Saturday, November 28, 2009

Oyster Cove, Tasmania, photography and Bishop Nixon 1858

"The fact that Nixon saw art as a means of recording may explain why he was one of the first people in Tasmania to experiment with the newly invented camera.... About 1858 he visited Oyster Cove and made several photographs - the earliest known - of the Aboriginal community" (SLTAS website). In Island Home Country (2008) , my recent documentary film, there is a discussion around the ethics concerning the use of these photographs.

Nixon's work as a photographer is little researched. I am gathering material on his work. Please post any links you may find. Here is one I have recently located: Thomas J. Nevin, Tasmanian photographer 1842- 1923.


  1. Thanks for the link to the Thomas J. Nevin weblog at WP: we can see your activity on our stats.

  2. This recent article from Thomas Nevin may be of interest-

  3. Thanks for this link, I have just read the article - very detailed. I have also read Lydon's book (s) and Julie Gough's chapter “The First Photographs of Tasmanian Aboriginal People” in Calling the shots: Indigenous photographies edited by Jane Lydon (2014). Good that scholarship is developing around this photographic work. I think Lydon's work around repatriation is so important as is Gough's work on ethics and the Tasmanian colonial photographs (Thanks too, for the link to the digitised version of "Cruise of the Beacon").
    You may be interested in this article I have written; ‘Islands of possibility’: Film-making, cultural practice, political action and the decolonization of Tasmanian
    history, Studies in Australasian Cinema, 7:2-3, 123-136:
    Let me know if you want a copy and I will email. In the article I refer to the Oyster Cove photographs and how they have been used to signify competing paradigms of Tasmanian history: from the ‘doomed race’ thesis in the film "The Last Tasmanian", and more recently as an expression of resilience and
    community in Blackfella Films/SBS TV series "First Australians" (Episode 2). In a powerful sequence, DarleneMansell, from the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, restores dignity to her Elders as she recuperates the women in the Oyster Cove photographs back into her care.