February 3 - 9, 2019: Issue 392


Photographers Of Early Pittwater: Charles Bayliss

Newport, circa 1880-1890, by Charles Bayliss - and enlarged sections from. Part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection  - the steamer may be the Florrie - launched 1879 - or the Illawarra, which also brought excursionists to the Newport wharf - see below under Extras.

Charles Bayliss (1850-4 June 1897), photographer, was born in Hadleigh, Suffolk, England in 1850 - 'Hadleigh' being the name that would later be given to his Sydney home. He was brought to Australia by his parents, Charles and Elizabeth (nee Gardiner) arriving in Melbourne on July 19th 1853 per the North Atlantic, part of the three hundred and forty-nine passengers aboard - they were unassisted emigrants, meaning they paid their own fares.

When around sixteen years old Bayliss met the travelling photographer, Mr. Henry Beaufoy Merlin, who came to the Bayliss house in suburban Melbourne while photographing houses and families throughout Victoria, with a view to selling the photographs to people along the way. Mr. Beaufoy Merlin operated under the name of the American and Australasian Photographic Company (A & A Photographic Company). 

The following curious applications for letters patent appear in the Gazette: ... Edward Wollaston, chemist, Henry Beaufoy Merlin, artist, and Louis Laurence Smith, medical practitioner, all of Melbourne, have applied for a patent for 'An invention for the production of phantoms and apparitions,' and have deposited their specifications and drawings at this Office, on the 6th. day of August, 1868," PARLIAMENTARY INTELLIGENCE (1863, August 14). The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Vic. : 1863 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93694379

Charles Bayliss became Merlin's assistant and the pair travelled extensively throughout Victoria and New South Wales.

Mr. Beaufoy Merlin, of the American and Australasian Photographic Company, George street, Sydney, who accompanied the Aus-tralian Eclipse Expedition, has completed an interesting series of pictures of various scones on the route, together with groups of the scientific party. The two large views of Fitzroy Island are admirable, and the Governor Blackall is also represented with striking fidelity. There is likewise a large carte, on which are arranged vignettes of the members of the official party, as well as the passengers. The likenesses are generally excellent. There are a dozen views in all, which, mounted on cardboard, make a very handsome album. Specimens may be seen by those who are interested in the possession of Mr. Payter, at the telegraph-office, Market street. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1872. (1872, February 10). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5859622

At the goldfields around Hill End, New South Wales, Merlin and Bayliss met Bernhardt Otto Holtermann, who had become wealthy as the result of successful gold mining. Holtermann employed the A & A Photographic Company to produce a series of photographs of the settled areas of Victoria and New South Wales, which could be sent abroad to advertise the colony and encourage migrants. By September 1873 the major part of New South Wales had been completed. However Mr. Merlin died at this time, on September 27th, 1873, of inflamed lungs from a flu-like virus.

Charles Bayliss, then 23 years old, was contracted to continue the work on the project in both New South Wales and Victoria and, in 1874, Holtermann purchased a mammoth Plate camera for Bayliss and the first images taken with it were of Holtermann's recent purchase of the Post office Hotel in Sydney. Bayliss also completed a panorama of Ballarat using this camera.

In 1875 a panorama of Sydney was completed. This was taken from the tower attached to Holtermann's house in North Sydney, now part of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore). 

Bayliss was the main photographer, with work also done by Holtermann together with another photographer, Henshaw Clarke.


Mr. B. O. Holtermann, the well-known gold-miner, and one of the richest men in New South Wales (says the Sydney Evening News) claims to have produced the largest photographic views in the world. After having made his fortune at gold-mining, Mr. Holtermann, at the instance of the late Mr. Beaufoy Merlin, whom he engaged as private photographer, started to take photographic views of the principal parts of New South Wales and Victoria, with the idea of one day making a tour of Europe, and exhibiting a grand panorama of the Australian colonies, —especially New South Wales—as a field for emigration. The most perfect instruments that money could obtain were placed at the disposal of his staff of artists. 

Unfortunately, the sudden death of Mr. Beaufoy Merlin interfered for a time with Mr. Holtermann's plans, but an efficient successor was found in the person of Mr. C. Bayliss, under whose direction the great views of which Mr. Holtermann is now so proud have been produced. He has two views of Sydney and harbour, each 5ft. by 3ft. 2in., and two of 4ft. 6in. by 3ft. 2in. These photographs Mr. Holtermann claims are the largest ever produced from single negatives. They give a complete view of the city and harbour of Sydney from Garden Island to Long Nose. No. 1 negative, which is 5ft. by 3ft. 2in., takes in the space from Garden Island to Dawes' Point; the second of the same size, embraces from Dawes' Point to Miller's Point; the two others, each 4ft. 6in., showing from Miller's Point to Long Nose. 

Apart from the size of the pictures, they are splendid specimens of the photographers' art, the outlines being sharp and clear, and the various objects shown coming out prominently before the eye. In addition to these, Mr. Holtermann has had executed a panoramic view of Sydney and the harbour, 33ft. in length. This embraces a distance of about six miles in length, and the whole of the perspective is shown much clearer than can be seen by the naked eye. Signboards between two and three miles off can be seen easily without the aid of a glass. 

There is but one defect in the picture, and that is the obscure and slightly "smudged" look of the shipping in harbour. The motion of the craft upon the water renders this defect unavoidable. These views are the principal ones, but Mr. Holtermann's studio is stocked with thousands of photographic views, all splendid works of art, of different parts of New South Wales and Victoria. It is his intention to start for England early next year with his grand panorama of Australia, his principal object being to induce immigrants to come to Aus-tralia; and as the expense he has already incurred is something enormous, Mr. Holtermann considers that Government aid should be given to a project designed solely to advance the interests of the colony. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHS. (1875, October 27). The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7423331 

Up to this time Bayliss was based in Melbourne. Then, in 1876, he and the family moved to Sydney and he established a studio in the city. During the Spring of 1877, Bayliss was operating from his home in Paddington, and misplacing equipment on his photographic forays around Sydney. 

LOST. TRIPOD, or Camera Stand. Reward. C. BAYLISS, Photographer, Walter-st, Paddington. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13400302 - 22 September 1877

a few days later: 

LOST, between Paddington and Lane Cove. Buggy APRON. Reward, C. BAYLISS, Photographer, Paddington; or Old Commodore Hotel, Blue's Point. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13400566  - 27 September 1877 

A few weeks later Bayliss was trying to extend his commercial interests by hiring a canvasser. 

WANTED, CANVASSER. By letter, C. Bayliss, photographer, Walter-street, Paddington. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13403713 - 1 December 1877

By Winter he was operating from a proper city studio. 

WANTED, a BOY. C. Bayliss, photographer, 419, George-street. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28392953 - 16 July 1878

The story behind this may make interesting reading, after all, stealing others images is something that's pretty easy to recognise - why take therm then?:

John Langford was brought before another Bench, consisting of Messrs. Alexander, Bull, Fraser, and Burke, charged with having stolen a framed photograph, the property of Charles Bayliss, and ten photographs, the goods of Bernard Goode, and, pleading guilty, was sentenced to be imprisoned six months. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13413192 -  26 November 1878 

Only a year after opening his Sydney studio, he was being extensively lauded in the press. That certain panorama, taken from atop the dome of the Garden Palace, was singled out in particular for effusive praise. 

THERE is now to be seen, at the photographic studio, of Mr. Charles Bayliss, at 419, George-street, one of the largest and finest photographs that has ever been taken in the colony. It is a panoramic view of Sydney and suburbs, and measures 20 feet in length by 22 inches in breadth. It is comprised of eleven plates, 22 inches by 18 inches, which were taken from the top of the lantern on the dome of the Garden Palace, an elevation of 200 feet, and embraces the whole circle. The harbour is seen to the best advantage, while, with the aid of a magnifying glass, almost the smallest house in any part of the city or suburbs can be clearly seen. Such a combination of detail so sharply defined, and so excellently finished, is rarely seen in a photograph. From Botany to Balmain, from the Heads to Darling Harbour, every feature in the landscape is distinctly reproduced, and the prominent buildings of the city stand out boldly. We understand that it is Mr. Bayliss's intention to exhibit the photograph, if possible, at the world's fair; if so, to visitors and residents alike it will prove not the least interesting of the numerous works of art there to be seen. - NEWS OF THE DAY. (1879, October 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13453240 

And again:

Photographic Art.

The photographic art is largely and successfully illustrated at the Garden Palace, especially in the New South Wales Court, where are to be found specimens of the photographer's skill sufficiently numerous to form an interesting and instructive art exhibition by themselves, for it is useless denying that photography constitutes a branch of art, despite the mechanical character of many of the processes employed. 

We must also mention a fine view of the city and harbour of Sydney, from the lantern over the dome of the Garden Palace. This splendid example of Australian photographic art—one of the finest of its kind— is shown by Mr. C. Bayliss, of Sydney. ...

Photographic Art. (1880, April 3). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 645. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161880015 

You can view the whole of this panorama and zoom in on pieces at:  Bayliss, Charles. (1879). [Panorama of Sydney, ca. 1879] Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136809199

He would also sell his equipment - perhaps replacing it:

PHOTOGRAPHY.-Ross' Symmetrical LENS (12 x 10), Bellows, folding Camera (12 x 12), and Tripod Stand,for SALE. C. Bayliss, 415, George-street. Advertising (1880, February 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13453743

By 1885 he was at 348 George Street, and still misplacing things: 

LOST, Tuesday. BLACK BOW with gold brooch. Reward. C. Bayliss, photo., 348, George-street. trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13586615 

On the 4th of March 1880: 

YESTERDAY a diver named Alexander Williamson, employed by Mr. Bayliss, was engaged in recovering the personal effects of the people whose boat was swamped off Shark Island, on Friday last. The water at the spot was seven fathoms in depth, but notwithstanding this Williamson succeeded in finding most of the missing articles. In one of the pockets of a coat he found the photograph of a lady, which to all appearance has not in the least suffered from its long immersion, beyond coming away from the cardboard to which it was attached. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13439912

He put up his plate as Charles Bayliss, Landscape Photographer. 'Landscape' here would have meant both city and country views; with or without buildings and often with people. The sale of these views provided an important income for photographers then, and through his capturing local views, sometimes for commissioned works by those looking to make more well known unknown places, we get to see now famous and then emptier beaches as well as structures long gone. 

'Pier at Manly', New South Wales, ca. 1876, photo by Charles Bayliss - courtesy National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-141520962

Manly by Charles Bayliss, 1850-1897, circa 1880, Image No.: a089684h, courtesy State Library of NSW

His photographs of Pittwater, and even some of Manly, date from around 1876 on and were taken capturing places not readily seen in the images capturing Pittwater during this era taken by other photographers. Here too the ideal could be shared through an image and his work won awards:

Yesterday's Telegrams. 
Adelaide Jubilee Exhibition.
The following additional awards have been granted to New South Wales exhibitors at the Adelaide Exhibition: — Armidale Municipal Council, photographic views, 3rd ; Bathurst Municipal Council, photographic views, 3rd ; Charles Bayliss, Sydney, photographic views, 1st; B. C. Boake. Sydney, nhotofirraphs. 3rd: Carey and Co., Port Natal, South Africa (late of Victoria), photographic views, 2nd; Colonial- Architect, Sydney, photographic views, 2nd. Commissioners for N.S.W., collection of photographic views, 1st ; Department of Public Works, Sydney, photographic views, 1st ; Department of Public Instruction, Sydney, photographic views of school buildings, 3rd. A. Dewhurst, Tamworth, platinotype photographs, 1st; H. Dorner, Goulburn, photographic . views, 2nd ; Freeman and Co., Sydney, photo portraits, 1st ; Government Printer, Sydney, photographic views, 1st;. Government Printer, Sydney, photomechanical printing, 1st; G. Herf ott, Tass, photographic views, 2nd ; Kerry and Jones, Sydney, photographs, st ; H. Nagel, Sydney, enlarged, photos, 2nd ; J. H. Newman, Sydney, photo portraits, 1st; H.C. Eussell, Sydney, photographs, 2nd ; Singleton Municipal Council, photographic views, 3rd; W-- Slade, Ashfield, photographic views, 2nd; W. Wark, Kurrajong Heights, photographic views, 2nd; West Maitland Municipal Council, photographic views, 3rd; Executive Commissioner New South Wales, panorama of Sydney, arranged in circle, 1st; F. T. Wolseley, Melbourne, steam sheep-shearing machine, 1st ; Australian Electric Light Power Storaee Co.. limited, electric light installation, 1st; also transmission of power by electricity to stamping mills, 1st; J. C. Ludovici, Sydney, belting-, 1st; Government Printer, Sydney, account books and library binding, 1st. Gibba, Shallard, and Co., Sydney, general printing, University calendar and catalogue, 1st; Royal Commission N.S.W., catalogue N.S.W. exhibits, 1st ; Government Printer, Sydney, stereo and electrotyping-, 1st; proprietors Town and Country Journal, Sydney, files Town and Country Journal, lst;. Gibbs, Shallard, and Co., Sydney, files Illustrated Sydney News, 1stYesterday's Telegrams. (1887, October 13). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108223522 

Rowboat at Pittwater Basin, New South Wales, circa. 1880 by Charles Bayliss, Image No.: nla.pic-vn4277873, courtesy National Library of Australia.

Barrenjoey headland, New South Wales, ca. 1885 by Charles Bayliss, Image nla.obj-140668620-1, courtesy National Library of Australia

We have received from Mr. C. Bayliss, of George-street, a copy of a well-executed photograph of the booksellers and stationers' picnic, held on Thursday last at Clontarf. The figures, of which there are over 260, are brought out with remarkable sharpness against the immense hill in the background. Altogether, the photographer is to be complimented on securing so excellent a photograph. ' No title (1881, March 14). The Sydney Daily Telegraph (NSW : 1879 -1883), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238302098

In the Winter of 1881 his mother, Elizabeth, passed away:


BAYLISS.—On the 28th inst., at Stanmore, Sydney, Mrs. Charles Bayliss, aged 62 years. Family Notices (1881, June 30). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5986268 

On the first day of Spring in 1883 Charles married Sarah Christiana Salier. 


