Historical information

Henry Christian (c.1809-91), the grandfather of the photographer, was one of the first settlers in Kew. He arrived in Victoria with his wife Agnes and son Orlando in 1855 on the Gypsy Queen. He established a rope-making business in Bulleen Road by 1858 but was declared insolvent two years later. In his final years, he was celebrated as one of the oldest living settlers of the district. His son, Orlando Henry Beater Christian (c.1853-1930) became a member of the Hawthorn Band and a foundation member of the Willsmere Swimming Club. Orlando and his wife Elizabeth had four children of which Henry Beater Christian (1886-1962) was the oldest.

Significance

An album of photographs, compiled by Henry Beater Christian (1886-1962) of Pakington Street, Kew, depicting individuals, natural and settled environments and the interactions between these worlds. Henry Christian, was a keen explorer, not just of his immediate environment but also of the Victorian wilderness. His major opus is contained in two albums in which he records, sometimes in majestic detail and on other occasions the intimate features of the natural world. His photographic travels during the 1920s, often in solitary ramblings but on other occasions with companions, recall the heroic landscape photography of an earlier era, pioneered by Nicholas Caire. In addition to their aesthetic value, the albums are historically significant records within the State of Victoria, of what is now a distant point in time, and of places that have become radically altered through human intervention.

Physical description

Digital copy of a 48-page photograph album containing 255 gelatinous silver images, loaned by Diane Washfold with permission given to digitise and hold a copy in our collection. The album contains a groups of photographic positives taken by Henry Christian (a resident of Pakington Street), of places in Kew and throughout regional Victoria during the 1920s. The mainly sepia photographs, while small, are of a high resolution. Photographs are typically lightly glued onto pages. Locations are frequently identified by white or black ink, which in a number of cases is illegible due to wear.