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Southern Light - Photographs from Down Under
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Waiting Offshore, Norah Head, New South Wales

Australian Photography from the 1850s to the 2000s

This two-part exhibition held between 2003 and 2005 was the first to extensively explore the National Library of Australia's massive photography holdings in the Pictures Collection, now numbering more than 600 000 images. Some of the photographs from the exhibitions can be seen online:

Charles Bayliss (1850-1897)

Charles Bayliss was one of Australia's earliest photographers. A Modern Vision - Charles Bayliss, Photographer is an exhibition of his work at the National Library of Australia. His panoramas of Sydney (360o) and Stawell (180o) are particularly worth a look, considering that they were photographed in the 1870s. The full catalogue of the exhibition is available for download from the exhibition's website.

Jeff Carter (1928-2010)

A freelance photo-journalist, Jeff Carter made his reputation by documenting the lives of ordinary Australians, especially those in rural areas. His website still remains available and thousands of his photographs are available for viewing.

Harold Cazneaux (1878 - 1953)

Max Dupain once called Harold Cazneaux "the father of modern Australian photography." A summary of his life and work can be found on the Australian Government's About Australia website. A selection of his photographs is available though the National Library of Australia's image collection.

William Henry Corkhill (1846-1936)

The William Henry Corkhill Collection is a series of over 800 images documenting the people and buildings of the Tilba Tilba region on the south coast of New South Wales in the late 1800s.

Olive Cotton (1911 - 2003)

Olive Cotton worked at the Dupain studio in Sydney. Although she exhibited as early as 1932 it was not until the 1980s that her work became more widely known. A summary of her life and workcan be found on the Australian Government's About Australia website.A selection of her photographs is available though the National Library of Australia's image collection.

Peter Dombrovskis (1945-1996)

Peter Dombrovskis was a protége of Oleagas Truchanas (see below) and, like Truchanas, his work features the remote wilderness of south-west Tasmania. His image 'Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River' is regarded as having an influential impact on the 1983 Federal Election where Bob Hawke's victory was due, in part, to the Labor Party's opposition to the construction of the Gordon-Below-Franklin Dam. This selection of images at the National Library of Australia includes the Rock Island Bend photograph. Peter Dombrovskis was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame in 2003.

Max Dupain (1911-1992)

Max Dupain is one of the best known of Australian photographers. Max Dupain on Assignment is a selection of images from the exhibition held at the National Archives in Canberra in 2008 featuring Dupain's work for the Commonwealth Government and for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited.

Images of Penrith, 1948 The State Library of New South Wales has acquired the Max Dupain Exhibition Negative Archive with more than 25,000 negatives that were not part of his commercial business. This is a small selection of images of Penrith, at the time just a small outer Sydney suburb.

 Frank Hurley: The Endurance trapped in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton expedition, 27 August 1915

Richard Green

Richard Green photographed some of Australia's most remote landscapes, travelling in his own private helicopter. Tragically, Green, his wife Carol and friend John Davis, were killed in November 2015 when their helicopter crashed in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.

Frank Hurley (1885-1962)

Frank Hurley is arguably Australia's most famous photographer having made his name on Antarctic exploration with Mawson and Shackleton and as an official photographer in both world wars. The Frank Hurley Archive at the National Library of Australia features thousands of his images and two other online resources which feature Hurley's Antarctic work are:

Ricky Maynard (1953-)

Ricky Maynard is a photographer based on Flinders Island in Bass Strait. His photographs aim to keep Aboriginal culture alive and document Aboriginal social and political realities. He is a graduate of The International Centre of Photography in New York, and has won many Australian and international photography awards. A major exhibition was 'Portrait of a Distant Land', comprising sixty images selected from his work of the last 20 years. His photography featured in a 2 part film on ABC TV's 'Message Stick Program, available through the Internet Archive:

David Moore (1927-2003)

David Moore began his career in the studio of Max Dupain. Some of the most familiar images of Australian life are his, although most people would probably not know the name of the photographer. One of his images, 'The Grape Picker' was sent into deep space aboard the 1967 Voyager spacecrafts.

The Spread of Time: Photography of David Moore features notes and images from the exhibition that opened at the National Gallery on the Australia Day long weekend in 2003. David Moore died on 23 January 2003, two days before the opening of the exhibition.

Wolfgang Sievers (1913-2007)

German by birth, Wolfgang Sievers migrated to Australia in 1938 and made his name as a fine industrial and architectural photographer. Before his death he passed on all of his remaining images to human rights activist Julian Burnside, QC so that they could be sold and the monies raised used for a variety of humanitarian causes. A selection of his works can be seen on Julian Burnside's website and many more are held in the National Library of Australia.

Olegas Truchanas (1923-1972)

Olegas Truchanas arrived in Australia as a displaced person after World War II. He was a key figure in the attempt to stop the damming of wild rivers in south-west Tasmania by raising public awareness of the issue through his audio visual presentations. The 105 slides that comprised the Olegas Truchanas Lake Pedder Audiovisual Collection are held by the National Library of Australia.


Wildness is a documentary film that features over 300 photographs by Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis and tells their stories. Both men died tragically in the Tasmanian south-west wilderness.

Richard Woldenthorp (1927-)

Dutch-born photographer Ricard Woldenthorp is a landscape photographer who specialises in photographing the Australian landscape from a light aircraft flying at about 1,500 metres. He has authored numerous books, the most recent being 'Abstract Earth', which is also the title of a recent exhibition. He lives in Western Australia and was made a State Living Treasure for his contribution to the Arts.

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