BAYLISS—SALIER.—September 1, at Petersham, by the Rev. George Campbell, Charles Bayliss to Sarah Christina Salier, fourth daughter of Mr J. J. Salier. Family Notices (1883, September 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13544051 

BAYLISS— SALIER,— September 1, at Petersham, by the Rev. George Campbell, Charles Bayliss to Sarah Christiana Salier, fourth daughter of Mr. J. J. Salter. Family Notices (1883, September 15). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 522. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162023546 

By May 1884 Mrs. Bayliss was seeking some help around the home:

A RESPECTABLE Girl, about 15, wanted, for light housework. Mrs. C. Bayliss, Wemyss-street, Stanmore. Advertising (1884, May 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 20. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13559160

They had seven children together: Raymond Charles (born 1884), Alfred John (1886), Charles (1887—died in infancy), Bessie Salier (1888), Emily Annie (1891), Walter Norman (1893), Eric Edward (1896). Alfred and Walter were both killed in France during World War One.

Charles Bayliss and his family, photographed about the middle of 1895. The children, from left to right, with years of birth; -back row: Raymond Charles (1884), Alfred John (1886); front row: Bessie Salier (1888), Walter Norman (1893), and Emily Annie (1891). Alfred and Walter lost their lives in World War One. Eric Edward Bayliss was born subsequent to the photograph (1896), while Charles (1887) died in infancy. Photo from Gold And Silver (Australasian Photo-Review #7 1953) Burke, Keast & Burke, Walter. (1953). Australasian photo-review Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-468360114 NB: Eric Edward has not been born yet - acknowledgement is made  to Bessie Salier Patterson and Eric Edward Bayliss, the surviving children, who helped with this 1953 article.

Those present saw blocks of soak weighing 15cwt. made on the premises. Mr. Bayliss took a photograph of the lake in its flooded condition, giving a fine idea of the expanse of water. The Water Commission on the Darling. (1886, October 2). The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 17 (Second Sheet to The Maitland Mercury). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18891315 

Charles Bayliss, photographer, photographed in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne in 1886 - From Group photograph taken in the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne, at the conclusion of the Royal Commission on Water Conservation trip.

Gold And Silver (Australasian Photo-Review #7 1953) by Keast Burke, states:

The early nineties are marked by some good family pictures accurately dated to Feb. 22nd, 1891. They show some of the children at play, on a sturdy seesaw and on a dummy coach-these constructed as gifts no doubt for the previous Christmas. All accounts refer to his great love and affection for his young family. For them there could be no worse punishment than a severe look from their father. Apart from that occasional "severe look", all recollections are of a happy father, and of one who was forever adding to that happiness touches of whimsy that could not but charm his wife and his young sons and daughters.

Another important project of the nineties was his photography of almost every important oil painting in the National Art Gallery of Victoria - a large volume of prints contains scores of these copies. These are all so perfectly rendered as to make us wonder whether or not Bayliss had some private means of improving the sensitivity of his colourblind plates, for orthochromatism, is not quite the novelty we have always been led to believe.

From family tradition we learn that Charles Bayliss was one of the earliest process-engravers in Sydney and that he made the illustrative plates for the Sydney Mail of that period. Of this there is no proof beyond. the circumstantial evidence that certain issues (June 22nd, 1895 and September 5th, 1896) refer respectively to "illustrations produced by various new processes" and "great advances [which] have immensely popularised certain forms of pictorial art". This evidence is supplemented by the tradition that "he had men continuously engaged on making blueprints and on other work for architects and engineers" and by the, fact that his eldest son adopted process-engraving as his trade.

On 4 June 1897 Charles Bayliss died at his home, "Hadleigh" in Wemyss Street, Marrickville, Sydney. He had previously caught a chill which swiftly turned to a "galloping pneumonia." He left a wife and young family, the oldest child being only 13 years old. He is buried at Rookwood Cemetery.

He was just 47 years of age:


BAYLISS.— June 4th, at his residence, Hadleigh, Weymss-st., Marrickville, Charles Bayliss, Photographer, aged 47 years. Family Notices (1897, June 7). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238397574 

BAYLISS.—The FUNERAL of the late Mr. CHARLES BAYLISS will leave his late residence, "Hadleigh," Weymss-street, Marrickville, THIS (Saturday) AFTERNOON, at 2 o'clock punctually, for Stanmore station, thence per funeral train to Necropolis. WOOD and COMPANY, Undertakers.

BAYLISS.—The FRIENDS of Messrs. J. E., J. F., H. R., F. J. SALIER and J. DUDLEY are respectfully informed that the Funeral of their deceased BROTHER-IN-LAW, Mr. Charles Bayliss, will leave Hadleigh, Weymss-st., Marrickville, THIS (Saturday) AFTERNOON, at 2 o'clock, for Stanmore Station, thence per funeral train to Necropolis. WOOD and COMPANY, Undertakers. Family Notices (1897, June 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14111489 

BAYLISS. —On the 4th June at Marrickville, Sydney, Charles, eldest brother of W. C. Bayliss, Bank of Victoria Ltd., Rutherglen, aged 47 years. Family Notices (1897, June 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9165282 

Probate was granted to Louisa in October the same year, but with lots of little mouths to feed, selling her husband's equipment was required:

THIS DAY, at 11 A.M.
of the unsold Iots of the
of the late
Several Box and Hollows CAMERAS and fittings
A number of superior LENSES, by Ross, Dallmeyer, and
and other makers
A large quantity of
including a couple of sets of the famous
taken from different standpoints
These give the name or Mr. Bayliss world-wide celebrity.
A massive 18 x I8 Rolling PRESS, in perfect order.
of all kinds,
Tables, Racks, Boxes, Tanks, Dishes, i.e., Lo.
Advertising (1899, November 13). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14234068 

In 1951 approximately 3,500 glass plate photographic negatives were found in the possession of Bernhardt Holtermann's descendants. They were subsequently donated to the Mitchell Library (within the NSW State Library) in Sydney and form the basis of the "Holtermann Collection." In fact, Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss were the photographers.

On 7 March 1953, Eric Bayliss, a son of Charles Bayliss, wrote a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald regarding his father's work. He quoted from an obituary for Bayliss, which appeared in the "Australian Photographical Review" on 19 June 1897, two weeks after the death of Bayliss: 

Early Photographs

Sir.— As the sole surviving son of the late Charles Bayliss, photographer, referred to in the article dealing with photographs of the gold-rush days ("Herald," February 28), may I be permitted to enlarge on his work.

I quote from an obituary, which appeared in the "Australian Photographical Review" on June 19, 1897, two weeks after his death: "He also took the well-known panorama of Sydney and the harbour from the great dome of the Garden Palace in the Domain and, to get this, performed some astonishing and risky feats of climbing and balancing on the outside of the dome. The picture was taken on a series of 18in x 22in plates and, when completed, formed a panoramic view nearly 20ft in length..."

These, as well as all other work by him, were taken on "wet plate" negatives. He took a vast number of photographs of Sydney, the suburbs, mountains, and country, as far as the Victorian border, as well as groups and portraits.

After Beaufoy Merlin's death, Charles Bayliss took over the business and carried on in his own name until his death. Many of the photographs found in the shed on the property owned by Mr. Holterman were taken by Charles Bayliss.

E. E. BAYLISS. Greenwich Point.

Early Photographs (1953, March 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18360482

The obituary in the "Australian Photographical Review" (mentioned above) noted that "As a man he was ever genial and kindly; as a landscape photographer he had few equals and no superiors. His memory is forever honoured in the hearts of all who knew him." His memory is also forever honoured in the "Holtermann Collection," the most important photographic documentation of goldfields life in Australia and an enduring record of life in Australia in the late 19th century.

For residents of Pittwater his most important work was documenting some views, of which more must be hidden somewhere, as well as taking the photographs of the first Hawkesbury Bridge during construction or of bays further south - Mosman Bay when it was still spelled 'Mossman's Bay' for example:

Mossman's Bay by Charles Bayliss, circa 1880

Bayliss, Charles. (1876). Wharf at Peats Ferry, Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, ca. 1885 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-141515564

Bayliss, Charles. (1887). Public Works contractors picnic to Lord Brassey K.C.B., Hawkesbury River, Saturday 9th July 1887, the party on Messrs Anderson & Barr's jetty, Dangar Island, [New South Wales] Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136818360

In 2008 the National Library of Australia held a major exhibition on the work of Charles Bayliss. The extensive exhibition website [now archived] can be viewed here - A Modern Vision: Charles Bayliss, Photographer, 1850–1897. The book by Helen Ennis which accompanied the exhibition can be downloaded from the website as a PDF.

A testament to the esteem his images still have, especially his 'views', is shown in that his photographs now fetch thousands of dollars in Art Auctions and collectors have to order prints from originals. His works are held by every state library and many museums of note within Australia as well as being kept in many places overseas of equal cultural importance to those places who had been gifted some of his works.

Pittwater circa 1880-1890, by Charles Bayliss - and enlarged sections from. Part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection  - the inner part of The Basin or ?

References And Extras

Lane Cove And Pittwater. 


Another trip I took very recently, via Manly to Pittwater, or rather Newport, as I suppose it will in future be known by. I was fortunate enough to be included in a party of four, and, like the previous one, found this journey an extremely pleasant one. Taking a couple of conveyances from Manly, we drove on a very well made road 'some 14 miles or so, passing enroute through a very large shallow lagoon, connected with the ocean by a narrow outlet. I was informed that it was the duty of some official to so " manipulate" the sandbank at the latter place as to keep the crossing place as safe as possible, by allowing free outlet for the water. It is to be hoped that this gentle-'man does not neglect his work, as I understand it is a matter that requires constant attention. Arrived at the embryo township of Newport, we had just time to give a passing glance around before our brief sojourn was over. There is already a small quay where the American pine is landed that the one house-an hotel-is being partly constructed of. The place is very beautiful, and the gentlemen interested therein, Messrs. Mills, Pile, and Jeannerett, deserve well of the Sydney people for their enterprise in making another "extra desirable" resort of the metropolitan citizens. I may mention, concerning the lagoon we had to got through, that a bridge thereon is already on the tapis, that will place Newport within three hours of the General Post-office. And thus, so far; ends, my suburban pilgrimage, which I have as heartily enjoyed as anything of the sort it has been my good fortune to experience. Lane Cove and Pittwater. (1880, August 28). Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 18. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70947110

Picture of Newport hotel above is dated 10.7.1884 by Robert Hunt and courtesy Pittwater Local studies - Historical Images, Mona Vale Library.

Sydney Items by "Observer."

On Saturday last a large number of excursionists availed themselves of the holiday to visit Newport, which is situated at the head of Pittwater, about three hours steam from Sydney; and as there has been for some time continual allusions to the attractions in and around its locality, I took a ticket at a cost of 5s. for the trip, and must say the amount was well spent, the excursion turning out pleasant beyond all expectations. 

On landing at Newport, with an appetite sharpened by the steady steam trip of fifteen miles to Barranjoey, against a light north-easterly breeze, and being composed by the smooth run of four miles up the Pittwater inlet, the sight of a good supply of peaches with the bloom on them, pears, apples, and passion fruit, etc., beneath a tent erected by some enterprising local farmer, was a welcome surprise, and it is needless to say the fruit suffered severely. 

After this the Newport Hotel was visited, and, as dinner was ready, this had to be attended to at the moderate cost of 1s. 6d. ; but, the time being limited, the roving portion of the excursion began, and I soon found beautifully-shaded glens, with picnic parties sitting upon beds of light green moss, beneath broad-topped trees. There were ferns of many kinds to gather ; the native cabbage-tree, rock lilies, and staghorns, could be seen growing to perfection; and then the climbing-plants attached from the bottom to the top of the high gum trees, and drooping, in naturally-formed festoons, from the ends of each bough to the ground, and, passing on to other trees, formed a picture not soon forgotten. 

Afterwards the sea beach was reached in about three quarters of a mile from Newport, and we learned of numerous caves to visit, but they were left for a more convenient time, and the fear of being too late for our steamer soon brought us to Newport beach, where oysters are numerous; and there must be good fishing ground near, as some fair samples were hauled ashore by those people who came prepared with lines and other articles.

It is lucky the caves and other things we heard of did not tempt us, for it was not long after reaching the wharf that the Illawarra's whistle gave its last shriek, and we were just arranging how to while away the time on the homeward trip, it never being considered pleasant to go back the way you come. 

On turning the first point after leaving the Newport wharf, a beautiful scene of hill and dale on both sides of the noble ex-panse of the broad lake-like Pittwater, with bold grotesque shaped sandstone headland projecting at numerous parts on both sides, and neat white sandy beaches nestled at the ends of irregularly formed bays, stretching 4 miles to Barrenjoey on the west side, and to the Hawkesbury Head on the east, with an island in view between these points, of couchant lion shape, as if guarding the entrance of the angry sea when setting from east to west, and on turning Barranjoey Head for home to observe the crested waves dashing against the rocky projections causing white fairy like foam for a moment, and at times when dashed high enough, the prismatic colors of the particles of sea water were so brilliant that one might be excused for wishing they would not fade so soon. At this stage of the trip, however, the pleasures ended for me, as the steady rolling waves caused curious feelings, culminating in irregular movements over the side of the steamer, and making me wish myself safely moored in Sydney, as was the case at 7.20 p.m.
Sydney Items by "Observer." (1881, January 6). The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article814463


1. - The Star Camera. 2. - Mr Russell's Study 3.-Collection of Meteorites. 4. - Recording Mechanism of Anemometer. 5. - Portable Anemometer. 6. - Large Equatorial Telescope. 7. - Transit Instrument. 8. - General View of the Observatory. 9. - Rain Gauges, &c., on the Lawn. 10. - Self-recording Meteorological Instruments. 11. -A Corner of the Thermometer Shed. 12. - Seismograph. 13. - Mechanism for Releasing Time Ball. 14. - The Assistant Astronomer at the Transit Instrument.

