New Guinea Album

This month we feature a sumptuous publication admired as much for its technical virtuosity as its beauty. It is a piece of photo-reportage unmatched by any other work of this time and place. The photographs all date from the 1884 expedition of the Australian Squadron, when Commodore Erskine proclaimed a British protectorate over the south coast of New Guinea. Although unattributed at the time, all the images were taken by the staff of the New South Wales Government Printing Office. The album is principally intended as a visual record, and bears testament to the importance of the Hood Lagoon in British and Australian ambitions. Through the positioning of images of the official ceremonies alongside topographical views of the surrounding areas, the photographs themselves become a true part of the narrative: and perhaps the first photographic images of the meeting between Imperial forces and Hood Bay chiefs.