This blog features some of the recently digitised items from the Tasmanian Archives and the State Library of Tasmania. Each year, we place items online to help promote and preserve our rare and special collections. These images and films are just a tiny sample of an amazing treasure trove of Tasmania’s heritage. From colonial artwork to convict records, fragile glass plate negatives to rare films, private letters to government records, our collections (including the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts and the W L Crowther Collection) tell millions of stories from Tasmania and around the world.
In this blog:
- Photographs related to the history of Tasmanian trams, buses, equipment and staff – Ref: AG184/1/1 to 33
- Glass plate negatives of Hobart and Surrounds by William James Little (c1870 – 1920s) – Ref: NS526/1/1 to 49
- Photographs collected by the Cox Family (c1850-1929) – Ref: NS6904/1/1 to 87
- Photographs of Launceston sent to Overseas Pen-Friends – Ref: NS5622/1/1 to 15
- Photographs of Hobart and surrounds taken by James Chandler (c1920s) – Ref: NS1231/2/1 to 22
- Small collection of glass plate negatives from the Black family (c1930s) – Ref: NS5583/1/1 to 13
- Album of Thomas Midwood – Ref: NS6759/1/1
- Port Arthur Circuit – Baptism Register (1828-43) – Ref: NS499/1/531
- Port Arthur Circuit – Burial Register (1832-43) – Ref: NS499/1/532
- Wills from AD960/1/1, AD960/1/2, AD960/1/3 and AD960/1/4
- Travel Diary by Ernest Bailey – Ref: NS5845/1/1
Newly Digitised Images
Photographs related to the history of Tasmanian trams, buses, equipment and staff – Ref: AG184/1/1 to 33
Do you remember riding the tram in Hobart? What about the Metro ‘Doorstopper’? This series of photographs will take you on a ride through the public transport of the past.
The Metropolitan Transport Trust provided a public transport system by road in the metropolitan areas of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie. The Trust was established to take over the public transport services of Hobart and Launceston. Hobart City Council’s Municipal Transport Department had taken over the operations of the Hobart Electric Tramway Company (see NS1263) in 1913 and Launceston City Council had established its own service in 1911. By agreement with the 2 cities the Trust took over services in Hobart on 1 March 1955 and in Launceston on 1 July 1955. When the private bus company servicing Burnie failed in 1959, the Act was amended to empower the Trust to take over its operations. As part of a general re-organisation of the State Service, administrative control of the Trust passed from the Minister’s office to the Department of Roads and Transport on 1 July 1990. The Trust operated as a Division within the Department and its successors until 1 July 1995 when it became a Government Business Enterprise with its own Board of Directors. With the passing of the Metro Tasmania Act 1997 the Trust ceased and was replaced by a state owned company, Metro Tasmania Pty Ltd.
Glass plate negatives of Hobart and Surrounds by William James Little (c1870 – 1920s) – Ref: NS526/1/1 to 49
This series features images from the early 1900s of Hobart and surrounds. While it is mostly Hobart streetscapes (useful for building histories), it also includes postcard views like Fern Tree Hotel in the snow and the Sandy Bay baths, scenes of saw milling on Bruny Island and some images of early motor cars, as well as the biplane pictured below.
William James Little was a Hobart-based professional photographer. In the 1900s he appears to have been involved with the Liverpool Street stationer and general goods business ‘McVilly and Little’, which advertised itself as ‘the Post card People’. In 1913 he applied for copyright of the book of images ‘Best Wishes From Tasmania’.
William, born 1870, was the eldest of eight children born to Hobart gardener William Little and Jane Waters. William married Amy Ella Harwood in 1912, and they lived at 8 Liverpool Street, Hobart. Amy died three years later. William died in 1924 aged 54 and is buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery. More photographs of Tasmania by W L Little, printed on postcards, can be found in the State Library holdings.
Most of this series are stereoscopic photographs depicting Tasmanian landscapes and townscapes, collected by the Cox family (primarily by Basil Cox and passed on to his sister Mavis).
