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J.W. Beattie

1859 – 1930

John Beattie (1859-1930) came to Tasmania from Scotland at the age of nineteen, in 1878. Within a year, he was using the brand-new dry-plate photographic technique to take a series of views of Lake St Clair. He joined the Anson Brothers studio, and worked with the three siblings until he bought them out in 1891. In the 1890s he established a museum of curiosities he had collected. The first of the island's wilderness photographers - with a keen interest in preservation of the environment - Beattie became the 'official' photographer for the Tasmanian Government. In addition to his well-known series of photographs of convicts, he made a number of portraits of Aboriginal people, of whom he said 'for about thirty years this ancient people held their ground bravely against the invaders of their beautiful domain.'

Updated 2018