King’s success as a photographer eventually enabled him to build a large house in Bondi, with the beach a few streets away. Beach culture in the 19th century, however, was considerably different from today and the beach had not really established itself as an iconic part of the ‘Australian way of life’. Henry Burn’s ‘Brighton Beach’ 1862 is one of the earliest depictions of Australians by the sea. King probably took this charming photograph on the weekend, with the beach crowded. Yet the crowd is strolling and taking in the air, not swimming. A few have dared to take off their boots and paddle. The odd naked child ventures into the water. They probably escaped the daylight prohibition on bathing, which was in force in New South Wales until 1902.
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
14.9 x 20.1 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r. [inscribed on glass plate negative] "...(H. King Syd.). Not dated.
Gift of Paul Mallard 1987
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Fine and mostly sunny: photographs from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Sep 1991–01 Dec 1991
Souvenirs of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Mar 1992–10 May 1992
Waterproof - One Hundred Days Festival - Expo 98, Lisboa EXPO 98, Lisbon, 27 Feb 1998–31 May 1998
Bondi: a biography, Museum of Sydney, Sydney, 17 Dec 2005–19 Mar 2006
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, 45 (illus.).
À Prova de Água Waterproof, Lisbon, 1998, (illus.). plate no. 142