At the beginning of the 1890s, the Kew businessman and Town Councillor, Henry Kellett, commissioned J.F.C. Farquhar to photograph scenes of Kew. These scenes included panoramas as well as pastoral scenes. The resulting set of twelve photographs was assembled in an album, Kew Where We Live, from which customers could select images for purchase.The preamble to the album describes that the photographs used the ‘argentic bromide’ process, now more commonly known as the gelatine silver process. This form of dry plate photography allowed for the negatives to be kept for weeks before processing, hence its value in landscape photography. The resulting images were considered to be finely grained and everlasting. Evidence of the success of Henry Kellett’s venture can be seen today, in that some of the photographs are held in national collections.
It is believed that the Kew Historical Society’s copy of the Kellett album is unique and that the photographs in the book were the first copies taken from the original plates. It is the first and most important series of images produced about Kew. The individual images have proved essential in identifying buildings and places of heritage value in the district.
A panoramic photograph of the junction of High Street and Cotham Road. The photographer centres the point-of-view on the Kew Post Office and adjacent Court House. These were designed in the Queen Anne style by the Public Works Department's architect J Harvey and completed in 1888. The complex is important because it demonstrates a departure from the contemporaneously favoured High Victorian Classical to the Queen Anne style in the design of civic buildings. The earlier Jubilee Fountain in front of the Post Office was erected by the Kew Borough Council to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. It was created to a design of the architects Reed, Henderson and Smart. The fountain was later relocated to the Alexandra Gardens to make way for the Kew War Memorial. The tram tracks in High Street were used by the horse tram, which ran from the Victoria Street Bridge to the Boroondara General Cemetery. The tram was replaced by an electrified service in 1915.
Inscriptions & markings
The Post Office