From the Becarevic Collection: Recollections of Exploration and Voyage
Recollections of Exploration and Voyage
7 May – 24 June, 2018
Panizzi Gallery, UOW Library
Travellers’ narratives never cease to ignite the imagination. Early explorers – those filling in the blank spaces on the map – were the rock stars and celebrities of their time. Sea voyages were dangerous and successful expeditions guaranteed a place in society and history books.
Drawn from our Becarevic Collection and curated by UOW Archives, this exhibition illustrates the evolution of the traveller and the documentation of their journeys and experiences.
Online Exhibition Contents
▾ The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, 1789
▾ Flinder’s Voyage to Terra Australia, vol. 1 and 2, 1814
▾ M.F. Peron Voyage de Decouvertes, Aux Terres Australes. Historique, 1807
▾ Sydney, 1853. Plates bound in an album printed from engravings by Frederick Terry
▾ Gurre Kamilaroi, William Ridley, engravings by W Mason, 1856
▾ Official Record of the Sydney International Exhibition, 1879
▾ Street incidents: 21 photographs with descriptive letter press/photographs by John Thomson
▾ Beautiful Illawarra, by the South Coast Tourists Association, 1903
▾ Stereoscope cards – WWI Realistic Travel Series, 1914-1920
▾ Henry Arthur Pringle Photographic Album 1887 – 1893
▾ Curator's Talk - UOW Archives Manager Grant White
Advertised as the “official version” of his experiences, it includes entries from Lieutenants Shortland, Watts, Ball and Captain Marshall, who each contributed to the success of the voyage of the First Fleet.
Flinders successfully circumnavigated and mapped the continent and was enroute to England when, in 1804, he docked in Mauritius for repairs only to be arrested as a spy.
Flinders and Baudin met at Encounter Bay in South Australia. Baudin then abandoned his mission to map the southern coast of Australia (as Flinders had beat him to it), and died while returning to France in 1803.
Documenting the voyage fell to Francois Peron, the ship’s naturalist, who had clashed with Baudin for the entire voyage. Their animosity was so pervasive that Peron managed to describe an entire account of the voyage – three volumes in all – without once mentioning his Captain’s name.
In the 1850s, keepsake albums comprising views and vistas of the colony were popular gifts. These albums documented the beginning of a nationalistic pride in the progress and development of the colony.
William Ridley studied and documented the Kamilaroi, Tippil and Turrbal languages and upon his return to Sydney, he wrote and published an account of his travels and several books on Aboriginal language.
This book was published for the use of Kamilaroi people, primarily for the purposes of religious instruction, and was illustrated with woodcut engravings by Walter G. Mason.
The Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 was the first event of its kind in the southern hemisphere, intending to bring the world to Sydney at a time when the colony was prospering on a wave of gold and wool. 34 countries attended the Exhibition and over 1.1 million people visited it.
Sydney was not to see another event of this scale and impact for another 121 years at the Sydney Olympic Games.
Photography was still a new and fascinating technology in the 1870s when Scottish photographer John Thomson was roaming the globe. After travelling through Southeast Asia and China documenting the culture and customs, Thomson returned to Britain.
His portraits of London’s squalor were unlike anything seen before and he arguably became the first “street photographer” with this compilation of photographs capturing the poverty and privation of social conditions in the East End.
Tourists were encouraged to explore the wonders of the South Coast as far down the train line as the terminus at Bomaderry, and the guide’s paid advertisements for guest houses and hotels suggested brighter prospects despite the depression of the 1890s.
Enterprising companies sold sets of images as souvenirs during the First World War as a form of quasi-journalistic documentation of triumphs on the battlefield.
The Southern Coal Company came late to the exploitation of coal in the colonies. The principles sent their man Henry Pringle to set things up in the Illawarra. Pringle was a young and ambitious engineer. He proposed revolutionary methods to win the coal and ship it – sponsoring the construction of a large jetty at Port Kembla – so the largest ocean vessels could receive coal.
The Pringle Album documents both his professional achievements and his hobbies: photography and horse breeding.
UOW Archives Manager presents the Curator's Talk in the Panizzi Gallery, University of Wollongong Library, on 19 June 2018.
Grant highlights piquant elements of the collection, and establishes a somewhat chronological path of development, from the earliest, through to the latest items.