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Captain Francis de Groot
, 1932

by Harold Cazneaux

gelatin silver photograph (image/sheet: 19.0 cm x 27.0 cm)

Francis Edward de Groot (1888-1969) has gone down in Australian folklore as the horseman who charged onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the day of its opening, 19 March 1932, and cut the ceremonial ribbon with a sword in front of Premier Jack Lang and some 300 000 onlookers. De Groot, an antique dealer, was a member of Eric Campbell's New Guard, a right-wing, monarchist, anti-communist, paramilitary organisation who sought to save NSW from 'complete Sovietisation'. This photograph by Harold Cazneaux, a conspicuous and influential Sydney photographer, is backdated to refer to the sensational event. Eric Campbell contrived to borrow the horse, Mick, in Pymble from a Miss Margot Reichard, who believed de Groot was on his way to take part in the official ceremony. Later de Groot visited the Reichards' property to pose on Mick for Cazneaux.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 1999
Accession number: 1999.22