Ernest Sterne Usher Photographs of the South-west Pacific



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630 nitrate negatives/photographs, mainly of the eastern Papuan Gulf region, taken by Usher during 1914-16 while he was working as a geologist/surveyor for oil exploration in the region of the Vailala and Purari rivers. Donated by his sister, Edith Saxton, in 1972. Usher took photographs at other locations in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands during his travel back to Australia on leave but died in a canoe accident soon after return to the Vailala area. Photographs taken by E.R. Stanley, L.L. Wrathall, W.H. Cooper and J.W. Beattie are included in the collection.

Researched by Grahame R. Pike and Barry Craig. All the images have been photographed professionally. The original negatives and prints are kept in the SA Museum Archives under AA835. In 1996-7, an exhibition of a selection of 50 images was exhibited in the SA Museum's Pacific Gallery; these prints were donated to the Papua New Guinea National Museum & Art Gallery in 1999 and subsequently prints of the same series were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Publications: Pike, G.R. & B. Craig 1999 The Usher Photographic Collection from the South-West Pacific. Records of the South Australian Museum. 31(2): 215-253. Craig, B. 1999 The Papuan Photographs of Ernest Sterne Usher. Pacific Arts 19&20: 27-37. Related external collections: 99 prints, Collingwood Bay, Papua, apparently taken by Usher, in the archives of the Museum of Victoria.


E.R. Stanley; Ernest Sterne Usher; J.W. Beattie; L.L. Wrathall; W.H. Cooper

Ernest Sterne Usher; New Guinea; Papuan Gulf; Photographs; Solomon Islands



Coverage Spatial

various locations in the central Solomon Islands; Rabaul, Witu Island, Ablingi Island and Lindenhafen, New Britain; South coast of Papua, Port Moresby to Vailala River and the Purari Delta of Papua

Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


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2011-03-18 17:46