Alan Spearman Evans collection




The Alan Spearman Evans collection comprises over 2000 photographic images of houses, house interiors, garden landscapes and industrial workplaces in New South Wales, taken by Alan Evans between 1924 and 1957. The photographic images are in various formats including photonegatives, silver gelatin photoprints and 35mm slides. The photo negatives are stored with the original envelopes annotated by Evans and provide an historical record of photographic documentation – often providing detail on aperture settings, light conditions and type of film used. The collection also includes family and general correspondence, property valuation certificates, the published book ‘Tail Up’ written by Sylvia Evans and material relating to its creation and publication, a personal notebook and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings.

Alan Spearman Evans (1902-1963) was a Sydney-based amateur photographer who spent much of his life recording his houses, gardens and workplaces as well as those of his family and friends. Evans married his childhood sweetheart, Sylvia Winifred Henderson (1902–1995), in 1927, and together they built their first home, Alwyn, in Arncliffe, in south-west Sydney. Photographing the construction of the house from its earliest stages, Alan initiated a routine of documenting the homes of his family and friends that would continue for over 30 years. Employed as an accountant for Davis Gelatine (Aust) Ltd, Evans took his photographic hobby into the workplace, capturing images of the extensive Davis Gelatine industrial garden and factory complex in Botany. In 1933 the Davis firm leased the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney and Evans documented ship-building activity and ship launches there. In 1950 the Evans’ built a new house at Mosman and Alan Evans continued to capture the house and garden on film until his death in 1963.

Alan Evans was a competent amateur photographer whose main talent was his tenacity. He spent most of his leisure hours photographing a world that epitomised middle-class suburban life in inter-war Sydney. He photographed these private moments with the same meticulousness he used in the images he created for his employer, Davis Gelatine. There is an aspirational element to the many photographs Evans took of some of the grander houses of his friends and associates and a number of these buildings have survived and are now heritage listed.


Domestic architecture; Gardens; Industrial sites; Inter-war Sydney; Interior decoration



Coverage Spatial

Blayney, New South Wales, Australia; Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

Coverage Temporal




2014-11-04 12:50

2011-03-25 15:19