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.
Completed in November 1890, the railway viaduct (now the Chandler Highway Bridge) linked Kew and Fairfield. The viaduct is significant as the most substantial extant engineering remnant of the Outer Circle Railway Line. Opened in March 1891, the viaduct crossed the Yarra River in a single span, atop three supporting brick pillars. Following the closure of the railway line in 1927, and the construction of the Chandler Highway in 1930, the bridge was used for vehicular traffic. In 1891 when this panoramic photograph was taken, the grounds of what was then the Kew Lunatic Asylum extended down to the River and eastward beyond the viaduct. The landscape surrounding the Asylum was planted with traditional exotic trees such as Oaks, Pines and Cedars, and landmark trees from northern Australia such as the Hoop Pine. Remnant indigenous trees such as the River Red Gum, Yellow Box and Lightwood were scattered around the site, including beside the Yarra River.
Inscriptions & markings
Railway Bridge Over the Yarra