British photographic history

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Six Aboriginal daguerreotypes and ambrotypes discovered in South Australia

Cased images of Australian aborigines are few and far between so the discovery of six images, three daguerreotypes and three ambrotypes in the Mill Cottage Museum in Port Lincoln, South Australia is particularly exciting news.

The earliest known aboriginal daguerreotypes were taken by Douglas Thomas Kilburn (eldest brother of the London photographer William Edward Kilburn) in Melbourne in 1847. Few South Australian daguerreotypes of any subject, let alone aboriginal people, have come to light. Only a handul of people are known to have practiced the form commercially in that State.

A reference database of daguerreotypists in Australia I maintain includes the following who were active in South Australia: Samuel Thomas Gill, George Barron Goodman. Professor Robert Hall, Robert Hastings Norman, George Augustus Frederick Hezeltine, Edward Schohl, Samuel Ogelsby, Norwood Potter, Thomas Luke, Kopsch and May, and the Duryea Brothers, Townsend and Sanford. Only one identified and one other possible daguerreotype by the Duryeas for instance, despite being prominent and prolific photographers who started in New York, are currently known to me. Who actually made these freshly announced images is yet to be determined.

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