An Edwardian Summer, a new book and an exhibition at the Museum of Sydney showcases for the first time an extraordinary collection of photographs that capture Sydney at the turn of the century at one of the most rapidly changing times in Australia’s history.
A talented amateur photographer, lawyer and Sydney identity Arthur Wigram Allen was fascinated by the social and technological changes that occurred during his lifetime, 1862–1941. Allen created 51 albums now held by the State Library of NSW.
In 1885 after the sudden death of hisfather and uncleand at the age of just 23, Allen was thrust into the role of heading up the family law firm founded by his grandfather George Allen, known internationally today as Allens Arthur Robinson. WhileAllen’s photographs span 1890 to 1934, the book and exhibition concentrate on the Edwardian years, 1890s–1915, a brief often-overlooked but important period in Australia’s history that heralded a new century of significant inventions and social changes, including powered flight, the rise of the motorcar and a new federated Australia.
Through Allen’s lens, we seethe first mixed bathing on Sydney beaches, sporting events, pageants and processions, dramatic shipwrecks, the latest fashions as well as intimate family events such as motoring and harbour excursions and bush picnics. Meticulously captioned by Allen, his exquisitely personal and beautiful photographs capture a time of optimism and new ideas as Sydney emerged from the strict moral codes of the Victorian era.
(From the Press release)
An Edwardian Summer, Judith Ainge, Alan Davies, Howard Tanner, Caroline Mackaness. Publisher: Historic Houses Trust of NSW. Distributed nationally by Thames & Hudson, $49.95
Until April 25
Museum of Sydney
cnr Bridge & Phillip Streets