SOB and sob again . This was the recent tantalising email sent to this blog from the Cairns Library three day book sale which Little Darwin failed to attend because the office jet was in for a grease and oil change . There must have been untold treasures hidden there ; one of our miserable runners only bought 15 volumes .
An auction to turn you green with envy was the sale of the Denis Joachim Collection of Australian colonial books, fine art, prints and photographs conducted by Mossgreen , Melbourne.
|High flying shoes|
Glancing through the fabulous catalogue , certain items stood out : photographs taken by Douglas Stuart Wylie of the 1926 Aerial Expedition to Northern Australia including Camooweal, Wyndham, Brunette Downs , Newcastle Waters ,Wave Hill, Cloncurry , Hermannsburg Mission ,Pine Creek and Melville Island ; early views of South Australia by Captain Samuel Sweet , involved in the building of the Overland Telegraph Line from Adelaide to Darwin , spent time at the Roper River in the Northern Territory where supplies were brought for the project ; items relating to Amy Johnson who made a solo flight from England to Darwin in 1930 and endorsed shoes here , including her fur lined leather helmet , a signed postcard and a presentation album from the NSW Masonic Club to her , estimated to bring $8000-$15,000 ; a rare souvenir of the first Australian naval engagement of the first world war in which the Sydney sank the German cruiser Emden ; circa 1890 albumen prints by Charles Henry Kerry of Tonga, Treasury Island , Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia and Tokelau ; a complete set of Dampier's voyages , $10,000-$15,000.; numerous early Aboriginal photographs and paintings of their way of life ; New Zealand and its Maoris .
TIMES HAVE CHANGED IN DARWIN
Because of our interest in the Northern Territory , Magnetic Island researcher Gary Davies passed to us his copy of The Photographs of Baldwin Spencer, appointed biologist and photographer for the Horn Expedition, the first scientific expedition to Central Australia, who in 1901 , with Frank Gillen, went from Oodnadatta in South Australia to Borroloola in the NT , taking 500 glass plate photographs and 3000 feet of moving film and recordings of Aboriginal songs .
The superb collection includes a chapter by Nicolas Peterson showing how Spencer's photographic imagery had influenced Australian advertising to promote tourism , theatre . It specifically mentions a photograph of a man wearing a high, curved emu totem head dress .
A recent Little Darwin acquisition , north of Cairns , was a circa 1950s prospectus for the Art Training Institute which included the above work by German poster artist Gert Sellheim for The Australian National Travel Association , inspired by the Spencer photograph .
The Spencer book contains a circa 1912 view of Aboriginal fringe dwellers in Darwin beach shacks , one bearing the name NED (Kelly ? ) painted on it , which appears to be in an area now close to where Chinese interests plan to build a luxury hotel with a room for high rollers on top .