The Sydney Observatory.

(See Illustrations on pages 26 and 27.)

Familiar and conspicuous in the view of Sydney is the ivy-clad tower which rises from the hill-top, upon a grassy expanse, green amidst the stony wilderness of surrounding buildings. The wind-gauge and time-ball above its summit, and the adjoining domes, each suggestive of a monsterous egg in an egg-cup, declare it, even to those little acquainted with either science, to be dedicated to the service of astronomy and meteorology. The connection between these is little more than casual, since the influence of the heavenly bodies upon terrestrial weather is neither direct nor obvious, and has practically nothing to do with the daily records and forecasts of meteorology; so that a man ignorant of astronomy might be a skilful meteorologist, or an efficient, astronomer pay no attention to meteorology.

But since the subject matter of both studies lies in the same direction, while the same skill in precise observation and in the manipulation of delicate instruments is required in each, we find them commonly pursued by the same persons and under the same organisations.

Of the two, meteorology is more appreciated and understood by the many. To foretell rain or gales, for the warning of the farmer, the sea man, and the pleasure-seeker, is a service whose value all can recognise as practical; while the profoundest investigation of the secrets of space, the most inspiring revelation of the processes by which the universe is made and is still a-making, seems to the utilitarian mind a thing of little worth.

The real value of astronomical research, on its own intrinsic grounds, cannot be fitly pleaded here; but to patriotic Australians it need only be said that the greatest and foremost nations recognise its importance, and that as we esteem our position, actual or potential, amongst their number, we do well to share with them the federal leaguer of the host of heaven.

As our representative in this international work, the Government Astronomer occupies a position of great, dignity and importance; and the achievements of the present occupant of that post confer no greater honor upon himself than upon the country which he serves.

There is an international character in almost all astronomical work, but in no instance is it more conspicuous than in tho great task of charting the stars by photography, instituted by the conference of astronomers at Paris in 1887. Mr. Russell attended that conference, and was one of the few who undertook, and of the still fewer who have constantly pursued, the great labor of years which it initiated. The combination of telescope and photographic camera which heads our list, of illustrations was provided for this important work, upon which it has now been engaged nearly ten years. The star-photographs obtained by its means are not only astronomical records of high value, but in many cases form pictures of extraordinary beauty, even surpassing in distinctness the ocular view of the same star groups as seen with a corresponding telescopic power.

The equatorial telescope shown in No. 6 of our illustrations, and the Transit Instrument which appears in Nos. 7 and 14, are amongst, the largest and most complete in the Southern Hemisphere. Of their uses, it may be roughly said that the former is disigned for the observation of a celestial body in any position, while the latter is for ascertaining the precise moment of its passage over the meridan, being thus specially adapted to observations for time.

It is thus used in connection with the daily time signal, of which the mechanism appears in No. 13. An exact observation of the sun being taken, usually at noon, if the sky is clear enough for the purpose, a clock is set thereby. At 1 o'clock precisely the movement of the clock completes the circuit of an electro-magnet which draws back the trigger and releases the time-ball, previously hauled up close to the cross-trees of its staff.

The anemometers, or wind-gauges which figure in several of the illustrations bring us to purely meteorological matters. The delicate apparatus by which the revolving cups transmit the record of the wind's velocity, and the vane that of its direction, to pencils acting upon a rotating cylinder within the building, is hardly capable of brief description, and the ingenuity of its contrivance, a large share of which we understand to be due to Mr. Russell himself, must, as showmen say, "be seen to be appreciated." The rainfall is made to register itself in a somewhat similar, but even less describable manner, while the temperature and barometrical pressure are also obliged to re cord their own variations, the latter by means of the "barograph," invented by Mr. Russell in 1871. The charts formed by these instruments, in which the lines acknowledge the effect of each shift of wind or passing cloud, as shown in the accompanying notes, by corresponding deflections, are a most curious and interesting sight.

Other instruments, rain-gauges, thermometers, and the like, such as require full exposure, are placed on the open lawn, protected by wire net ting against the unscientific curiosity of cats and sparrows. These appear in No. 9, while in No. 11 we have a few of the instruments in the thermometer shed, whose open lattice-work allows the freest circulation of air.

No. 12 shows the seismograph, an apparatus for detecting and recording not only earthquakes, but such lesser tremors of the earth's crust as are hardly to be called by that appalling name, and are less infrequent than is commonly thought. The general view of the Observatory, No. 8, and that of the astronomer's study, No. 2, speak sufficiently for themselves; but a word must be said of the system of weather charts and forecasts which Mr. Russell, in about 1878, was the first to introduce into this country. To explain it fully would involve a treatise; but for the present purpose it will suffice to say simultaneous instrumental readings and states of weather are daily received from a large number of stations, at present no less than 320 in Australasia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.

These form the material of the daily forecasts, not merely, as many people seem to think, by the description they give of approaching weather, but also, and principally, by constructing from them a chart of the areas of high and low barometric pressure, whence the direction and force of the ] wind can be foretold with considerable accuracy.

Mr. Russell regards the conditions of Australia as highly favorable to success in weather prophesy, and the average accuracy of the forecasts seems to confirm the opinion.

To the morning forecast has lately been added an evening one, dated 9 p.m., a measure which should be popular with those who desire to know the probable weather with a view to the day's occupation or amusement. For the morning fore cast, even if published in the evening papers, was only in the hands of the public when the day was far advanced; while those made over night are accessible in the morning journals, with twelve or fourteen daylight hours out of the twenty-four hours of their currency still to run, and it is with the day's, rather than the night's, weather that the average citizen is most concerned.

It is impossible to do more than refer in passing to the systematic electrical observations or to the record of tidal variations which since 1871 has been kept by means of Mr. Russell's ingeniously contrived gauges; and there is much of the work of the Observatory to which not even brief reference can be made. Although the situation of the Observatory, with its high elevation and uninterrupted view, is in many respects admirable, it is found that the increasing smoke of our busy and growing city often impedes observation, as anyone may well believe who sees the columns of smoke rising around Darling Harbor, or the heavy mist-mainly a re sult of the smoke-which rests over the city in early morning.

This fact, together with the vibraition and the electric disturbance occasioned by the heavy traffic of the city and the currents circulating in its lighting and other services, has rendered a new site of observation even more desirable and in the near future necessary. A suitable position, with clear air free from the excessive moisture of Sydney, has been selected in the neighborhood of Pennant Hills, and the erection of a new Observatory there-on is probably only a matter of time-and or money.

Mr. Russell, whose portrait appears on this page, is a native of New South Wales having been born at Maitland in 1836. He was educated at the Church of England Grammar School in that town, and afterwards proceeded to Sydney University, where he attained distinction in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. In 1858 he was appointed first assistant to the Rev. W. Scott, who then filled the position of Government Astronomer. Under him and under his successor, Mr. G. R. Smalley, Mr. Russell performed much excellent work, taking sole charge of the Observatory during the eighteen months' interregnum between Mr. Scott's resignation and Mr. Smalley's arrival from England. On the death of the latter in 1870, Mr. Russell was appointed Government Astronomer, and his first work was to establish the meteorological department of the Observatory. In 1874 he gave illustration of his remarkable energy and genius for organisation by directing the observa tions made of the transit of Venus, carried out with such remarkable success that if the world had depended upon New South Wales alone in the Southern Hemisphere for records of this important astronomical event, valuable for its bearing upon the distance and the pa rallax of the sun, the result would have been the same as was obtained from all the observing stations together. No less success attended the ex pediltlons sent to observe the transit of Mercury in

1881, and those directed against a second transit of Venus in 1882 were only defeated by the clouds which hid the sun from every station.

The part taken by our astronomer In the great work set on foot by the conference of Paris in 1887 has already been referred to, as have a few of his numerous and valuable inventions. For twenty-seven years he has sustained the honor of this colony by taking a leading part in important astronomical investigations. Many volumes of reports and papers on various scientific subjects bear witness to his industry. As an observer he has been indefatigable, as instanced by the fact that he has remeasured all the principal stans in Sir John Herschell's famous catalogue and independently discovered over 500 double stars.

Mr. Russell is a member of numerous learned and scientific bodies in Australia and elsewhere. In 1871 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 1874 a Fellow of the Meteorological Society, in 1875 a member of the Royal Colonial Institute, in 1876 a member of the Senate of Sydney University, in 1877-82-84 president of the Royal Society of New South Wales, in 1883 a member and in 1884 vice-president of the Board of Technical Education, and in 1886 a Fellow of the Royal Society of England. On the Queen's Birth day, 1890, Mr. Russell was created by her Majes ty a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

His honors incompletely express the esteem in which the Government Astronomer of New South Wales is held throughout the scientific world, or the value placed by his fellow-countrymen upon the attainments and the services of which he himself makes no parade, as well as upon the personal qualities which render him one of the most popular and most universally respected of our citizens. The Sydney Observatory. (1897, November 13). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 26. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71280237 

Mr. B. O. Holtermann.

The contemplated departure of Mr. B. O. Holtermann for Philadelphia, where his splendid panoramic views of Sydney and other photographs are to be shown at the Centennial Exhibition, will probably be delayed through illness. Mr. Holtermann is confined to his bed, and is being attended by Drs. McKellar and Schuette. Mr. B O. Holtermann. (1876, March 15)Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107180058 

Death of Mr. Holtermann, M.L.A.

It is with regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. B. O. Holtermann, M.L.A., of St. Leonards, North Shore, which took place at his residence on Wednesday. The deceased gentleman was most successful as a gold digger. He began work at Hawkins's Hill in 1856, but the workings were given up two years afterward, on account of the gold being scarce. In 1871, after some unsuccessful resumptions, a vein was opened by him which yielded 50 ounces to the ton. Mr. Beyers, his partner, sold his share for a large sum, but Mr. Holtermann retained his. The deceased was very clever as a photographer, to which business he devoted a portion of his fortune, and some of the largest views of the city which were ever produced were executed by him. Mr. Holtermann was a member of Parliament for some years. The cause of death was dropsy, consequent upon a malignant enlargement of the liver. The remains of the deceased gentleman wore interred in the St. Leonards cemetery yesterday (Friday) after-noon. Mr. Holtermann was a Freemason, and a member of Unity Lodge, E.C., and before his death requested that the Masonic ritual should be read at his grave. In compliance with this request, there was a Masonic service at the grave.  Death of Mr. Holtermann, M.L.A. (1885, May 2). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 42. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71027141 

Henry Beaufoy Merlin (1830-1873) was an Australian photographer, showman, illusionist and illustrator. In the 1850s he worked as a theatrical showman and performer in Sydney, Newcastle and Maitland. In 1863 he was the first person to introduce Pepper's ghost to Australia. After this, he took up photography and between 1869 and 1872 turned the American Australasian Photographic Company into one of the most respected studios in Australia. Between 1872 and 1873 he worked extensively documenting the goldfields and mining towns of New South Wales. In 1873, as an employee of Bernhardt Holtermann, he photographed Sydney and many rural New South Wales towns. He died on 27 September 1873.

Mr. Merlin was born in Norfolk, England, the son of a chemist, Frederick Merlin, and his wife, Ann Harriet (nee Beaufoy). He was baptised in Wells-next-the-Sea in March 1830. Merlin and his mother arrived in Sydney from London as steerage passengers, on 8 December 1848.

In 1851 Ann Harriet married Henry John Forster. The Sydney Morning Herald records that the bride’s name was Anne Harriett Murlin, daughter of Benjamin Beaufoy. After his mother’s marriage to Foster, Merlin took to using a number of different names before finally settling on Beaufoy Merlin.

In May 1853, Henry Murlin took out a licence to establish a Marionette theatre, ‘executed with mechanical figures.’[8] Merlin opened in the old Olympic Circus building in Castlereagh Street and a month later went on the road with the ‘burlesque theatre’ holding a number of shows, including a performance of Bombastes Furioso by William Rhodes.

By 1855 Merlin had set up an amateur theatre in Maitland where he started referring to himself as Henry B. Muriel. Around the middle of 1856 Merlin opened a ‘beautiful little’ theatre in High Street named the ‘Queen’s Theatre’ which accommodated 300 people. The Following year, after the Maitland theatre burned to the ground, he moved to Newcastle where he worked as a manager, actor and painter of scenery for ‘The Newcastle Theatre.’

After a few shows, Merlin left Newcastle and, in May 1857, he applied for a license to exhibit panoramas in Sydney. A year later he was still in Sydney and in June 1858, he opened a new exhibition at the Lyceum Theatre, Sydney.

Merlin’s Indian panorama, painted by himself and a Mr. Guy, seems to have involved a series of scrolling panoramic scenes and projections over which a narrator would recount tales, offer scientific snippets, sing songs and offer humorous vignettes. Within a few weeks of its, opening Merlin added a new scene to the production titled The Storming of Delhi, from the Cashmere [sic.] Gate, presumably highlighting events from the Indian rebellion the year before. At the end of November 1858 Merlin sold the ‘Indian Panorama’.

While details of Merlin’s general movements are sketchy, over the next few years but in 1863 he was back in England. In January Henry Beaufoy Merlin married Louisa Eleanor Foster at the church of St Mary in Bow, Middlesex, and it was under this name he and Louisa moved back to Australia. By July Merlin was settled in Melbourne where he embarked on a new theatrical enterprise which projected a spectral illusion onto a stage (the ghost).

The couple had two children while in Victoria - Francis Henry Beaufoy, born 1866, and Constance Louisa Beaufoy, born 1869.

On the 21 January 1865, H. Merlin, opened the ‘Kyneton Photographic Studio’ in Piper Street, Kyneton, a small town in northern Victoria. The studio was completed at considerable expense and advertised instantaneous portraits, landscape and stereoscopic views, enlargements from carte de visites in crayon and in oil as well as an operating room, ‘constructed on the principle recently designed by Mr Matheson of the Crystal Palace, and until the present occasion, never introduced to this colony.

