# 26737

CAIRE, Nicholas John (1837-1918)

Aboriginal group on the shores of Lake Tyers (Bung Yarnda), Gippsland, Victoria. Circa 1886.

$2,000.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, 145 x 200 mm, laid down on its original mount with printed caption label at bottom margin: ‘Natives on Caligurnie Bay. In the centre of the women on the log may be seen the oldest woman on the settlement, “Kitty”.’; the albumen print is in very good condition with a few mild toning spots; verso with another albumen print in identical format, with the printed caption: ‘Crystal Bay. This bay is beyond the furthest point of our last picture, and the view is from an elevation on the left bank, looking down the arm.’

Lake Tyers Mission, in Far East Gippsland, was established in 1863 by Church of England missionary John Bulmer. The reserve became a home for the Gunai/Kurnai people who had survived the invasion of their land by white settlers in the 1840s-50s.

The Melbourne-based photographer, N. J. Caire (1837-1918) worked extensively in regional Victoria, but particularly in Gippsland, where he documented the landscape, Indigenous people and European settlement with his camera. Between the late 1870s and late 1880s Caire produced a number of commercial portfolios of Victorian scenes; the double-sided mount we offer here originally formed part of one of these.

A variant of the photograph of the men standing in canoes and women seated on the shore is also known. On account of the long exposure time required, both shots would have required a great deal of patience on the part of both the photographer and his subjects. Both images are reminiscent of – but perhaps not quite as well known as – Charles Bayliss’ photograph of men fishing from canoes on the lower Murray River near Chowilla Station, which was also taken in 1886.