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.
This is the earliest known photograph of the exterior of Byram (later Tara Hall). It shows the original red brick fence, its asymmetrical gate and gateposts, with a large terra cotta gargoyle surmounting the higher of the two. The architect, Edward Kilburn designed Byram in the Arts & Crafts style for the industrialist George Ramsden. Construction began in 1888 and was reputed to have lasted three years. The mansion had frontages to Studley Park Road and Stevenson Street, including gardens laid out with great taste, including pleasure grounds, tennis lawn, fruit and flower garden, and paddock. The size of many of the trees in the garden indicate that many survived from the garden of Clifton Villa, the previous single-storeyed house built on the site by the Stevenson brothers. Byram had views to Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay. The house was demolished in 1960, despite opposition from the National Trust (Victoria), and its gardens subdivided into residential allotments.
Inscriptions & markings
A View in Studley Park Road