Importantly, Merlin was already advertising his services to take photographs of public buildings and private residences, ‘at moderate terms and on the shortest notice’, as this would become one of the features of American and Australasian Photographic Company. However it seems Merlin had dangerously extended his credit to set up the studio and without enough customers was, by May 1865, filing for insolvency. In particular, he pointed out how ‘he had been deprived by the owner of the use of certain necessary implements he had on hire for the purpose of carrying on his business.’

By December 1865 the insolvency proceedings had been resolved and, with no more creditors, Merlin appears to have moved to Ballarat where his mother, now a widow, was also living. Included in a description of the Ballarat District Exhibition for 1866, photographs by Roberts and Merlin of Ballarat are mentioned alongside Mrs. Forster’s wax flowers and fruits which were described as being, ‘so beautiful that it is difficult to wish for anything better.’

By February 1869 his contemporaries were touting him as a successful travelling landscape photographer and he was working on an album of landscapes for His Excellency the Governor of Victoria as well as taking photographs for the Prince of Wales who was to visit Sydney in the same year.

In June 1869, he was at Emerald Hill giving a ‘highly-interesting and instructive lecture The Pilgrim's Progress, illustrated with beautiful dissolving views.’ His experiences over this period must have convinced him that there was money to be made taking landscape and architectural views but the failure of his studio in Kyneton and his prior experience as a travelling showman seems to have encouraged him to set up a different kind of photographic business. On 21 June 1869, he formed the American and Australasian [sometimes recorded as Australian] Photographic Company (AAPC).

A company called the American and Australian Photographic Company has been formed, for the purpose of carrying out photographic operations on an extensive scale. The company have an office in the city, but the headquarters of the landscape department is at Emerald Hill. The company commenced business on Monday.

Initially, the office in Melbourne was located at 73 Little Collins Street but it seems Merlin opened a second office, at 4 Barrack Street, Sydney, in September 1869. Although the AAPC offices were located in the city, much of the business was being done in country areas. The AAPC business model adopted a new methodology to increase efficiency and mitigate the costs of travelling to country towns. From Wikipedia - more below:

Death of Mr. Beaufoy Merlin. — 

The numerous friends of the above gentleman throughout the colony will learn with deep regret that he died, after a very short Illness, on Saturday afternoon, of inflammation of the lungs supervening upon the epidemic (a kind of influenza) which has Iately been so general in Sydney. Mr. Merlin had won the esteem of a wide circle of friends by his great kindness of heart, and singularly unpretentious, straightforward and genial character. Energetic, temperate and active to a remarkable degree, his unexpected decease will surprise as well as grieve all to whom he was known. As a photographic artist he was almost without a rival, while his talents as a writer were of a very superior kind, although want of leisure greatly interfered with his literary tastes. NEWS OF THE DAY (1873, September 29). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107178308

Portrait of Henry Beaufoy Merlin, from original quarter plate negative, attributed, American and Australasian Photographic Company - courtesy State Library of NSW http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110043053 

At his residence, Abercrombie House, Abercrombie-street, HENRY BEAUFOY MERLIN, Esq., after a short but painful illness, aged 43 years, deeply regretted by a large circle of friends. Family Notices (1873, September 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28410594

THE FRIENDS of the late HENRY BEAUFOY MERLIN, Esq., are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral ; to move from his late residence, Abercrombie House, Abercrombie-street, off Parramatta-street, THIS (Monday) AFTERNOON, at quarter-past 3 o'clock, for Balmain Cemetery. J. and G. SHYING and CO.

ROBERT BURNS LODGE, 817 E. C. -The Brethren of this Lodge are respectfully invited to attend the FUNERAL of their late Brother MERLIN ; to move from Abercrombie House, Abercrombie-place, Parramatta-street, 3 p.m., THIS DAY. M. CHARLTON, W.M Family Notices (1873, September 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28410640

Amongst the passengers by the Warrimoo, which arrived on Saturday from Vancover, is Lady Tichborne, who, accompanied by Mrs Beaufoy Merlin, is making a trip round the worldGeneral News. (1896, November 13). The Yackandandah Times (Vic. : 1890 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article144951971

Ormuz, R.M.S., 6,887 tons, for London via ports, H. E. Inskip commander. Passengers.-For London-Mr. and Mrs. H. G. W. Chetwynd, infant, and nurse. Miss Ogilvie and child, Mrs. Beaufoy Merlin, Lady Tichborne, .SHIPPING. (1897, November 27). The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 - 1946), p. 45. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article138631038

A few samples of his written works on the expeditions he accompanied:

Photographic Artist of Holterman's Exhibition,


CIVILISATION is advancing with slow but unfaltering steps against the lost strongholds of barbarism. China and Japan, like India of more than a century ago, have already felt the influence of that mysterious power which comes from the West, and even the long benighted regions of the Papuan archipelago are now on the eve of also realising it. A kind Providence seems to direct discovery so as to meet the requirements of the world's energy and commercial heroism. That terra incognita of the orient, New Guinea, so long a region for speculation and conjecture, is likely to be soon brought within the domain of authentic geographical knowledge. It was like a prevision on the part of her Britannic Majesty's Government to anticipate the possible wants of the age, by commissioning a gallant naval officer to undertake an expedition for the purpose of gaining some information of a land likely at no distant day to be of great importance in Eastern enterprise Captain Moresby, of H.M.S. Basilisk, had received his instructions for the examination of a part of the New Guinea coast, some time before the people of these colonies began to speculate on the pro-bable advantages of opening a more extensive trade with the tropical islands and with Japan, China, and India, and before Queensland had commenced negotiations for an ocean postal and mercantile route via Torres Straits.

New Guinea, lying as it does between 0°15 and 10° S. Iat., and 131° and, 149° E. long., is obviously an admirable geographical centre, at which Eastern, Asiatic, Polynesian, Australian, and Malayan trade will before many years converge. That England should occupy a prominent position there, is only a natural introduction to great future achievements.

The particulars given of New Guinea in this sketch may be confidently relied on. They are, in every respect, genuine, and may be accepted as "information received" from the very best sources. The writer considers himself personally responsible for his statements of fact. As to his inferences, he believes the premises on which they are founded will justify them. He has sanguine, though by no means exaggerated, hopes in the future of the great tropical island, some of the products of which will add to the variety and interest of the forthcoming Exhibition with which he is connected. He thinks that a history of peaceful industrial achievements-of moral progress-will yet be written of the now almost unknown Papua, and that its Bird of Paradise* will be blazoned on as prominent a shield as that which is supported south of it, but less beautifully, by the kangaroo and the emu.

It may be as well to mention here that the area of New Guinea is set down at 275,600 square miles. Its population is conjectured to be about a million. It is separated from New Holland on the south by Torres Straits ; from New Britain and New Ireland, on the east, by Dampier's Straits; and from Gilolo, on the north-west, by Pitt's Straits. Dampier, D'Entre-casteau, Bougainville, Cook, and other illustrious navigators have visited it, or its adjacent islands, and given much geographical information about it.

It was reserved, however, for Capt. Moresby, of H. M.S. Basilisk, to discover the most attractive and important portion of this great island. Captain Moresby commenced his cruise from the Eastern coast of Australia to New Guinea in the early part of the current year. The Basilisk left Somerset, Cape York, on the 24th January, and reached Bramble Cay (lat.8°10, lon 143° 40) on the 8th of February following. Before reaching the principal island, several small isles-some of them not uninteresting-were visited and observed-such as the Brothers, Jarvis, Cornwallis, the Warrior, Cocoa-nut, Dalrymple, Darnley, and Murray Islands.

When within a few miles of Bramble Cay, on the afternoon of the 8th of February, a somewhat exciting scene broke the monotony of the voyage, and gave Jack, what he always enjoys, a bit of fun. It would appear that one of the monster turtles of those latitudes had come into too close proximity with one of the paddle wheels of the vessel, and received a shock for which it was altogether unprepared. Some excitement in capturing the disabled creature ensued. Officers and men pursued the chase in boats, and successfully captured the singular object of their pursuit. It quite repaid them for their trouble, and rather astonished them by its size. No one on board had seen the like before. At first it was thought to be by some a luggerhead, by others a hornback ; but at last it became evident that it was a large species of turtle. Its back was a glossy black, but underneath it was curiously mottled with dark and white spots. The shell was comparatively soft ; it could easily be pierced by a penknife. The creature weighed 480lb, and formed an agreeable addition to the ordinary bill of ship's fare-particularly in shape of soup, which would have made a London aldermanic gourmond's mouth water.

The vessel, holding her course along the coast, was brought to anchor off the month of what appeared to be a large river in Redscar Bay (lat. 9'15 S., long. 146'50 E) on the 13th February. The coast of the bay, as far as the eye could scan, was low and swampy, and fringed with mangroves. There was a village of con siderable size near the mouth of the river, in which some missionaries had been residing for some months. They were in an enfeebled state of health. The climate at this particular place does not scorn to be very salubrious - quite exceptionable, in fact, in reference to other parts of the country-probably on account of its low-lying situation, and the swampy character of the contiguous land. Two of the missionaries and their wives were suffering from an acute attack of fever and ague, and had to he conveyed on board for medical treatment, and were subsequently taken to Somerset, Cape York, where they proposed to remain to recruit.

The Captain and several officers gallantly endeavoured for three whole days to explore the river emptying itself into Redscar Bay. Their efforts were not without trouble, particularly as they were assailed by mosquitoes of a size so large that " Hexham greys ' of the Hunter River District, in New South Wales, might be called babies compared to them. They seemed to like the flavour of Anglo-Saxon blood, as they paid incessant attention to the white men of the party. The river proved to be shallow, full of snags, and with a rapid current. To add to the annoyance of the explorers it rained heavily. This was certainly disagreeable, as the party could not land and form a camp. On the pleasures of this port of the expedition a very lively song was composed, and aftergards sung by its author, Lieutenant " ay ter, at one of his popular "Evening Readings" on board the Basiliak. The burthen of it was, of course, the miseries of the Redscar River expedition.

The vessel next proceeded along the coast to the southward ; but some difficulty was experienced in avoiding the numerous reefs that lie to the south of Redscar Head. While at the Bay several natives came on board, while many more moved round the ship in canoes. They were shy and destitute of clothing, save a bit of matting fastened round their loins. The average height of the adult men seamed to be about five feet five inches. They looked well made and muscular, but were not so clean nor apparently so healthy as others of the aborigines with whom the crew of the Basilisk subsequently became acquainted. The vessel was brought to anchor off Redscar Head on the 15th, and there she remained till the forenoon of the 20th, in order to enable the several exploring boat parties to prosecute their examination of the coast south of Red-scar Head, a duty which they seem to have performed with great zeal.

On the morning of the 20th the ship got underweigh, and soon came in sight of one of the boat-parties, the men of which came on board in great glee, announcing with enthusiasm that they had found a beautiful harbour on the coast, only a few miles to the southward Next day -Fisherman' Isle having been previously passed-an opening in the reef, about a mile in extent, was perceived, and the vessel, stood in towards the land. Between the reef and the mainland, and in a direct line from the opening in the reef barrier, there is deep water-at least sixteen fathoms at low tide. The mouth of a port here presented itself, through which the Basilisk passed, and then entered a quiet, land-locked harbour. The opening was subsequently named Port Moresby, and the latter Fairfax Harbour. The situation is latitude 9 30 South, longitude 147.10 east. ' This benutiful Port received its designation from Captain Moresby, in honour of his father. Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby, the officer through whose instrumentality, about twenty years since, the Pitcairn Islanders were conveyed to their present home—that "' Eden of the Pacific"-Norfolk Island.

Although this charming creature-the Queen of Beauty amongst birds-has been found in China, Japan, and some parts of India, than, can be no doubt as to its being originally a native of New Guinea. The earlier naturalists made singular mistakes about it, describing it as footless, living on dew, and lothing to touch the earth-in fact, making it more dainty than any bird in Classic or Fairy Mythology. The Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisea apoda of Linn.) is of a cinnamon hue, throat golden green, side-feathers long and floating, crown bright saffron, and about a foot in length, from the bill to the end of the real tail, but more than two feet to the end of the tail-feathers. The species, generally, have straight, strong, compressed bills, their nostrils being coverall with feathers of a velvety or metallic lustre. The colouring of the plumage is lumiuous, but harmonious, shade blending into shade in an exquisite manner. They are to some extent gregarious, and move in flights of thirty or forty, with a leader above the rest, and keen their light and voluminous plumage unruffled, by always flying against the wind. When the wind suddenly changes, their feathers become disordered, so that the birds often fall suddenly.

Fairfax Harbour and its surroundings form a beautiful picture, soft in outline, and of tropical richness colour. Its unexpected features inspired the men connected with the expedition agreeably-they felt indemnified for all the dullness and troubles of their voyage. In the first place, the entrance to Port Moresby is excellent, the land on each side rising gently to a considerable elevation, the highest point being over 800ft above the sea-level, and luxuriantly timbered. Three small but picturesque islands add to the surprising beauty of the bright scene. Past Jana Island, and ' then still calmer waters of the inner haven, they proceeded to the irregular but well sheltered basin, here-after to be known as Fairfax Harbour. The frame of swelling landscape which en-closes this spot is in harmony with the tranquil character of the whole picture. Sparsely wooded semi circular hills rise above the beach, but the slope upwards is not abrupt-the eye being never offended with hard outlines. The basin is well adapted for large vessels, the depth being from 7 to 4 fathoms, the latter the minimum within a few yards of the beai. 

The hills abound with wallaby and other game. There are several considerable villages in the vicinity of port and harbour. Taro and yam gardens brighten the sides of the slopes and a great variety of other vegetables were seen. The natives appear to be quiet a inoffensive They are short of stature, but well-made and clean. The women wear a nicety-made petticoat grass fibre, tied round the waist, and falling to the knees, where it terminates in a varigated fringe. Th also tattoo on their arms and breasts, and sometimes thier faces, with pretty devices. They wear few ornaments. The men who are rather good- looking, wear a mat-apron ¡-um« of them probably, as a symbol of rai or . lue«, carry small stone mes._ The cast and countenance of many of them is decidedly Israeliti or rather Caucasian-another instance of the man which are to be found in the islands of the East Archipelago. 

