Pulletop and Thornthwaite: photographs of pastoral properties in nineteenth-century New South Wales

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Peck, Julia (2012)

This article compares two different photographic accounts of working pastoral landscapes in nineteenth-century New South Wales between 1860 and the mid 1890s. Joseph and Ernest Docker’s photographs of their property (c. 1860-1869) disavow details of labour and land productivity in favour of producing picturesque landscape photographs. Both Dockers were educated amateurs, producing delicate, hand-made photographs demonstrating their cultural sophistication. The photographs of Pulletop Station (c. 1886-1891), in contrast, celebrate conspicuous leisure and show class relations. The owners, Edmund and Ashley Westby, commissioned the photographs to celebrate the productivity and cultural refinements of the property. The photographer, Charles Bayliss, was a commercial landscape photographer based in Sydney. The Westbys’ interest in a photographic celebration of the landscape suggests that they were concerned with new representational forms, creating a link between the acquisition of capital and the means by which it was represented. Bayliss was able to create images that simultaneously situated the Westbys as controllers of capital whilst celebrating strong masculine labour.
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