Frank Hurley photographic collection



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This sub-collection of the South Australian Government Photographic Collection (c.1890-1957) comprises 288 photographs taken by James Francis (Frank) Hurley in 1935. They depict aspects of South Australia and Central Australia.

The images showcase South and central Australia. Of the 288 images, Hurley took forty-five in the West MacDonnell Ranges and the Alice Springs areas of the Northern Territory. He also took most, if not all, of twenty-two images of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. The remaining 221 photographs feature Adelaide and its surrounds, the Botanic Gardens, the almond blossom, Beltana, Coward Springs, the Flinders and Mount Lofty Ranges, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Iron Knob, the River Murray, Victor Harbor and the south east of the state.

The Government Immigration, Publicity and Tourist Bureau commissioned Hurley in 1935 to take the images to showcase South Australia for its centenary year in 1936. By the 1930s Hurley was a leading Australian documentary photographer and filmmaker. Hurley had filmed in the Antarctic for both Sir Douglas Mawson and Sir Ernest Shackleton, been an official photographer during the First World War and filmed in Papua New Guinea. Hurley was known for his creativity, meticulous style and attention to detail. The images of South Australia’s scenic beauty, civic precincts and primary and secondary industries show Hurley’s careful attention to composition and aesthetics.

A History SA collection. Access to collection items is by appointment only.

The original glass plates are held by State Records of South Australia (GRG35/342). History SA holds the catalogue and digitised copy set of the collection.


Glass plate negatives

History SA, South Australia; James Francis (Frank) Hurley

South Australia; South Australian history

Coverage Spatial

South Australia; Northern Territory; Australia

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:43

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