellery collector, put on her black Karl Fritsch ring to show it to the delighted photographer Marinco Kojdanovski.

Our team interviewed Susan about her passion for contemporary jewellery for the Museum’s upcoming exhibition A fine possession: jewellery and identity due to open at the Powerhouse on  20 September.

Photo by Eva Czernis-Ryl. © Powerhouse Museum, Sydney


Burning incense to the city god at the Chenghuang Temple

July 10th, 2014 by


This photograph from the Hedda Morrison collection shows worshippers at the Chenghuang Temple, Peking, in the 1930s. The high angle view, stylistically modernist, emphasises the photographer’s physical as well as cultural distance from the subject.

Hedda Morrison, (1908-1991), was born Hedda Hammer in Stuttgart, Germany. She acquired her first camera, a Box Brownie, at the age of 11. In 1931, after completing studies at the State Institute for Photography in Munich and working in the studio of photographer Adolf Lazi (1884-1955), she answered an advertisement in a photography journal for a job in Peking.

In Peking Morrison managed Hartung’s photographic studio from 1933-1938. After her contract expired she continued to work freelance from a small darkroom in her home in Nanchang Street. The young photographer travelled around the city, usually by bicycle, often photographing its inhabitants. This photograph is part of the Hedda Morrison Photographic Collection.   Other images from the same collection have also been posted on Photo of the Day.

Photography by Hedda Morrison
No known copyright restrictions.

The Queen’s Statue

July 9th, 2014 by


This photograph was taken by Henry King on a rainy Tuesday 24 January 1888, during the Centennial Week celebrations in Sydney. The following day Newcastle Morning Herald reported:

 The ceremony of unveiling the statue of the Queen at the head of King Street at noon today, by Lady Carrington, attracted an immense crowd, estimated at 60,000 persons, not a quarter of whom witnessed the ceremony – only those privileged to be admitted inside the immense enclosure, including the Governors and distinguished visitors from neighbouring colonies, our own members of Parliament with their wives and families, and others favoured with tickets, besides 1500 children from various Public and Denominational schools. The Governor and Lady Carrington were received with deafening cheers.

 (Newcastle Morning Herald, 25 Jan 1888, p.5)

The statue was made by a distinguished English sculptor Sir Edgar Boehm as a replacement for the one lost in the Garden Palace fire on 22 September 1882. According to the commentators of the day the new figure was regarded as a distinct improvement. Mr Boehem was particularly complimented on succeeding to combine “the dignity of a great monarch and the kindness of a good woman.” (South Australian Register, 25 Jan 1888, p.5)


Tyrrell Collection, 85/1285-232

No known copyright restrictions


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