# 15240

LINGWOOD SMITH, William Thomas (1860-1933)

A group of photographs of Aboriginal subjects by police photographer W.T. Lingwood Smith, South Australia and Central Australia, circa 1900.

$5,500.00 AUD

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Five photographs on early printing out paper, each approximately 100 x 145 mm, unmounted; all are outdoor shots of Aboriginal subjects (four with the photographer’s pencilled caption verso); sourced with a group of Lingwood Smith portrait photographs of South and Central Australian Aborigines in identical format, inscribed in the same hand and bearing contemporary captions in ink ‘South Australian Aboriginal. Photo – W.T. Lingwood Smith, Detective Photographer, Adelaide’; all of the prints are in fine condition.

William Thomas Lingwood Smith was a Detective Photographer in the South Australian Police Force from 1888 until his retirement in 1922. As early as 1894 he also pioneered fingerprinting in Australia, becoming an expert in the Criminal Investigation Branch of the South Australian Police Department. An album of photographs in the South Australian Museum (Series AA 295/01, Album P), whose provenance is given as ‘William Thomas Lingwood Smith’, contains numerous photographs by both Paul Foelsche – a fellow South Australian police photographer – and Lingwood Smith, along with others by F.J. Gillen, Saul Solomon, Henry Yorke Lyell Brown and Hermann Klaatsch, and would appear to have been compiled by Lingwood Smith himself. Unlike the photographs of Paul Foelsche, however, the photographs of Lingwood Smith are virtually unknown; they were taken not for commercial purposes, but exclusively in the line of his police work. With the exception of the album and some individual prints in the South Australian Museum, we can locate no examples of Lingwood Smith’s photography in any Australian collection.

The photographs in this group were taken by Lingwood Smith in various locations in South and Central Australia. The photographer’s captions on four of the five prints identify the subject matter and locations. They include a group of Aboriginal prisoners in chains. The captions are as follows:

[1] Native Grave with mourning caps / Murray River

[2] En route with Native Prisoners from Central Australia to Pt. Augusta

[3] Corroberrie (sic) / Alice Springs [group of men painted for ceremony]

[4] Alice Springs [group of women painted for ceremony]

[5] [Two men in staged combat]

Lingwood Smith was listed as a police photographer under the name of ‘Smith, W.T. Lingwood’ at 140 Grote Street, Adelaide, in directories from 1891 to 1896; then as ‘Lingwood-Smith, W.T.’ at the following addresses: 1897–1903 140 Grote Street, Adelaide; 1904–12 Goodwood Road, Wayville; 1913+ Frederick Street, Parkside.’ (Noye, Dictionary of South Australian Photography, 1845-1914). This information suggests that the photographs we offer here were taken after 1897, as they were sourced with a group of Lingwood Smith’s Aboriginal portraits on which the photographer’s name was written in its later form.