Photographic collection

Photographic collection

The TMAG photographic collection provides an important source of visual information on the culture and social history of Tasmania. The collection of over 100,00 objects holds many important photographs dating from 1848 to the present and documents the changes in photographic processes.

The photographic collection holds some of the best examples of colonial photography in Australia and includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, sennotypes, paper prints, albums and other photographic mediums dating from 1847 to the present, including the earliest surviving streetscape Daguerreotype in Australia. Murray Street 1848 by photographer J W Newland, gives us a glimpse of the past looking down Murray Street to Battery Point and the wharves and shows people and horse drawn cabs in the street, whaling ships at the New Wharf [later Princes Wharf] and the old Gaol. During this period, public executions were still carried out. On some occasions crowds of up to 2,500 gathered to watch. Public executions ceased after 1855.

Because Tasmania’s climate is cooler than the northern states of Australia, the TMAG collection of historic photographs are very well preserved.

In 2007/08 the TMAG photographic storage area was modified, observing recommendations for air filtering and relative temperature and humidity. It is now recognised as having one of the best in Australia.

Apart from providing examples of photographic mediums, processes and equipment from the late 1840s to the present, the photographic collection is an important resource that supports and relates to all other Museum collections and exhibitions and also holds photographic archives recording the development of the Museum buildings and exhibitions.

Photographs acquired for the collection by TMAG are received as a gift or purchased. Bequests to the TMAG can also be given under the Australian Government Cultural Gifts program that offers tax incentives for gifts to the arts.

Thomas Bock (1790 – 1855) (attributed)
James and Henry Barnard c. 1850
Cased, hand-coloured daguerreotype
5 x 4.9 cm
Presented by Mrs O Rodway, 1943