Monochrome photograph of the exterior view of the Melbourne Observatory Building, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Melbourne, taken by the studio of Nettleton & Arnest.
This photograph is part of a collection of 47 photographs of Melbourne taken in the late nineteenth century by the commercial photographic studio of Nettleton and Arnest. The collection features significant Melbourne buildings and streets including Parliament House, the Treasury Buildings, St Patrick's Cathedral, the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne University Colleges. Few people feature in the photographs, which are predominantly focused upon architecture. The collection is significant as it provides a visual record of Melbourne's early development, and also reveals the work of an important local photography studio.
Charles Nettleton was a prolific outdoor photographer who worked over a period of forty years in Australia, after moving to Melbourne from the United Kingdom in 1854. In 1867, he was appointed official Royal photographer in Australia and he also worked as the official police photographer for over 25 years in the 1860s - 1880s. His photographs were exhibited at international exhibitions in Dublin in 1865, Paris in 1867 and Sydney in 1879. Nettleton retired in 1890, as new dry plate photographic technology made the wet place process he employed redundant. His photographs are held by major institutions around Australia.
John Mond Arnest's history and association with the firm of Nettleton and Arnest is more obscure. Arnest emigrated from America to Melbourne in the 1880's and was employed by the large photographic firm of William Nutting Tuttle and Co in Elizabeth Street. He operated a photographic studio in Hamilton, before settling in Colac where he lived and worked as a photographer until his death in 1920.
Description of Content
The exterior view of the main observatory building, Melbourne Observatory, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra. The photo was taken after 1892, as the Computing Room is completed between the East Transit Room on left, as is the tower and dome for the North Equatorial Telescope.
Monochrome albumen photograph
Place & Date Depicted
Handwritten in grey pencil on the back of photograph: '29' Printed handwritten text in white on photograph: 'OBSERVATORY.'
Type of item
203 mm (Width), 151 mm (Height)