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Uncovered glass plates and film negatives capturing 50 years of Brisbane's history go on display

Post Time:Feb 11,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:428

Almost 20 years worth of photographs documenting one man's journey through Brisbane at the turn of the 20th century have been added to an historic collection thought complete for the past 30 years.


The glass plate and film negatives from amateur photographer Alfred Elliott were originally uncovered in 1983 after they were found in cigar boxes under a house in Red Hill and acquired by the Museum of Brisbane.


For the past three decades, 'The Elliott Collection' was thought to be comprised of a tailboard camera and 285 glass plate negatives covering a period of 1890 to 1921.


That was until one neglected cigar box with more than 400 film negatives, 92 prints and some brief notes was uncovered at the museum's storage facility last year - extending the collection's coverage to 50 years.


Now, a selection from Elliott's half-century of photographs will go on display in the museum inside Brisbane City Hall from Friday when 'The view from here: The photographic world of Alfred Elliott 1890-1940' opens to the public.


The images chronicle a broad range of Elliott's life - from private moments with friends on family trips and picnics at the Glasshouse Mountains to key moments in Brisbane's history such as the construction of Central Railway Station in 1899 and the visit from the Duke and Duchess of York in 1901.


Images were captured in locations including Mt Coot-tha, the city's Botanic Gardens, Tweeds Heads just south of the border and the Moreton Bay Region - all undertaken by train, bus, boat, car and possibly even by horse and bicycle.


Curator Phil Manning, who discovered the last cigar box, said it was evident from the body of work that Elliott was proud of his city.


"He documented the city by walking the streets and going on travels with his family," Mr Manning said.


"He had a strong connection to the British Empire, that was probably the area he was most drawn to documenting ... royal visits and the Queensland troops going off to the Boer War.


"But he's also photographed Brisbane's new buildings and structures such as the bridges that went up following the 1893 flood."


Elliot's first photographs were dated 1890 and captured on dry-plate glass negatives, including both single image and stereograph negatives.


They were a mixture of amateur and professionally produced plates.


Elliot used glass plates until 1921 when it appeared he changed to a camera with film.


Very little was known about Alfred Henrie Elliott.


He was born in Paignton in England in 1870 and was the youngest of seven children.


His family came to Queensland when he was seven years old, with his father taking up post as principal of Humpybong Primary School in Redcliffe, north of Brisbane.


Elliott was known to have worked in Brisbane as a civil servant in a variety of roles.


His working life also included jobs as a law clerk, professional shorthand writer and a bank clerk.


Museum of Brisbane director Peter Denham said the collection was an exceptional record of one man's perspective of Brisbane at a very exciting time.


"It's about the development of the city and really as the city museum we want people to imagine where we've come from. It also really helps us plan for the future," Mr Denham said.


"I'm sure everyone will want to try and pick out the buildings they recognise that have stayed with us.


"It's a view back in time ... where it really helps us understand how the city has grown and changed.


"We live in times that are continually changing. It's a comfort in a funny way that it's OK, that things do change.


"The exhibition wonderfully captures how much our city has changed and I think it will encourage people to reflect on their own perceptions of Brisbane."


The free exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane, at Brisbane City Hall, runs until August 30.

Source: https://au.gwn7.yahoo.com/w1/lifestyle/a/-/entertaAuthor: shangyi

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