This photographic trend was popular from the 1850s to around the first world war. A stereoscopic pair (stereogram) involves two images taken from slightly different angles and set together on a card, to be viewed together using a special viewer called a stereoscope. When done correctly, this creates an optical illusion which gives the viewer a greater sense of depth – like an early version of 3D glasses. Depending on the image, the pictures need to be placed a certain distance apart in order to achieve the effect.
In the 1940s, after the Second World War, Lois Symonds corresponded with a young German couple, Walter and Margot Appel, and sent them photographs. These photographs were returned to a local family who, in turn, donated them to the Tasmanian Archives. The photographs are inscribed by Lois on the back with details explaining each image and the handwritten text illustrates the nice, easy “pen-friendship” that is not so common today. The value of this set of photographs is that they demonstrate the importance that was placed on written communication between people living in different countries.
This series is another great record of Hobart streetscapes, including some streets in flood. While many of these images have been online for some time, a second consignment (another transfer of records to the archives, fitting into the same series) has just been added. The new (to us) images include some lovely views of Mt Wellington and Mt Field National Park.
James Chandler (b. Hobart 1877) was a Hobart-based photographer. For many years he was a member of the Photographic Society and well-known on the Hobart waterfront as a marine photographer in the 1930s and 1940s. He was the youngest son of William Chandler, a bootmaker, and his wife Mary (nee Genge), who married at the New Town Methodist Church on the 14 Jan 1868. His uncle was Jacob Chandler, a ship builder in Battery Point. He died in Hobart on 8 July 1945.
Raymond Anderson Black was born in Brighton, Victoria in 1898, one of three children to Archibald G. H. and May Black (formerly Anderson). Archibald and May married in Tasmania in 1893. Archibald practiced as an architect and eventually settled on the North-West coast at a property called “Garroch”, East Devonport. Raymond was a public servant, practising as an accountant. In 1944 and 1946 he was recorded as the Assistant Returning Officer for the Electoral Office. By 1928 he had married his wife Marjorie and they had two sons, Raymond and Hugh. His interests included vintage cars and sailing as well as collecting antique furniture. Raymond Anderson Black died on July 12, 1991, in Sandy Bay, Tasmania, when he was 93 years old.
The quality of a glass-plate negative makes even a small collection, such as this one, a valuable resource. This series contains several unidentified family photographs, such as the one below, which are useful as examples of 1930s fashions in Tasmania. Due to the clarity of the image, details such as the beading and embroidery on this dress can be closely examined.
Thomas Claude Wade Midwood was a prolific cartoonist and artist, draftsman and musician. He was born in 1854 to Edwin and Susan Midwood (formerly Ross) and died in 1912. Midwood attended the Hutchins School and then went on to work in the Melbourne Post Office. He then went to sea and spent time in the United States as part of a musical ensemble, before returning to Hobart. He remained an illustrator, caricaturist and commercial artist while employed as a draftsman in the government Department of Lands and Works. He married Beatrice Ada Hewitt in 1883 and they had children Walter George, Edwin, Estelle Louise, Reginald Thomas and Gladys Evelyn.
This album comprises illustrations, family photographs, general photographs including ship-board scenes, and poems.
*Available to view via the History Room, Hobart and Launceston only
*Available to view via the History Room, Hobart and Launceston only
Wills Image Replacement Project
Access to our early wills dating from 1828 will see a new lease of life with pages from the early volumes of the AD960 series being replaced with higher quality images. Wills from AD960/1/1, AD960/1/2, AD960/1/3 and AD960/1/4 are now available to view online via the Tasmanian Names Index.
Diaries and manuscripts
Ernest Bailey (Edinburgh) travelled to Tasmania to visit his daughter and her family in 1926. He and his wife travelled around Tasmania during 1926 and 1927. In this diary Bailey provides details of the entire voyage, and of their experiences as Scottish tourists in the locations they visited. Illustrated with photographs from all around the state, it is a great record of Tasmania as it was in the 1920s.
A note about permissions
We love it when people use our resources. If you’d like to use our images or films in your book, manuscript, documentary, blog, or social media, please do make sure that you ask permission first. You can find out how to do this on our Writers and Publishers page (which has a link to the permission form).
Please feel free to ring us for advice or help. You can find our telephone numbers and chat service on our Help Desk.