The lighthouse at Barrenjoey, north of Sydney near Palm Beach, was completed in 1881. This photograph was probably taken not long after its opening, as it shows the stonemasons and other workmen who constructed the tower and possibly the first keeper James Steere, standing near the lantern, looking out to sea through a telescope. Paine’s black-and-white photograph manages to capture the fine quality of Hawkesbury sandstone out of which the lighthouse was made and which was frequently remarked upon in the press at the time. Although lighthouses – remote and elegant human edifices battling the forces of nature – have traditionally appealed to artists, this particular photograph seems to have a more prosaic aim. It is a record of growth and progress; of a sure control extended over the landscape by Australia’s new inhabitants.
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
28.8 x 24.7 cm image/sheet; 31.8 x 27.5 cm card
Signature & date
Signed l.l. original mount, pencil "J.P.". Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 1 exhibition
Masterpieces of Australian Photography, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Kensington, 24 Jun 1989–22 Jul 1989
Referenced in 2 publications
Steven Miller, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'In every house, and in every tent', pg.33-51, Sydney, 2007, 44 (illus.).
Josef Lebovic Gallery and Helen Ennis, Masterpieces of Australian Photography, Sydney, 1989, 110, 111 (illus.). catalogue no: 193