Historical information

Taken in the year 1900, this glass slide captures an image of St. Joseph's Church, a Roman Catholic Church that is still present today at 9 Church Street, Beechworth. This was one of many churches that was established in Beechworth during the second half of the nineteenth-century. This trend began with a focus on Anglican faith; however, in the early 1850s, Father Patrick Smyth, a priest from Maynooth, Ireland, advocated for the establishment of a Roman Catholic Church in the town. Roman Catholicism quickly grew to be the second largest religious group in the area; this was primarily due to the work of Father William Tierney, a priest from Dublin who arrived in Beechworth in 1859. Tierney personally fostered the growth of many Catholic schools and churches in Beechworth, as he viewed it to be a significant area for the prosperity of the religion.

St. Josephs Church was officially established in 1866, with the Bishop of Melbourne, Dr Goold, laying the foundational stone of the building. The estimated cost of the building in its entirety was approximately twenty-thousand pounds. Further additions to the building - including a second aisle, tower and spire - were proposed for the church, but were ultimately never built.

Lantern slides, sometimes called 'magic lantern' slides, are glass plates on which an image has been secured for the purpose of projection. Glass slides were etched or hand-painted for this purpose from the Eighteenth Century but the process became more popular and accessible to the public with the development of photographic-emulsion slides used with a 'Magic Lantern' device in the mid-Nineteenth Century. Photographic lantern slides comprise a double-negative emulsion layer (forming a positive image) between thin glass plates that are bound together. A number of processes existed to form and bind the emulsion layer to the base plate, including the albumen, wet plate collodion, gelatine dry plate and woodburytype techniques. Lantern slides and magic lantern technologies are seen as foundational precursors to the development of modern photography and film-making techniques.


This glass slide captures social and historical significance as it represents the development of Beechworth as a prosperous and thriving town; a development that occurred during the second half of the nineteenth-century. It also shows the development of religious institutions in the area, specifically the growth of Catholicism.

Physical description

Thin translucent sheet of glass with a circular image printed on the front and framed in a black backing. It is held together by metal strips to secure the edges of the slide.