The chiefs and men of note among them ornament their heads with the plumage of the cassowary, and the splendid feathers of the bird of Paradise, whose native habitat is this Bonny region. They also sport shell rings, shell beads, and armlets elaborately wrought matting. Some of the young swe wear a pretty red flower in their hair, and in ma: instances a portion of the helmet or conch shell in their noses. In fact n i the vanity of attire would seem to arrogated by these Papuan gentlemen. They were very willing to barter with the officers and crew, and we childishly delighted with the glass beads, glass bottles, pieces of red cloth, and other trifles which they got exchange for their more valuable products Looking glasses at first amused them greatly, but they did n care about possessing any of them, deterred apparent by some dread of their powers. They never seemed to have seen a sheep before the arrival of the British but they have abundance of cassowary and wallaby, the flesh of which they highly esteem. Fish is also abundant and easily caught easily within the atilt waters that lie between the barrier reef and the mainland.

' Nothing is more characteristic of the Papuans than their order of architecture. The houses are built on piles from 6 to 10 feet high ; a ladder being used to let up to the doorway The piles are some times grotesque carved and curiously coloured. Although the natives were extremely kind to all the expedition, they did not like them to enter their houses ; but whether they considered the presence of the pale faces would offend the Penates and violate the sanctity of the tabooed heart was not satisfactorily ascertained.

The weather was everything that could be desire during the ten days the Basilisk remained in Fnirft Harbour; and whenever the boats vt went out exploring the natives used to run along the slopes to keep pace with the voyagers, often endeavouring to outvie them. The Basilisk steamed out of port on the Ut of Marci and without further adventure returned to Somerset to procure provisions, all hands thoroughly delighted with their trip and its results. It was evident that they he made a good impression on the simple-minded aborignala.


The second trip of the Basilisk was begun' on the 20th March. 1873. Well supplied with provisions and other necessaries, the vessel then took her departure from Somerset, and came to anchor off the Isle of Yule, on the 31st March. Next day boats were sent ashore, an several chiefs, accompanied by natives, came on boar and bartered with the crow. A brisk trade was done in yams and other vegetables for trinkets and coloured cloth, but nothing specially notable occurred, and the expedition left that point on the 0th of April. Further progress was made along the coast, and having passed a portion of the mainland of New Guinea, the Basilisk was brought to'.anchor off tho Isle of Teste, on of the Louisiadq Group, on the 9th of April. The natives came off in great numbers in their catamaran to meet their white visitors, bringing with them cocoa nuts, yams, and other vegetable products of a very excellent quality. Although they seemed very much pleased to see the ship, and evidently imagined she cam for their special delectation, they required great coaxing, accompanied with sundry glittering of glaring bribes, to induce them to come on board. Friendly relations once established, they traded with wonderful alacrity, and readily parted with ornamental wooden swords, paddle, well-formed and beautifully carved, in exchange for gluts, etc., Several of the handsome dusky daughters attended the fancy fair on this occasion, dressed in their fibre petticoats ; most of them were of symmetrical figure, clean, and not bad looking. Notwithstanding a certain rumour as to the cannibal propensities of the natives, the captain and several officers landed " the day after the fair," and were well received.

Leaving Teste, the good ship proceeded on her way to a point which was supposed to be the S, E. Capo of New Guinea and came to anchor in a fine large bay, which the men, H ¡th their usual free and easy »ty lej of nomonclature, called Iron-hoop Bay, because of the Iarge amount of business done there with the Papuans in iron hoop. This place on being surveyed proved to be a group of islet." The natives came fearlessly on board and brought a large quantity of wooden swords, paddles, head-dress plumas, and other things, which they exchanged very freely for whatever was offered them ; but iron hoop seemed to be the object of the more intense desire U the speculators. A great variety of stone axes and various war gear were also obtained. The sailors also laid up a quantity of fine ban linas, cocoanuts, and fruits, besides curiously-made nets baskets, fibre-bags, and green stones like malachite.

A kind of coarse flax is abundant, of which the skilled manufacture a strong rope or trebly twisted twine. Ii no other place did vanity exhibit itself more unreservedly. The young men decked themselves out most ostentatiously-cutting their hair in fantastic shapes, or puffing it out straight, where it was kept in ray-like rigidity by means of a thick sooty paste, rather maldorous. It was not unusual to see a dandy adorned as if he had to play the double part of a lay nigger Othello and Iago-one side of his face being white-washed, and the other having an addition to nature's smut in the shape of an inky pigment.. Could it be that they were "playing the fool" and humbugging the pale-faces, after an original grotesque Papuan manner? Nothing, grimly or other»iso humourous, however, served to nnimuto them in preparing these toilets. 

A hideous piece of yellow fresco-work adorned their broad thick cheeks. Some daubed one side of the face red, and the other a bluish-black, and wore red or yellow, flowers in their hair, with streams of flossy flax fibre shooting out comet-tail like from behind. I believe a similarity of fashion is often observable in our own George street, when some of the fair sex are performing the block ; perhaps the Papuans only do it when they ''go and do likewise"-who knows f Depending from their male dandy's shoulders may be soon a chunum*gourd and spoon. Anything so irresistibly ludicrous as the sight which these variegated specimans of humanity exhibited could hardly be produced by a ecumenical council, of all tho professional clowns in tho world Not a few of tho Iron Hoop Bay exquisites adorn their manly legs with a circlet of white shells, and wear a clumsy ornament (or what is intended for such) around their oily necks. Their canoes-in which they appeared to take great pride— vary in length, from 15 to 20 feet.

* Chunam ls a preparation of quicklime, generally made from calcined shells, and used with betel, which consists of a leaf of one or other of certain species of pepper, to which the name of betel-pepper is Indiscriminately applied, plucked green, spread aver with moistened quicklime (Chunam) and wrapped around a few scrapings of tho areca-nut, sometimes called the betel-nut, and also known as Pinang. This is put into the mouth and chewed, It causes giddiness in persons unaccustomed to it, excoriates the mouth, and deadens for a time the sense of taste. It is so burning, that Europeans do not readily become habituated to it, but the consumption in the Indian Archipelago is prodigious. It gives a red colour to tho saliva, so that the lips and teeth appear covered with blood; the lips and teeth are also blackened by its habitual use and the teeth are destroyed, so that men of twenty-five years of age are often quite toothless. Whether the use or betel is to be regarded as having any advantages except tho mere pleasure afforded to those who have acquired the habit of it, to counterbalance its obvious disadvantages, is a question upon which difference of opinion subsists. Some have represented it as beneficially promoting the secretion or saliva, strengthening the digestive powers, and warding off the attacks of fever ; whilst others pronounce against it an unqualified condemnation. 

Sir James Emerson Tennent, in his valuable work on Ceylon, expresses the opinion that it is advantageous to a people of whose ordinary food flesh forms no part, and that it is at once tho antacid, tho tonic, and the carminative which they require. Although in general use throughout the Indian Archipelago, and indeed, almost everywhere where the Malay race is found, the use or the betel nut has, so far as I am aware, never before been observed so far south ; and the finding of it at Iron-hoop Bay goes far to prove that the people of that part of the New Guinea coast must be of Malay rather than of Papuan origin.

On the 14th' the ship steamed past several thickly wooded islands, and came to anchor in a beautiful bay called Yam Bay, so named on account of its plentiful supply of that commodity. The natives in this group often wear a human jawbone, as an armlet, and take delight in it as if it were a special trophy. The crew got large supplies of crabs, clams oysters, and other shell-fish with abundance of pigeons, the shooting of which afforded excellent sport, but owing to the isles being so thickly wooded, it was difficult to pursue the game far. Tho mosquitoes fortunately do not abound on that particular region ; so that the men, after the day's work, could sleep comfortably on deck, the weather being capital. Some of their old friends from Iron Hoop Bay—a distance of ten or twelve miles—visited them there. Opossums, native bears and a nondescript kind of animal (but very good for food) were also found in abundance. An occasional young pig, too, was found and easily brought down.

On leaving Yam Bay (the surveying party being satisfied they had not yet determined tho true S.E point), the Basilisk steamed to a place on the opposite side of the island, which the men called Well Bay because of a well they had dug there. The island was named Haytor Island, and here several days were spent and a flagstaff raised.

On the 24th of April Captain Moresby, the officers, and most of the men, assembled near the well at noon. The British flag was unfurled from the flagstaff, and the captain read in the presence of the ship's company a proclamation declaring that he took possession of this and the adjacent islands in the name of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen and by the right of discovery.

Three volleys were fired, and three hearty British cheers-loud, jubilant, and ringing-awakened the echoes of that long, silent region. The music of advancing civilisation was never heard there before. The natives watched the proceedings at a respectful distance with evident interest and curiosity. They no doubt fancied the pyrotechnics were got up specially for their amusement; but the triple round of cheering rather dismayed them. They did not seem to realise the honour done them on the occasion-that of raising them to the dignity and privileges of British subjects.

On the following day some further progress was made along the coast to an excellent watering place, where the vessel's tanks were filled. Proceeding on, nearly N W. and having what was thought to be D'Entre-casteaux's Island on tho right, tho vessel passed some of the most beautiful tropical spots that had ever been seen. The vegetation was luxuriant, and exceedingly rich in tone and colour,- It was supposed, on the authority 'of the old charts, that a direct course to China through those waters in tho direction in which the ship was proceeding, existed; but investigation proved that they formed a deep bay or gulf, and which was named Sir Thomas Dyke Ackland's Bay.

In the distance, wooded hills rose to a height of from 1200 to 1500 feet, and; beautiful patches of yam and taro gleamed amid tho openings in tho landscape. The native population was dense in this fertile locality, and numerous villages dotted either side of the bay, all the houses being built on piles as before described.

As the ship passed along tho-coast the natives, in great numbers, came off from the shore in canoes, and tried to overtake the vessel while in motion, displaying bananas, &c, to induce her commander to stop. But she was kept on her course, and after making a run of about twenty miles, came into a beautiful bay, which was named Discovery Harbour. Tho ship remained at Discovery Harbour until the 30th April, and daring their stay this beautiful spot was the scene of much animated traffic and agreeable intercourse with the natives.

It had already been proved that the land on the opposite coast was not D'Entrecasteaux's lsland. On leaving the harbour, the Basilisk kept on the same course, which was held on till nightfall, when the ship was anchored amid a group of small islands. Proceeding onwards the next morning, the land was found to be gradually sloping down to a point ; and this point proved to be the long looked for Cape, the termination of the great island of New Guinea towards the east. Here the Basilisk came to anchor, about a mile from the shore.

D'Entrecaateaux's Island was full in view, being only a few miles distant in a north-east direction.

The natives here were also found to be very friendly and traded briskly with the ship's company. Here the Basilisk remained while those engaged in the scientific duties of the expedition wore employed in perfecting their work, till the 3rd May. On that date a return to Well Bay was made for water,which having got aboard the Basilisk at once steamed back towards Somerset Cape York, everything aimed at having been most successfully accomplished.

It would be difficult to over estimate the importance of this voyage of discovery. It corrects many preconceived erroneous notions, and gives hopes of a brilliant future for New Guinea and its beautiful surrounding islands. One of the men on board tho Basilisk asserts that during the voyage he found gold-bearing quartz cropping up not far from the coast. His tale is one that some believe and others do not. The following account of the alleged discovery is given, as nearly as possible, in the terms in which it was related to me :

" The spot where gold ls said to have been found is a few miles south-east of Port Moresby, The man who discovered it Is the blacksmith on board the Basilisk, The pieces of quartz. Impregnated with gold, which he brought away, and which are still in his possession, are about 24 oz. In weight. The quartz ls of a very peculiar kind, unlike any that old gold diggers who hare examined it had seen elsewhere. It has a bluish-grey tinge, and the gold is visible in it In specks, the largest of which is about the size of a pin's head. The man who found lt says, that the reason he said nothing about it at the time of his discovery was, that he intended to get his  discharge from the ship as soon as he could, and then to endeavour to form a party and return to the place to work it. He states that, the occasion and manner of his finding it was as follows. The ship had anchored, a day or two after leaving Fairfax Harbour, and lt being Sunday afternoon, a large number of the men were permitted to go ashore. There were no inhabitants at the spot, and he, with several of his companions, strolled some distance from the ship, when having got separated from the others, and being by himself, and about half a mile from the shore, he came to some wry peculiar looking rocks cropping out of the ground. He had never been on the gold-fields, and knew nothing practically about gold-bearing rocks, but thought from what he had heard of quartz, and from the appearance of them rocks, that they must be quartz. , Getting a large stone, he succeeded with some difficulty In detaching a piece; and on examining it closely saw specks of what he believed was gold. He had no means of breaking any more pieces off the rock ; but that portion he did break off afterwards came in two or three parts, and these are the places of quartz he now has. Such is the story he now tells. Whether it ls true or not we have no means of ascertaining. It ls certain that nothing was known by Captain Moresby or the officers of the Basilisk about Ibis gold finding, until after the ship reached Brisbane, where it leaked out from some of the man's companions an shore; and reaching the ears of one of the members of the Queensland Assembly, the Premier was Interrogated in the House respecting it. Inquiries being made of Captain Moresby, he ascertained that so far, at least, as the possession by the man of pieces of gold-bearing quartz went, his story was corroborated."

Full consideration of the man's story after questioning him, pretty closely,' does not induce me to place implicit reliance on his assertions. His story may or may not be true. I leave the reader, to form his own conclusions from the story as it was told to me.'

The natives know nothing of gold ; they hare no golden ornaments, and they probably would not value the precious metal so much as they do bits of iron-hoop. Of course, considering the geological formation of the country, it is highly probable that gold will be found there ; but there are other resources of the bountiful island, more likely to be of advantage to man than the precious metal. It is a land teeming with abundance, well watered, and generally salubrious.

