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Henry Chamberlain Russell and family at Sydney Observatory, c.1895

Charles Bayliss

albumen silver photograph (support: 39.0 cm x 47.6 cm, image/sheet: 29.5 cm x 38.3 cm)

Henry Chamberlain Russell CMG (1836–1907) (third from left), was one of nineteenth-century Sydney’s leading men of science. He started work at the Sydney Observatory after completing a degree at the University of Sydney in 1859 and by 1870 he was government astronomer. Extraordinarily active in his field, he photographed astronomical events, designed instruments for the Observatory, increased the number of weather stations and observers, and developed an international network of scientific contacts. From early 1877 he released a daily weather map; this may or may not have been the cause of an assassination attempt on him that year. A pioneer of limnology (the study of inland waters) and a keen natural historian, Russell remeasured existing calculations and found 500 new double stars; published numerous texts; helped establish technical education in New South Wales; and was the first University of Sydney graduate to be elected to the Royal Society. He also served as the university’s vice chancellor. His daughter, Jane Foss Russell (1863–1937) (right), was the second woman to gain a master’s degree from the University of Sydney, the only woman on its teaching staff in the 1890s, and a founder of the Women’s College.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Joanna Russell Maher (née Windeyer) 2018

Accession number: 2018.12

Currently on display: Gallery Four (Liangis Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Charles Bayliss (age 45 in 1895)

Henry Chamberlain Russell CMG (age 59 in 1895)

Donated by

Mrs Joanna Maher (3 portraits)

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