Historical information

The photo is of a painting of the dam formed on land between Grovedale Road and James Street, Surrey Hills. It was painted in 1927 by Miss Muriel Pornitz, an art teacher, who lived in Grovedale Road. The land had been part of Mr James Maling Snr’s property and in the 1880s clay was removed to build houses, including his own located on the corner of Weybridge and James Streets. Maling grazed cattle on this area and used it as a dam. The land was subsequently made into parkland, the quarry / dam having been filled in after several drownings had occurred in the 1920s/1930s.
See also SHP94, another copy of the same.
Muriel Hedwig Lucy Pornitz lived at 22 Grovedale Road, Surrey Hills. She was born c1894 in Balwyn; died in Kew on 1 December 1982. She was the daughter of Konrad Pornitz (1864-1903) and his wife Charlotte Richardson Gooderidge (1863-1942), known as Tottie, who married in 1890. Konrad Pornitz is listed in the 1892 directory as living in Edgevale Road, Kew and the business Pornitz and Ross at 291 & 293 Little Collins Street, importers and commission merchants. The 1896 directory gives the Kew address as 176 Edgevale Road, Kew, however the business Pornitz and Ross was dissolved on 1st day of October 1892, by mutual agreement. Legal notice advised that: Mr Pornitz will hereafter carry on the business on his own behalf at the same address, under the style "Pornitz and Ross".
Muriel is buried in Box Hill Cemetery (B-086-0042) along with Ulrich Horst Holm Pornitz known as Horst or Bon (d 1957) and Edith Olga Pornitz (d 1951), her brother and sister. A further sibling (Konrad b 1891) died in infancy. He is buried with his mother in Boroondara (Kew) Cemetery - C/E A 0366.
Konrad died at his home 'Yarran' in Lane Cove Road, North Sydney on 31 October 1903; reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. Buried Gore Hill Cemetery, St Leonards, North Sydney. The headstone reveals he was born in Chemnitz, Saxony in 1863.
Muriel was also known as Muriel Pornett. She studied at the South Australian School of Arts & Crafts in 1911 under James Ashton and Fred Britton, and at the Australian School of Etching in Sydney. She was also an illustrator and cartoonist.


The photo, and the painting from which it is derived, documents the landscape prior to close settlement and is material to early building and farming in the Surrey Hills area.

Physical description

A black and white photograph of a painting of a landscape of parkland. Two trees are on top of a rise and are reflected at the bottom in water. The signature of the artist is in the bottom right corner: "AUST MP 192" (and the rest is cut off).