Tweed’s pioneer days in fo­cus

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - TALK­ING HIS­TORY TWEED RE­GIONAL MU­SEUM Next week in Part 2 of the se­ries, we will fea­ture the work of Dou­glas Solomons.

WEL­COME to the first edi­tion of our new Look­ing

Back col­umn: a col­lab­o­ra­tion of work be­tween the Tweed Re­gional Mu­seum and the Tweed Daily News cel­e­brat­ing the vi­brant his­tory of the shire. This col­umn, con­trib­uted by staff of the Mu­seum, will share some gems from their rich col­lec­tion. Fu­ture col­umns will also pro­file re­search un­der­taken by lo­cal His­tor­i­cal So­ci­eties. To­day we be­gin the first in a four-part se­ries on early Tweed pho­tog­ra­phers.

Part 1:

THE Tweed Re­gional Mu­seum col­lec­tion in­cludes many im­ages from the first decades of the 20th cen­tury which doc­u­ment life in the Tweed. In the case of four pho­tog­ra­phers who worked lo­cally, they prove the tru­ism that a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words.

FP Hobbs, Dou­glas Solomons, An­gus Mc­neil and WJ Han­nah left a legacy of high qual­ity pho­to­graphs de­pict­ing early town­ships and vil­lages, lo­cal iden­ti­ties and events, and land­scapes.

Their work has left us with rare and pre­cious glimpses of life in the Tweed some 100 years ago.

Over the next few weeks, be­gin­ning with the work of FP Hobbs, we will pro­file these early pho­tog­ra­phers and share ex­am­ples of their work. ■ Fred­er­ick Pe­den (FP) Hobbs took some of the ear­li­est known pho­to­graphs of the Tweed Dis­trict. Hobbs’ busi­ness in Main St, Mur­willum­bah, was called Joy­land and as well as pho­to­graphic items, it stocked books, sta­tionery, toys and gifts. Hobbs called him­self the ‘Ring­mas­ter of Joy­land’.

Although he worked as a photographer for less than 10 years, Hobbs was renowned for his scenic im­ages of the sur­round­ing re­gion. His obit­u­ary in 1946 claimed: ‘His moun­tain and cloud stud­ies of the Tweed have rarely been equalled’.

In these two im­ages from the Mu­seum col­lec­tion, his love of the dis­trict can clearly be seen. Just prior to WWI, Hobbs or­gan­ised for the print­ing of scenic sou­venir book­lets with pho­to­graphs from his col­lec­tion, as well as de­scrip­tive ar­ti­cles that would at­tract both vis­i­tors and new set­tlers. Due to the out­break of war, his plan was never re­alised. His im­age, Sun­set Mur­willum­bah (be­low), il­lus­trates his ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with light and mood and shows why he was es­pe­cially re­mem­bered for cloud stud­ies.

Hobbs most likely set up his cam­era on the Mur­willum­bah Bridge to take this im­age of the Tweed’s first but­ter fac­tory in Com­mer­cial Road and the at­mo­spheric scene be­hind it.

In 1914, Hobbs con­vened a meet­ing to form the ‘Tweed Ama­teur Cam­era Club’ so that or­di­nary cit­i­zens could ex­plore photography as a hobby.

His im­age, Mur­willum­bah

No. 1, c1910 (left), gives us valu­able in­for­ma­tion on the town­ship of Mur­willum­bah. We can see the first Mur­willum­bah Bridge, built in 1901, and the small build­ing just to the left of the en­trance to the bridge, which was the first fire sta­tion. The large, L-shaped build­ing at cen­tre right is the Mur­willum­bah Ho­tel. It is also in­ter­est­ing to note the num­ber of build­ings in South Mur­willum­bah – this was a bustling busi­ness dis­trict at the time.

In 1917, Hobbs sold his busi­ness but re­mained in the area as a fruit grower, where he in­spired oth­ers in his at­tempts to grow new va­ri­eties of fruits and nuts.

PHOTOS: TWEED RE­GIONAL MU­SEUM

FAS­CI­NAT­ING: An early im­age of Mur­willum­bah (c1910) taken by FP Hobbs, who took some of the ear­li­est known pho­to­graphs of the Tweed Dis­trict.

SUN­SET MUR­WILLUM­BAH: This photo shows why Hobbs was renowned for his scenic shots of the re­gion.

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