Archive in the Spotlight

Archive in the Spotlight is an initiative where one of the team investigates a lantern slide series held in a public or personal collection around Australia. This process involves research into the series and, on occasion, an interview with a curator, librarian, or private custodian.

Conjuring Canberra forth: one magic lantern show at a time

Shane Breynard, Director at Canberra Museum and Gallery, and a commencing ANU doctoral candidate in History, recently viewed an important collection of 453 magic lantern slides held in the National Library of Australia. An extensive and compelling photographic archive created by William James (Jack) Mildenhall between 1921 and 1935 records the early development and community of the national capital. The archive is made up of over 7700 black and white glass plate negatives and is held at the National Archives of Australia.1 Smaller selections of images from this archive can be found in at...

» read more

Tasmanian heritage, global trade and Old World nostalgia at Narryna House, Hobart

Narryna sits on the headland that overlooks the Salamanca Place and the Derwent, which was Hobart’s Harbour. Built in 1835-40, it was initially the home of the merchant trader, Captain Andrew Haig who established the warehouses on the docks. Haig was a charismatic entrepreneur. His personal narrative tracked through the channels of the Chinese export trade from Calcutta to Canton, to Hobart and onto Chile, before he came to Hobart. His circuitous route to Tasmania, and his temporary settlement there, highlights just how interconnected Australia’s southern-most colony was to global networks of...

» read more

‘Tasmania’s Wonderful West’, the photographic slide show and environmental activism at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston

QVMAG collection is internationally significant for another reason: it documents a long continuity of vibrant and politically important lecturing and audio-visual projection practice about Australia’s environment. Going back to the nineteenth century, Tasmania, with its extensive wilderness areas and its history of political fights over the conservation of those areas, has been the prime generator not only of Australia’s tradition of nation-defining landscape photography, but also of Australia’s nationwide green consciousness.

» read more

Whole Histories at St Clements, NSW

For many years Cheryl Mongan has been closely involved, along with the other St Clement’s Historians Drs Richard Reid, Jeff Brownrigg and Geoffrey Burkhardt, in preserving the cultural heritage of St Clement’s. As the fascinating museum which Cheryl helped create at the Retreat reveals, St Clement’s began as the property of the Irish squatter Edward ‘Ned’ Ryan. Ned had been transported from Ireland for political rebellion in 1816, receiving his Certificate of Freedom 1830 which is displayed in the museum. His son John Nagle Ryan became a Member of Parliament, and on his death, with no issue,...

» read more

Evidence of an exasperated projectionist found at Kyogle!

It was a pleasure to visit Stuart Everett’s 'Fairymount Flicks Cinema Museum', which is situated at the Kyogle Cinemas in Northern New South Wales. Unfortunately Stuart Everett passed away in 2015, but the flame is kept burning brightly by his son, Peter Everett, who along with his brother, Bruce, and sister, Helen, maintains the museum’s collection. Besides being a cattle breeder, surfer, sailor and motor sport champion, Stuart Everett was also a cinema enthusiast and a collector of early cinema technology, particularly projectors. In 1999 he opened his own cinemas at Kyogle, and a year...

» read more

The power of the ‘miscellaneous’ and the skies of Queensland

Lead CI Martyn Jolly recently visited the State Library of Queensland to explore their lantern slide collection with Collection Building Librarian Reuben Hillier, conservator Kelly Leahey, and Senior Conservator Rachel Spano. Like many libraries, the SLQ has a wide range of lantern slides awaiting further research, many of which have entered the collection as part of larger acquisitions of diverse manuscript material from families or organisations. Sets that are already available for viewing online include a set of slides documenting Brisbane in the mid 1890s from the Bartlett Family; a small...

» read more

Minstrels, magic lanterns and magicians: the rise and dispersion of American Vaudeville

Research Fellow, Dr Elisa deCourcy recently spent a few weeks at the Harry Ransom Center, a world-class archive of European and American visual and literary culture at the University of Texas, Austin. The Center is currently showing a landmark exhibition about the rise, character and metamorphosis of Vaudeville on the American entertaining landscape. The exhibition draws from 32 different collections across the Ransom Archive. Lead curator, Dr Eric Colleary generously set aside an afternoon to explain the logic of the exhibition and to swap notes about the magic lantern’s place in Vaudeville...

» read more

The ‘acts of courtesy’ shown to a missionary couple at Hermannsburg and Kunmanya missions, recorded in lantern slides

The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre has just received a gift of over a hundred and fifty magic lantern slides and 35mm transparencies. The slides were made by the anthropologist and Presbyterian missionary H. R. (Harry) Balfour (1875-1962) and his wife Katie. Lead CI Martyn Jolly, along with Bronwyn Coupe from the Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, visited Professors Lynette Russell and Ian McNiven at the Centre to look at the slides, which are still in their original boxes. Together, we discovered that the slides were made in Central Australia near Hermannsburg, the...

» read more

A magic lantern trove: Toverlantaarn Museum

Recently, Lead CI Martyn Jolly and colleague David Wills had the rare privilege of visiting Toverlantaarnmuseum Scheveningen in The Hague, owned and operated by Mr Henk Boelmans Kranenburg. To say the Mr Kranenburg’s house is crammed with magic lantern material is an understatement. The ground floor features a magic lantern theatre complete with two triunial lanterns, every horizontal surface is covered with magic lanterns, and every inch of the wall is covered with framed prints relating to magic lantern culture. Hundreds of mechanical slides, and work bench, are house behind the projection...

» read more

Vital data for the Future at the Historic Environment Image Resource Centre, Oxford

It was a great pleasure for Lead CI Martyn Jolly to visit the Historic Environment Image Resource (HEIR) in the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology. The HEIR team (pronounced as in ‘heir to the throne’), Senior Research Fellow Dr Sally Crawford, Institute Archivist Dr Katharina Umschneider, and researcher Dr Janice Kinory, took Martyn through their amazing collection of lantern slides and their on-line database. HEIR is the repository for no-longer-needed magic lantern slides, glass plate negatives, and 35mm slides from across Oxford, donated by places...

» read more

Pages

Updated:  17 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications