Mystery Men

Portrait of a man holding a bottle

Portrait of a man holding a bottle. Reg #00013712, ANMM Collection Gift from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

Portrait of a man

Portrait of an unidentified man. Reg # 00013263

Can YOU help?

These portraits are part of the museum’s William J Hall collection, a little-known Sydney photographer whose varied portfolio includes images of sailing and harbour scenes, landscapes, and livestock and agriculture photography.

However, within this extensive collection there are also a series of striking studio portraits. A nun, a priest, babies and brides, grooms, soldiers, sailors and costumed performers are all part of the impressive line up of subjects and, unfortunately, they are all unidentified.

Group portrait of three unidentified men

Group portrait of three unidentified men. Reg# 00013308

Recently we have had some success in identifying people and places that feature in some of the museum’s photographs. The ladies who stylishly attended the foreign naval visits in Sydney Harbour in the 1930s are slowly making themselves known to us, as are the landmarks photographed by William F Hall around the Hawkesbury River in the late 1800s. Over on our Flickr page knowledgeable members of the public have been contributing to the Australian National Maritime Museum’s collection by suggesting names, locations, dates and events that relate to our photographic records. In doing so they have been adding invaluably to the wealth of information in the museum’s records. Like many museums, we are trying to make more of our collections available online, not only so we can provide information, but so we can collect it. The objects, records and photographs of museums are created by and collected for the communities around them – so who better to assist with our research?

So, can you help us solve some of these little mysteries? Do you know the man in the hat? The guy with the pipe or the masonic apron? Who’s the man with the banjo and the lady with the veil? More importantly, who was their optometrist? If you have answers, or just want to view some amazing photos, head on over to our Flickr site!

Penny Hyde

Curatorial assistant

Group portrait of three women

Group portrait of three women. Reg# 00013339

Portrait of a man holding a banjo

Portrait of a man holding a banjo. Reg# 00013213

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