Before concluding I may state that Haytor Island, where formal possession, in the name of the Queen, was taken of that part of New Guinea by Captain Moresby, is distant from Cape York, about 450 miles, east-north east. The names of Port Moresby and Fairfax Harbour were given in honour of the father of the commander of the Basilisk, Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby, RN. The name of Hayter Island was conferred in honour of the first lieutenant of the Basilisk. and that of Mourayan Island in honour of the navigating lieutenant. The coast line of the newly discovered district, that is, so much of it as applies to tho mainland of New Guinea, or what may be called the New Guinea continent in distinction from the island formerly supposed to form part of the mainland, is about 300 miles in extent; and this portion of tho country, which had probably never been visited by any European navigator before, is beyond all comparison, so far as is at present known, the finest district. throughout the whole extent of that vast country. Port Moresby and Fairfax Harbour are in the Gulf of Papua, about thirty miles south-east from Redscar Bay, and on tho south side of the great peninsula which forms the south-east termination of New Guinea, while Discovery Harbour, is on the southern side of the little gulf or deep bay, which has been named by Thomas Dyke Ackland Bay, and which is bounded on the north by the peninsula which terminates New Guinea at the east, called East Cape. 

It will be seen at once by those acquainted with the outlines of those parts of the New Guinea coast a previously laid down in the maps and charts, that the south east portion of that country, instead of being a continuous peninsula, consists in fact of an archipelago, the islands of which are divided by broad navigable, channels. I may state that tho very large and interesting collection of weapons, utensils, ornaments, trinkets, natural productions, &c, brought by the crew of the Basilisk from New Guinea, is for the most part of such a character as shows great taste and ingenuity on the part of the natives, and proves that tho people of those parts of the country from which they were obtained are more advanced in civilisation than those of Redscar Bay and other places which had previously been visited. RECENT DISCOVERIES IN NEW GUINEA DURING THE CRUISE OF H.M.S. BASILISK. (1873, August 14). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63233849


The drive along the Western Road, from Orange to Dubbo, although monotonous, is not without interest. You pass through Stony Creek and Ironbarks, a land of promise (in a auriferous sense), but whether the promise will be fulfilled the future alone can disclose Wellington and Montefiores, about a mile apart, and built on either side of the Macquarie, would have (united) formed a respectable town. Separated they only make a couple of melancholy hamlets. The public buildings of the former place are really creditable erections, the hospital being a symmetrical and capacious building ; and several of the churches not being devoid of architectural pretensions. There is also a gaol and court house of the normal old colonial type. The country around Wellington is mountainous, with large alluvial flats lying under the ranges. The geological formation is chiefly limestone. In a social sense the whole length of couutry from Orange to Dubbo (a distance of 130 miles) might be termed a sahara to weary travellers longing for a comfortable, caravansira - the latter being on oasis in the desert.

Dubbo (whatever it may mean in the aboriginal vernacular) is a genial, free-and-easy place. The town when first seen, presents itself in very attractive features. It has a flat - a dead-level- and consists of one broad main street, with characteristic irregularities of archictectures - such quaint irregularities as give distinctive traits to Australian and towns, especially when pretty gardens break and relieve the sameness of the street buildings. When one, however, becomes better acquainted with the pecularities of the town under notice, here-cognises many effects not displeasing to the eye, especially to the eye of the artist. From the balcony of Browning's hotel a very good, view - a, broad, clear, well-defined coupled of the place can be obtained. The edifices, great and small, group and mass effectively together from this excellent point of observation. The branch of the Commercial Bank is a free two-storied building, in the same style as that of the bank at Orange. Serisier's stores are very imposing, having crenellated battlements, which give them a military appearance. 

All the hotels, of which there are several, are very good, indeed in this respect, Dubbo is not excelled nor even equalled by any large town in the colony. Its strangest peculiarity is the absence of anything like places of divine worship. It is true there is a shed-like edifice, capped by an oblong box, for members of the Church of England, but there is nothing strikingly ecclesiastical in the erection. There is a good deal of talk about building new churches, but whether any-thing practical has been done towards a consummation devoutly to be wished for I cannot say. A curious coincidence occurred while I was there. An agent of the British Bible Society came to make an appeal on behalf of the benighted savages of Central Africa ; or some other mentally dark region, in order to supply them with copies of the Bible. He had to hold forth in the court house, as there was not adequate accom-modation elsewhere. It struck me that if he had raised hi eloquent voice in behalf of a new church, and sup-pies of Bibles for the Dubboites, he would have done something more rational and needful. It happened that while this appeal was being made, a concert took place in the neighbouring Mechanics Institute. I could not help pitying the reporter of the local paper, who had to take notes of the preacher instead of listening to the notes of Wallace's exquisite "Maritana," so well interpreted by Miss Alice May. The echoes of that music must have occasionally dis-tracted the audience of baker's dozen which greeted the reverend gentleman. In the town and suburbs there are some fine gardens, in which fruits and vegetables of excellent quality ara raised. The line of street is occasionally broken by pretty floral patches and green shrubs. 

The monotony of the flat landscape around Dubbo is somewhat diminished by clumps of box pine, and iron-bark, and light ridges fairly timbered. The is a gradual slope down to the river (the Macquarie) over which there is a fine bridge (doubly baptised). The water flows sluggishly and is plentifully supplied with fish. I spent a delightful moonlight evening an its calm surface und succeeded in capturing three or four small snags. Others of our party were more skilful or fortunate, and caught some fine fish. The day succeeding the fishing excursion I visited the Eumalga station a charming spot, combining a large vineyard, well-stocked garden, and finely grassed paddocks.

This estate was formed in December, 1867. It is situated about nine mines from Dubbo on the north side of the Wellington Road, to which it has a frontage of one mile and a quarter, extending two miles to the rear, thus, forming an oblong square with roads surrounding it. The soil is of such fertility that, it is considered, one acre produces more grass than five in other less favoured situations. It is a plateau forming on the eastern side a valley, through which runs the Eumalga Creek from north to south. The Eumalga Hill (the eastern side of which is of botanic formation, is reckoned to be 120 feet higher than the township of Dubbo, and forms the point of observation for the survey of the country for a circuit of forty or fifty miles, affording a delightful view. This estate rests on a volcanic formation. The soil is patchy, varying from the richest red to chocolate and black. In the black soil saltpete and lime preponderate with a fair proportion of sulphur. The chocolate is more of a sandy and lighter nature, while the red contains schist and ironstone. The water (obtained from wells) is strongly impregnated with magnesia and comes from springs oozing through a bed of pipeclay.

The vineyard is situated on the eastern side of the Eumalga Hill on a gentle slope possessing the three different kinds of soil before mentioned. It contains an area of forty acres the rows running due north and south on a line of 36 chains, with a central avenue of 30 feet wide, twelve feet being paved so as to form a tramway for conveying the fruit to the cellars ? The vines (45,000 in number), are reared upon stakes, and are classified in separate beds according to their respective qualities. The vineyard is drained both naturally and artificially, and the advantage of having a porous soil (the result of five years constant cultivation) has secured the vines from the slightest symptom of any disease. Consider-able amount of capital has been expended in order to bring the vineyard to its present state of perfection ; and great disappointment was experienced in the first planting as, owing to the drought, not one out of 85,000 cuttings struck.

Attached to the vineyard is a grazing establishment with a herd of healthy looking cattle, for which every convenience has been made, among which is a large dam which affords a constant supply of water.

Cultivation is also carried on to some extent, and notwithstanding ; the dryness of the climate, has been successful.

In the summer time the mosquitoes are intolerable in Dubbo, and the inhabitants, have struck on an original method of banishing or at least disgusting them. They collect quantities of what the Thibetians designate argals (vaccarumi excrementa arida), set them on fire, and thereby cause a pungent aroma all over the place, not very delectable to refined olfactory nerves. How the townspeople put up with the nuisance thus created, can only be explained by the proverbial propriety of choosing "the least of two evils."

Whatever may be said of the inconveniences attending a sojourn in Dubbo, no one who has spent a few weeks there can leave the place - unless he is an unusual being - without sense of regret accompanied with a genuine conviction that he is leaving kind-hearted, hospitable and unceremonious friends behind him. I, at events entertain agreeable recollections of the place and people. May it ever prosper !

FROM ORANGE TO DUBBO. (1873, September 29). Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63235490

Astronomers, Australian Eclipse Expedition, 1871, attributed to Beaufoy Merlin, courtesy State Library of New South Wales SPF 1332

The Eclipse Expedition.  

We steamed away - in the Governor Blackall specially chartered for the expedition from Campbell's Wharf, Sydney, at half-past four in the afternoon of the 27th of November, with the following gentlemen forming the expedition : - J GowIand, R.N., commander ; Alexander Black geodetic surveyor, Melbourne ; H. T. Bolding P.M., Raymond Terrace; J. Bosisto, chemist, Melbourne; J. W. Brazier, naturalist, Sydney Henry Britton, special reporter, Melbourne H. R. Cassell, architect, Ballarat; W. A. Clarson artist:, Melbourne; D. Curdie, M.D., Victoria; P. Davin, St. Kilda, Melbourne: Sil. Diggles, naturalist, Brisbane ; R. L. J. Ellery, Government astronomer, Melbourne; G. Foord, assayer, Mint Melbourne; P. D. J. Grut, banker, Melbourne Rev. W. Kelly, St. Patrick's College, Mel-bourne ; D. Kennedy, Sandhurst ; W. J McDonnell, Sydney ; F. M'George, observatory Melbourne ; S. Marshall, Ballarat ; Beaufoy Merlin, A. and A. Photo. Company, Sydney ; Charles Moore, Botanic Gardens, Sydney; Carl Moerlin, observatory, Melbourne ; E. Nichols, Star office, Ballarat; J. W. Payter, telegraph department Melbourne ; P. D. Pancard, Adelaide ; H. K Rusden, secretary R. S., Melbourne ; H. C Russell, Government astronomer, Sydney ; Rev. W. Scott, St. Paul's College, Sydney; Charles Walters, photographer, Melbourne; C. Whitehead, Clarence River ; W. P. Wilson, Professor, Univer-sity, Melbourne ; J. D. Reece, photographer, Melbourne; Captain Eidie, chief-officer: J. Crooks, surveyor, There was besides a thoroughly efficient crew-making a total of seventy-two souls on board. The afternoon was pleasantly cool-the sky remarkably clear and bright-the harbour and shores of Port Jackson looking as pleasant to the eye as I ever beheld them.

The following day (28th November) the weather was fine. We sighted Port Macquarie at 2 p.m. : signalled to the station, and received a reply. On the 20th we passed the Richmond River, and had a fine view of Mount Warning, whose peaked summit looks in the distance like a ruined castle. We noticed the revolving light on the coast, at about fifteen miles distance ; but it was too dark to make signals.

We got abreast of Frazer's Island on Thursday, November 30th. It appears to be scantily covered with vegetation, and presents no attractive features. We lost sight of land at noon, about which time we entered the tropic of Capricorn. During the after-noon the passengers amused themselves with sea quoits on deck ; in the evening they read or played chess in the cabin, except those who preferred watching the sea over the sides or tafrail, and who were well repaid by the sight they got of a number of phosphorescent creatures, that made the dark waters luminous, often expanding into broad discs of blueish light. We were favoured with a visit from one of the nereids in the shape of a flying-fish, during the evening. Whether it came to inter-view us, or to acquire nautical knowledge, I can't say, but it certainly came to grief.

The following day (1st December) there was a fine south-east trade blowing, and the boat was doing full eleven knots an hour. About half-past 10 we sighted a peak about 720 feet above the level of the sea-the first bit of terra firma we had seen since yesterday. Tho passengers had been for some hours straining their eyes for its discovery. Everybody seemed to be provided with an opera-glass or tele-scope. At half-past 11 no less than five rocky islands were in sight. About mid-day a strong rain-squall came up, shutting-out all view of the islands referred to, but leaving the afternoon dull and hazy.

At 2 p.m. Lieutenant Gowland intimated to the passengers that we should anchor about 6 o'clock at one of the islands of the Percy Group. Some-what before that hour, he brought his sea-horss into good anchorage, in seventeen fathoms water, at Island No. 2. I could not help regretting, and others expressed similar regrets, that those islands are not called after some well-known historic names instead of being only numerically described on the charts as No. 1, 2, &c., which causes some confusion in referring to them. When all was made snug, an exodus of imtuous passengers - the quarter boats having been got ready for them -took place. Geologists conchologists, &c with their appliances, were ready for scientific observation. But there was another matter of moment to be considered. It had been whispered that the blacks were likely to be troublesome, and had no objection, perhaps, to a cutlet a la savans or on a savant. We, therefore, took the precaution of arming ourselves, and so muskets, revolvers, and other arms came into requisition. The island (No. 2) is very hilly, and the south side shelves towards the water's edge. 

Some of the passengers brought from this island specimens of the pandanus, or bread-fruit. The gulleys abound with light palms, interlaced with luxuriant tropical creepers. The flats are full of thick mangroves. Turtles are numerous on the beach. We found one nest with about thirty eggs in it. Some of the freshest-looking were cooked for tea ; but the albumen did not act in accordance with the desire of the cook ; for although the yolks were done to a nicety, the white, or pale grey, was rather slimy and tasteless. The passengers brought back from the island trophies of their visit in the shape of black and white cockatoos, snails, shells, coral, green ants, which build their tiny domiciles so as to resemble in the distance birds nests. At 6 p.m. the signal-gun was fired from the steamer, for all hands to get on board ; but notwith-standing this precaution, four remained behind, per-haps to catch turtle. After some time a boat was sent after the lost sheep, who were recovered and 'folded' in their respective pens, tired no doubt with their day's wanderings ; after this little expedition there was considerable jollity on board, with the exception of the steward, who was disgusted at the mass of specimens piled about the berths and cabin. Tho evening was pleasantly, and I might add, musically passed, one of the passengers having volunteered to entertain us on the banjo. A very effective chorus rendered, 'Going through Georgia,' in a manner never before heard in these latitudes.

