BARDWELL, William, photographer (attributed); NIVEN, F.W., lithographer
Surface Works at No.6 & No.7 Shafts. Band of Hope & Albion Consols, Ballaarat.
Registered 8th March 1868. Interior of Battery House at No. 7 Shaft. Circa 1880. Albumen print photograph of a contemporary lithographic print by F.W. Niven, 250 x 350 mm, laid down on its original album leaf of thick card, 'F.W. Niven' inscribed within the lithographed image at upper right, no photographer's imprint (but a larger format print is attested with the blind stamp of William Bardwell, Ballarat), with exterior and interior views of the mine and two cartouches with printed statistical information, one with a date of September 10th 1880, the print trimmed very slightly at each edge, a small bend at upper left corner, otherwise a strong print in very good condition.
Originally formed in 1858, the Band of Hope gold mining company was the Colony's most ambitious and ultimately most successful. Although its first shaft was not completed until early in 1866, it soon began to yield vast quantities of gold, and ten further shafts were eventually completed. In 1868 the company re-formed as a joint stock company, known as the Band of Hope and Albion Consols. The present photograph of a lithograph by the local printing firm of F.W. Niven would have been sold commercially during the early 1880s, celebrating the mine as Ballarat's most important landmark and also as a marvel of late nineteenth century engineering. By the time of its closure in 1908, the Band of Hope and Albion Consols had produced a staggering total yield of 22.5 tons of gold.
F.W. Niven and William Bardwell had joined forces to produce another commercial souvenir of the mine in 1872. This featured a Bardwell albumen print photograph of the mine exterior laid down on a large format decorative colour lithograph card mount produced by F.W. Niven. A copy is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia (accession no. NGA 84.40 NGA IRN: 34386). However, we can locate no other copy of the present albumen print nor of Niven's original lithograph in Australian collections.