(England, Australia 1850 – 1897)
20.9 x 28.2 cm image/sheet; 21.9 x 29.1 cm card; 26.2 x 34.0 cm paper (irreg.)
The photographs taken by Bayliss along the Darling and Lower Murray rivers in 1886 were made for the Lyne Royal Commission into Water Conservation in New South Wales. Bayliss and six others travelled by paddlewheel steamer down the Darling River to Adelaide, studying land conditions and taking evidence from locals. The ultimate aim of the commission was to develop strategies for water conservation and distribution to avert ‘the disastrous consequences of the periodical droughts to which the Colony is from time to time subject’, a project still unrealised 120 years later.1
Ironically, the expedition was made at a time of flood. This photograph shows the river bursting it banks and flooding the outer paddock of the homestead. The commission’s steamer is visible, moored at the upper left. The Dunlop Station, between Wilcannia and Bourke on the Darling River, played an important role in the history of shearing in Australia. In 1886 it covered nearly 180 000 acres and employed more than 100 people at mustering time. The first complete shearing by mechanical means took place here two years after this photograph was taken.
1. 1884 report in Jeffcoat K & Byron S 1991, 'Down the Darling: the Charles Bayliss photographs', Department of Water Resources New South Wales, Parramatta p 8
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
Sandra Byron and Kevin Jeffcoat, Down the Darling - The Charles Bayliss Photographs, Sydney, 1991, 26, 27 (illus.).
Robyn Donohue, Look, 'Arcadia: Nineteenth Century Australian Photography', pg. 22-23, Heidelberg, Oct 1998, 22 (illus.).
Robyn Donohue, Arcadia - nineteenth century Australian photography, North Sydney, 1998, (illus.). no catalogue numbers
Josef Lebovic Gallery, Colonial Photographers, Sydney, 1984. cat.no. 116
Robert McFarlane, Critic's Choice, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers
Steven Miller, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'In every house, and in every tent', pg.33-51, Sydney, 2007, 48 (illus.).
Jill Sykes, Look, 'Picturing the past', pg.38-9, Newtown, Aug 2007, 39 (illus.).
Colonial Photographers, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Kensington, 24 Mar 1984–28 Apr 1984
Critic's Choice, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Apr 1994–10 Jul 1994
We Are Family, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1994–20 Nov 1994
Arcadia: nineteenth century Australian photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Oct 1998–13 Dec 1998
A modern vision: Charles Bayliss photographer 1850-1897, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 11 Jul 2008–26 Oct 2008
The photograph and Australia, 21 Mar 2015–08 Jun 2015