Before sundown I took the opportunity, of photographing the island No. 3 of this group. Although the vessel was rocking considerably, I could not resist the desire of trying to get a picture of this bold insular elevation, with a glorious tropical sun setting  behind it. I never before had the temerity to work from a vessel in motion, or point a lens towards the sun. I, nevertheless, succeeded-to my surprise in obtaining a sharp, clear picture.

We sailed at 4 o clock the following morning, the trade-wind still continuing. The passengers were chiefly occupied sketching or preserving the several specimens obtained the previous day. The sporting element in our little community devoted their time to the cleansing of their muskets and pistols. We passed the Black Swan, one of the A.H.N. Company's steamers, bound to some northerly port, and exchanged signals with her in the hope she would report us-which, however, she forgot to do.

From this point the navigation became exceedingly intricate, requiring the greatest vigilance on the part of our ever-watchful commander. There were rocks, shoals, sandbanks, and reefs in all directions ; and it was found necessary to keep a man aloft continually on the look-out. We could only move forward in the daytime.

We were now some miles within the Barrier Reef The water was of a bright sap-green colour, and presented one smooth unruffled surface. Many of the company had looked anxiously for this tranquil portion of the voyage, in the hope of getting rid of their seasick feelings ; nor were they disappointed, The appearance of these islands, with the exception of Pine Island, which we passed during this and the next day, exhibited all the marked pecularities of the Australian Groups.

On Sunday, December 3rd, we passed the Palm Islands. Divine service was performed by the Rev W. Scott, formerly Government Astronomer Sydney Observatory, and now rector of St. Paul's College. His subject was the Presence of God in the soul of man. It was a truly devotional and impressive sermon.

Fears were now entertained regarding our supply of water, and it was decided make for the Fitzroy Islands to replenish our tanks. We anchored at dark amid a heavy squall, at one of the Frankland groups.

On Monday, 4th December, we started at 5 a.m., and anchored at Fitzroy Island at (about) 6 p.m. A boat's crew was sent on shore to report on the water. They found a capital supply and easy of access, the heat had been excessive during the day, relieved by occasional tropical showers. Several of the party made excursions through the island Messrs. Moore, Brazier, and Walters returning with a good supply of botanical and other specimens.

We started next morning at day-break, and about 12, we made the Endeavour River. Cape Bedford presents a singular appearance. It is crowned by a flat-topped hill. During the day we passed several other islands, making the Lizard Island at 5 p.m.

There was the usual lowering of boats and rush of passengers shoreward. For the first time during our voyage we noticed the foot-prints of natives on the sand ; for although the aborigines of the mainland occasionally visit the islands previously referred to by me, in quest of turtle, we had not on any former occasion noticed their immediate presence, or signs of a recent visit, till we had reached Lizard Island. As we neared the land, we were astonished to see what looked from the distance to be a fragment of wall, tumbling to decay, but sharply-defined against the warm background. After exploration we found that a habitation, built by civilized hands, had been erected here, and that the object which had seemed so surprising at a distance, was undoubtedly the wall of a residence erected by some persons years ago-probably parties engaged in the beche-le-mer trade. This was not the only surprise. On the face of the wall was a well-drawn cross of the St. George pattern, painted with a thick black pigment, the upright beam being fully ten feet in height, and the transverse, or horizontal bar, at least six feet in length. There were letters cut in deep relief into the upright section of the cross which caused considerable speculation amongst the more learned of the party.

Well, we digged accordingly, and had soon abundance of evidence to convince us that a bottle, or something else, had been deposited in the ground under the cross. The deposit may, in all logical possibility, have been a treasure. If so, it had been removed, so far as our hurried exploration justifies such an assertion. I dare not speak confidently. The speculative may, if they like, make further search - perhaps with ultimate profit to themselves. At all events, a smart yacht's crew will always be able to spend a delightful holiday in and about those islands, even should they fail in dropping on a ' treasure-trove.' 

On the evening of this day (December 5th), a free discussion was held in the cabin by all interested, as to the place for making scientific observation of the solar eclipse due on the 12th instant. Opinion was very much divided between the mainland and an island numbered on the chart, No. 6, Claremont Group.The objection to the first proposition (landing at Cape Sidmouth) was partly nautical and partly through a senae of self-preservation. It was asserted that shallow water lay all around Cape Sidmouth for a distance of three miles seawards ; and that, consequently, great, if not insuperable difficulties would arise in landing our instruments. We had further learned that a fierce tribe of aborigines occupied the country about the Cape. In fact, we had had positive indications of great excitement amongst the natives on the mainland. For miles and miles along the coast we had noticed vast bush-fires, lit with the regularity of signal-fires, at distances (from each point of conflagration) of not more on the average than twenty miles ; and it was generally believed that absolute danger menaced any party attempting a landing. Mr Moore, and those who, like him, were botanically affected, under-rated that danger; but the opinion of the majority prevailed. We should have divided our party, but we had not adequate appliances. Besides, all admitted that Cape Sidmouth was subject to heavy fogs, which would seriously interfere with accurate observation of the eclipse, while the island-ten miles distant was not likely to be exposed to such an unhoped for visitation. Tho island - No. 6, Claremont Group'-was, therefore, selected. Subsequent events proved the wisdom of this choice ; for had we gone on the mainland, while no better result in a scientific point of view would have been achieved, we should have been detained for a considerable time in regaining the steamer, in consequence of the strong south-east winds prevailing. In fact, Mr. Moore and a volunteer crew did make the mainland, on Saturday, 9th December, and used every effort to return on the Sunday. After boating about all day, they failed to reach the Governor Blackall ; and it was not till Monday afternoon the succeeded in getting onboard. Night Island, when the eclipse could, as matters eventuated, have been successfully observed, was urged as a suitable place of landing; but the fatal objection to this spot was that the duration of totality (during the solar eclipse was too short to satisfy the scientific aspirations of a great majority of the company. Hence, as before stated, Claremont Island was determined to be the scene of those investigations on account of which we had journeyed (on the whole pleasantly) so far, I may as well here mention that this island lies in latitude 13-27 south.

On the 6th we left the Lizard Island. The navigation continued to be extremely intricate, and called forth the boat qualities of our commander. At 2 p.m. it was announced that Cape Sidmouth was in sight, distance about thirty miles. All eyes were soon strained on the shadowy outline, which in an hour or so became more distinctly visible as land. Holding on till near 5 p.m., at last what appeared to bo a dark expanse of sandbank lay before us. 'Claremont Island, at last,!' was the cry in several parts of the steamer. Nor were we without a welcome. From the cheerless spot described flock after flock of aquatic birdswhite, grey, brown, and mottled-rose in the air, wheeled in irregular curves in the neighbourhood of the vessel, causing a disagreeable din by their stridulent screams and shrill cries. The sky was dark with them ; and from the way they conducted themselves, they were evidently astonished at the arrival of such a sea-monster as the Governor Blackall in their wild domain. Soon after, an observing party was sent on shore to ascertain whether the place was suitable for the objects of the expedition. They returned in a short time, and said it was suitable, but rather astonished us with the news that it was occupied by a colony of English rats. How the progenitors of those creatures first came on the island it would be useless to speculate; it is certain they have increased and multiplied ; although, as there is not a drop of fresh water to be found in their arid territory, it is somewhat surprising how they manage to allay their thirst. Proper precautions were taken to keep these vermin away from our tents, &c., when set up.

The next morning our disembarkation began : and for the next three days we worked with unflagging zeal, notwithstanding the oppressive character of the climate, in preparing for the great event. There were eight or nine tents set up, the instruments put in position, my own special appliances all arranged in order, and the whole party were on the qui vivo for the long anticipated moment of observing a solar eclipse, under circumstances calculated to do credit to the Australian colonies, and services to the cause of science. We had taken a quantity of bricks and compost with us in order that suitable stands might be erected for the more import-ant instruments. It was astonishing how quickly the presence and skill of civilized man changed the appearance of this desolate spot of ocean. Its scanty vegetation contrasted well with the shimmering whiteness of the tents ; and as the voices of men at work, or giving orders, resounded through the hot heavy atmosphore, one was led for a moment to fancy he was at home, engaged at his usual employments.

On the afternoon of the 11th, everything was ready for the next day's observations. The atmosphere was close and heavy', slightly relieved by the south-east trade. The clouds began to mass ominously about 5 p.m. causing apprehensions as to what the morrow would be in a weather point of view.

After dinner (6 p.m.) the major portion of the company got on deck, and noticed the marked indications of a coming storm. It came soon. The intense grey light faded away-dull clouds dashed with indigo tints, settled over the sea in all directions-flashes of sheet lightning glared at all points of the compass, causing deeper gloom after each spectral irradiation. At last the thunder broke out-peal after peal, then volley after volley, like the rattle of artillery close at hand. The steamer shook and quivered in every part. rain followed such rain ! 

Now a sudden downward rush of water, presently a sweeping shower ; in the meantime the lightning assumed a new character. It seemed to have concentrated nearer to us and absolutely cracked in the murky air overhead. We could hear its sphitz sphatz as it broke against the masts or the sides of the vessel. The passengers remained for a considerable time on the dock during this pitiless storm ; and then attempted to find relief down below. The closeness of the atmosphere however, was so oppressive, that they soon sought the deck again, utterly regardless of the drenching rain. For full two hours did this commotion of nature last, then it seemed to die away-the lightning played at a greater distance ; but the peculiar gloom in the air continued. Rain of a more steady character begun to fall about 9 p.m., but at midnight there was to the eastward a patch of clear sky. Our hopes began to revive. It will be a glorious day to-morrow,' some one cried out. ' We shall have it fine,' said another. With these mutual consolatory assurances we sought short repose. The portion of the party guarding the tents and instruments on shore fared much worse than the ship party did. They had to use their blankets and rugs to cover the instruments, and were unable to got the slightest rest during the awful night.

Early in the morning we were on the alert. The sky was covered with masses of cloud, broken by occasional squalls, and revealing here and there, occasionally, grey-blue patches of the heavens. This gave us a hope that by noon we should have clear weather, although the frequency of short-lived drifting showers caused anxiety. Noon came, and the blueish cumulus clouds were unbroken, the rainy squalls continuing. The whole party was now assembled on the island, each close to his special apparatus, or with telescope , in hand. One o'clock! still rainy and squally ; half-past 1, a gleam of hope-something like a break ; 2 o'clock, another squall ; and then all hope vanished At a few minutes past 3 the presence of an awful gloom, beyond the darkness of the clouds, was perceptible. There was just one instant's rent in the cloudy-mass, and we saw quite enough to know that contact had begun. The clouds closed again, and all was dark ; but still there was palpably blended with the gloom the presence of another strange darkness. In the direction of the sun, during totality, an arc of shadow, as if tinted in Indian ink, passed across a portion of the heaven evidently in the line of the moon's course, and travelling at the moon's apparent rate of progress. Every face bore as deep a shadow as Nature did. We all realized, about the same moment, that we had come in vain ; and disappointment silenced every tongue for several minutes, broken only by the monotonous announcements of the zealous individual who was calling out the seconds from the chronometer. ' It is all over,' somebody at last cried out, but still the indisposition to speak about the event continued. To say we did not at once fully realize our disappointment, may be true; but we certainly, in the end had a very adequate sense of it. As for Mr Russell and myself, we performed every part of our duty just the same as if the eclipse had occurred under the most, favourable services. The photographic plates were prepared, exposure and development, according to directions from England, were made and everything done to obtain some valuable result even after we had ceased to hope that any such result could follow.

About 4 p.m. the order was issued to make ready for our departure. In less than three hours we had everything that was worth re-moving safely stowed away on board our good iron ship. Before we had left the island we noticed the approach of a vessel. It turned out to be the Matilda. In a short time the captain, chief officer, and the master of the Active-a vessel recently lost -came on board the Governor Blackall. They announced they had seen the eclipse, although they were totally unprepared for such an occurrence, not having had a nautical almanac on board. They were severally examined by Messrs. Ellery, Russell, and Wilson ; they said that the obscuration of the sun had occurred while they were at Night Island, eighteen miles distant in a northerly direction ; they had observed the corona-and they all agreed in describing the phenomenon as one of striking wonder and beauty. 

And now our anxiety was to get away. Next morning we steamed on our course, and as we cast a last glance on Claremont Island, it looked like a deserted diggings, the poles of the tents standing bare as we had left them. From the top of the wooden photographic dark-room, one of the sailors had suspended a shattered umbrella, which fluttered and shivered in the morning air. About 7 o'clock we lost sight of the sandbank, the best name I can give our late island home. The weather was close and murky. We experienced a great relief from passing quickly through the water, particularly in the cabin which, up to this time, had been intolerably close. The passengers occupied themselves in arranging their collections of specimens or cleaning their arms. In the afternoon we anchored to the lee of No. 6, Howard Group. Some of the passengers went ashore for half-an-hour, and succeeded (by diving) in procuring fine specimens of coral.

On Saturday, 16th December, the planet Venus was vividly apparent long after sunrise. We reached Cardwell in the morning. This township consists of about thirty houses on a narrow strip of beach. The luxuriance of the vegetation, reaching almost to the water's edge, gave the scene a tropical character. The hamlet is backed by a bold range of mountains, over which the telegraph line to the Gulf of Carpentaria, now in the course of completion, has been carried.

We left Cardwell at 3 p.m., and on Sunday (17th), at noon, entered Whitsunday Passage. The coast scenery from this point, southwards, is of a variedalmost a fairy-character. While passing a portion of this coast, on our way upwards, I succeeded in photographing a considerable portion of it ; and I succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations, in reproducing the elevations, depressions, projections, &c, with an accuracy impossible in hand-drawings. With a series of photographic coast-line sketches, the Master Mariner can tell exactly where he is (from ocular observation and comparison) at any hour, by day or night. The value of such a guide cannot be too highly estimated by all interested in the difficult (if not dangerous) navigation of our ironbound and irregular coast. I have no hesitation in saying that by this process, intolerably fair weather, about thirty miles of continuous coast could be taken in a day.

