Views of Turner’s homestead, clearing the land and planting lemon trees near Renmark, South Australia, 1892-93.
Three silver albumen print photographs (160 x 110 / 160 x 110 / 90 x 135 mm), laid down on individual sections cut from the pages of a disbound nineteenth century album, with undidentified photographer’s manuscript captions beneath each image: ‘Camp, Renmark. Sept. 92 (after clearing)’; ‘Block at Renmark shewing young lemons, Oct. 92’; ‘Turner’s. Renmark. Jan 7 / 93′; in good condition with some minor scattered foxing and a few light marks.
Renmark, which lies on the Murray River in the so-called Riverland district of South Australia, is today famous for its fruit orchards and vineyards, yet it was not until 1887, with the establishment of the Chaffey brothers’ irrigation system – the first of its kind in Australia – that the first European settlement at Renmark began to develop. The Chaffeys built a series of open drains using water from the Murray which enabled orchards to be planted in the area. The town of Renmark was not proclaimed until considerably later, in 1904.
These three anonymous views provide very early visual documentation of the first phase of agricultural development in the Renmark area.
The State Library of South Australia holds a photograph of Turner’s orchard at Renmark (Godson Collection, 252A/5A – probably incorrectly dated to 1920, as it appears to have been taken not much later than the three photographs we offer here).