Historical information

In late 1883 the Melbourne based photographers Stevenson and McNicoll visited the Bacchus Marsh township and nearby districts. They are known to have been visiting the town in September 1883 and by November 1883 they were reported to have moved on to Myrniong and Ballan. During their visit they took numerous photographs. The images produced comprise scenes of shops and businesses in Bacchus Marsh, public buildings like the Court House and Bacchus Marsh Primary School, houses and their owners and several broader views of streets. The photos were then offered for sale. Photography businesses also sold albums for purchasers to display their photos.


A unique and comprehensive set of images of people and places in the Bacchus Marsh town and district at a particular period in time, September-November 1883. This album of "carte de visites" photographs presents a rare compilation of the work of the Stevenson and McNicoll photography business. This team of photographers are known to have made several visits to towns and districts in the rural areas of Victoria and southern New South Wales in the 1880s and this album represents a very rare example of their non-portrait photography.
The album is an example of the Victorian middle-class fashion to display family photographs for themselves and their visitors. These albums were often very expensive and in themselves evidence of the affluence of the family. They were made possible by the popularisation of photography as a social medium and were a forerunner of the coffee-table book.

Physical description

Medium sized leather-bound album, brown, front cover engraved with gold tooling in a starburst pattern. Pages are gold-lined. The inside front and end covers are in pale blue silk embossed with a gold floral pattern. The metal locking clasp is broken. The front page has a floral wreath of roses and forget-me-nots and a dragon-fly. The word "Album" is in the centre of the wreath, printed in gold in Gothic print.

There are nine pages with pockets for four 65mm x 105mm sized "carte de visites" style photographs. Several feature pages have a single pocket for a larger photograph, or double pockets, possibly designed for family portraits. These portrait pages are also decorated with floral wreaths and insects, reflecting the theme of the frontispiece page.
The smaller photos in the album were taken by the Melbourne photographers Stevenson and McNicoll, There are 48 of these smaller images. The images were created around September 1883 when photographers for Stevenson and McNicoll are known to have visited Bacchus Marsh and district. The images comprise scenes of shops and businesses in Bacchus Marsh, public buildings like the Court House and Bacchus Marsh Primary School, houses with their owners and several broader views of streets. References to various photos being created and being available for sale are mentioned in the Bacchus Marsh Express newspaper during September to November 1883.

Inscriptions & markings

Each smaller photo has printed on the verso: Light & Truth. Copies of this Portrait can be had at any time by sending the Name and Post Office Money Order or Stamps for the amount of order to Stevenson & McNicoll, late Benson & McNicoll, Photographers. 108 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.