On the 19th, at 3 a.m., the Great Sand Spit was sighted ; and at 7 p.m., off Cape Moreton, we received the pilot on board, and at ll p.m. arrived near the mouth of the Brisbane River. Next day we proceeded up that sluggish and tortuous stream, and at 5 p.m. our vessel was made fast to the Company's wharf.

It is due to the public spirit and hospitable habits of the Government and leading citizens of Brisbane, to acknowledge the handsome manner in which we were received and kindly entertained there. Free quarters were provided for us during our stay at the Queens-land Club. His Excellency the Governor visited the Governor Blackall on the 21st, and showed, by his manner, that he fully appreciated our efforts. We were also the recipients of an invitation for an excursion-by coach and train-to the Darling Downs, which we thankfully accepted. This excursion enabled us to see some fine portions of Queensland scenery, and to enjoy the invigorating air of the country-very agreeable after our late torrid experiences.

I have nothing further to add, except that a testimonial to Lieutenant Gowland was almost spontaneously got up on board, as some slight recognition of his high and varied qualities as a commander, his urbanity as a gentleman, and his uniform kindness to every individual connected with the Eclipse Expedition of 1871. The Eclipse Expedition. (1872, January 6). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70499517


Thirteen years ago, or thereabouts, a gentle-man from Boston, United States, came to Melbourne, with the view to practise the art of portrait-taking by means of sunlight. These pictures were called daguerreotypes. They were taken on copper plates, having a highly-polished silver surface, and could be seen to advantage only when held at a particular angle. The plate was, indeed, most useful as a looking-glass; and old unsaleable stocks of them have since been largely used for the purpose of showing the " portrait of a gorilla." Sometimes they are to be met with also as forming part of the stem of a " silver-mounted pipe."

The gentleman from Boston was Mr. P. M. Batchelder. He established himself in Collins-street east, and his portrait rooms in a very few years became a household word throughout Victoria. The daguerreotype portrait was quickly superseded by the portrait on glass, known amongst photographers as the collodion picture, or positive. The process was entirely new. It was unlike the daguerreotype in all its stages-the materials used being every one essentially different. This revolution in the photographic business left heaps of the old practitioners in the rear, new men taking the lead : many of these to be again beaten out of the field by a far greater revolution soon to follow-that which remains in force to the present day, and which appeals likely to remain an institution for many years to come. In all these changes Batchelder kept the lead, having the art of seeing skill in others, and being quick to avail himself of it. During the positive era, our first Parliament under the new constitution was elected. It was in contemplation by Mr. W. Strutt, an excellent artist at that time residing in Melbourne, to paint a grand historical picture of the open-ing of that Parliament, and for this purpose Batchelder volunteered to photograph every member of both Chambers, together with all the officers of Parliament, the foreign consuls, the military officers, and others taking part in the ceremony. Some scores of photo-graphs were thus taken, all of a large size, but the work became so formidable that Mr. Strutt despaired of making it profitable, and abandoned the labour. Batchelder's collection long formed the great show of Collins-street. All who heard of it went to see it. The portraits formed a highly interesting gallery. The collection is still almost entire, a great portion of it being carefully preserved by the Hon. J. P. Fawkner, and the remainder in the possession of the proprietor of Punch.

Now came the third phase of photography, to which we have alluded. Positive pictures were to be snuffed out, and negatives were to take their place. It was to witness the process of taking a negative, and to see it printed from, that we lately spent an hour with a photographer. On a bright forenoon the writer found himself at 41 Collins-street east. He entered a large reception room, hung on all sides with beautiful specimens of the photographic art; here a portrait the size of life, there an innumerable host of cartes-de-visite. He found himself in company with Sir Charles Darling, and Sir Henry Barkly, the judges, members of Parliament, and distinguished and well-known colonists from every quarter -all in excellent sun prints. Many ladies graced the scene, and a collection of fancy dress portraits from a late mayor's bill kept him occupied and interested until he heard a whistle through a speaking tube, and then, walking upstairs, the lion's den was entered.

We are supposed to want our carte-de-visita taken. We enter the operating-room, and being met on the threshold by the operator, we are taken under his charge and conveyed through the whole process of taking a photograph. We follow him into the little room, and shut the door. We are now in the dark room, for although lighted from a yellow window sufficiently for us to see what is going on, yet so far as photography is concerned this room is quite dark. The yellow rays have no power whatever, even upon the highly-sensitive materials used by photographers. Hence it has been recommended to ladies who tan easily, or whose faces become covered with freckles when exposed to the sun, that if they wore yellow veils the sun would not hurt them, and our chemists explain the reason of this in a very simple way, which we need not detail. Being in this dark room, the operator takes hold of a piece of glass, cleaned to perfection, and holding it by a coiner, pours upon the centre of it a yellow-looking fluid. This slowly, like thick oil, tracts its way over the surface of the glass-the surplus liquid being drained from a corner of the plate into the bottle again. Now the gloss appears covered with a trans-parent film, something like a coating of hoar frost on a window- pane. The plate is then laid on a dipper, or long strip of glass, with a ledge at the bottom, and is gently slid into a bath. It is covered up with a piece of black velvet, to keep out the light ; and there we will leave it for a minute or two, until we here explained the simple process we have just witnessed. The glass we have just shut up has been rubbed for a length of time with a mixture of rotten-stone and spirits of wine, until every particle of greasy matter has been removed from its surface. The fluid poured over the glass was collodion, composed of gun-cotton, alcohol, and æther, iodised with a little iodide of potassium, iodide of cadmium, and bromide of cadmium. Now we take the plate out of the bath. This bath is composed of nitrate of silver, so many ounces dissolved in dis-tilled water. Distilled water-note that fact. Purity and cleanliness throughout the process are of the first consequence. The glass is removed from the bath, and is put into a little wooden frame, or slide -collodion side downwards, and over it is shut a little door, excluding even the faintest glimmer of light. The collodion covering that glass is now so highly sensitive to light that if the faintest lay reaches it the labour is lost. Emerging from the dark room into a flood of light being under a large sky-window-we sit down in a chair; the operator points the camera towards us, he adjusts his lens so as to bring the image into exact focus on a piece of ground glass, and when he sees the object well and sharply defined he lifts from its place in the camera the ground-glass screen, and places instead thereof the frame containing the sensitive plate. We sit quite still, the slide covering the plate is withdrawn, the image is reflected on to it through the lens for a few seconds ; the slide is then gently replaced, the frame withdrawn from the camera, and we are again hurried into the dark room. When there, the plate is taken out of the frame and placed on a holder made of india rubber. The glass is not altered in appearance-it looks now exactly as it was when placed in the dark frame. Not so, however, for we now witness a beautiful and highly interesting sight. 

A small glass cream-jug, filled with a clear white looking liquid, is taken into the right hand of the operator, and with a quick unhesitating motion some of this liquid is dashed over the surface of the glass plate. Behold a piece of necromancy. From the film cover-ing the glass slowly and gradually is developed a distinct picture of some one sitting in a chair. Gradually it emerges, yet more distinct, until the operator knows that he must stop the development, and with this object lets off upon the plate a gentle stream of water. After a good washing, the plate is again transferred to a glass dipper, and this time plunged into another bath, filled with a solution of by posulphate of soda. This is the fixing bath. Let the plate re-main there for a few seconds, until we see what the liquid was which Mr. Operator dashed from his cream-jug. He calls it his " devel"-that is what it is labelled as. This is his short way of speaking of a developing solution, composed of one of many recipes given for this purpose, chiefly it may be mentioned of photo-sulphate of iron, glacial acetic acid, and water. Now take the plate from the fixing bath, wash it thoroughly with water, letting the flow of a half-inch tap fall full upon it for five minutes, and then the negative is completed, so far as the operator is concerned. He asks our name, and labelling the plate therewith, he passes the negative on to an-other room, whither we follow it.

By the time we have followed the negative into the printing-room, as it is called, a youth has taken possession of the plate and is holding it over a gas jet, moving the plate all the while until the surface becomes dry. Then it is varnished. A thin amber-coloured varnish is poured over the plate, much in the same way as the collodion was poured on in a previous stage. This varnish becomes quite hard almost as soon as it is poured on to the warm plate. The negative is then ready for printing. By this last term we do not mean any operation like the science of old Caxton -a far older and better-known printer is here invoked - the sun. This is photography-sun-printing (or, as our modern dictionaries have it, " from the Greek, phos, light, and grapho, to describe"). Now, how shall we describe this strange process? The lad who shows us the process treats his art like any other mechanic. The novelty to him has worn off, only the bare routine being left whereby he earns his daily bread. And to how many thousands has this art brought that for which so many pray, " Daily bread." This and many other things we owe to the kings of the present age-the chemists.

The plate is now put into a neat little frame, over the varnished surface is placed a piece of highly-glazed white paper, over that is covered a padding of blotting-paper, and then the whole is pressed down with a wooden back fitted with springs to keep the pressure equal. Exposing the plate in this condition to a strong light we will leave it until we in-quire about the " highly-glazed white paper." The glaze is caused by a coating of albumen, say white of eggs, &c, and this paper being floated on a solution of nitrate of silver for about three minutes, and allowed to dry in the dark, becomes very sensitive to light. The sheet being dry, is cut into slips of suit-able size, and is then used for printing or receiving the impression of the negative. A negative is nature reversed, everything is represented exactly as it is not. White is made black, and black white. But when this negative is placed over the sensitive paper the black part is too dense for the light to get through, and thus the paper cannot be changed by the action of light, and remains white, the blacks being transparent let the light through readily. From a white the paper gradually becomes of a pinkish hue. changing rapidly until it assumes a dark bronzed look, the shadows being dull and heavy. The printer knows when to stop the exposure, and then he takes the frame into a darkened room, removes the paper and places it into a box containing all the prints he has taken from the frames during the day. Not more than from six to twelve impressions can be got from a negative in a day. The lid of the box containing the prints is kept closed so as to keep the light away from the sensitive paper. Twice a day these prints are taken into a yellow room, and each print is cut and squared to the required size. They are then conveyed into the toning room. Here they are put into a gutta percha dish full of water, and are well washed. The water assumes a milky appearance, this being caused by the nitrate of silver released from the paper. Being washed in several changes of water until the milkiness is all gone, the prints are put into the toning bath (composed of chloride of gold, chloride of lime, &c.) Here they are kept for a few minutes, during which time they gradually tone down to any colour, from a red-brick to a dusky- slate. The art of this part of the operation lies in knowing when to stop-a difficult art to learn in many walks of life. As the prints are toned they are thrown into a dish of cold water. When all toned they are removed from the water and soused into a dish containing a solution of hyposulphate of soda. This is the fixing bath, and so powerful is it in its operation that if the prints are allowed to remain too long in it they vanish-the paper becomes a dirty-white, with little evidence of all the labour bestowed upon it! About ten minutes or a quarter of an hour is the time required to fix the prints, and then they are taken out of the hypo, and pitched into a washing-pan. A flow of the Yan Yean is let on to them, and they are kept whirling around the pan, getting thoroughly washed, for five or six hours, or perhaps all night Then these prints are taken out and mounted on cards in the form in which we see them everywhere, in albums, in every house, and in every tent-there is nothing more universal, in fact, than these cards. And yet we don't call them cards-we borrow a name from the French, and call them cartes de visite. Nor do we use them as visiting cards, but as interchanges of friendship, as tokens of affection, as means of communicating with our friends far away - giving them some gleam of pleasure more than can be got out of a monthly pen-and-ink letter.

But we have not done yet. The portraits when mounted on cards are dried carefully, and then put through a press, by which means that smooth and finished appearance is given to them. Then they are passed over to the office, where each card undergoes a careful scrutiny ; those with the slightest defect being rejected. The cards are then made up in packets, labelled with the name of the person, and then forwarded by post, or put away in a rack until called for. We amuse ourselves during this process of sorting by observing the various attitudes and difference of expression on these portraits ; but we must violate none of the secrets of our photographer contained in this memorial of his labour. A few words about the photographs we saw as works of art. 

When Mr. Batchelder felt that the negative process was likely to make headway, he had the good fortune to find an unrivalled practitioner on the spot. This was Mr. F. A. Dunn, a chemist by profession, and by experience an able photographer. His views of Raglan Castle, Tintern Abbey, and other celebrated places in England, received the most flattering notices of the London press during the photographic Exhibition of 1861. His portraits are distinguished by a wonderful accuracy of detail and sharpness, and Mr. Batchelder seeing this, seized upon Mr. Dunn as his chief operator. To him, the late well-known firm of Batchelder and Co. owed its reputation for good portraits; and it was under Mr. Dunn's charge that we spent our first " hour with a photographer." Mr. Batchelder having retired from business on the fruits of the ample patronage he received when in Melbourne, has returned to Boston, and there fixed himself in comfort, leaving Mr. Dunn as one of the partners in the business he so largely contributed to build up to its present proportions.

When we entered the reception-room we spoke of life-sized pictures. This curious fact in photography is one of recent growth, and the process deserves some explanation. A negative of the ordinary kind is taken and put into a camera, very much as a dis-solving view is placed in a lantern. The sun is directed through the lens of a large magnifier by means of a reflector, and the image on the negative is thus thrown on to a screen. On this screen is spread the prepared paper which receives the image, or it may be reflected on to canvas. The figure being enlarged to the size required and fixed on paper or canvas, is then passed over to the artist of the establishment, who treats it in any manner required by the person who orders the picture. The painted portraits we saw were the work of a professed portrait painter, Mr. J. Botterill, a gentleman of over twenty years' experience in his art, and bequeathed, as it were, by Mr. Strutt to all the first educational establishments in Melbourne when that gentleman decided upon returning to England. Mr. Botterill has now retired from the practise of his profession, except in connexion with the firm of which he is now a partner ; and the miniatures, kit-cats, and other portraits painted by him, whether in oil, water-colour, or mezzotint, fully deserve what they are receiving-a wide reputation.

AN HOUR WITH A PHOTOGRAPHER. (1865, September 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1 (Supplement to The Argus). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5765761 

Photographers of Early Pittwater: Charles Bayliss - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2019