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ANMM Collection reproduced courtesy Leigh Purcell

Lands Department building in Sydney with SS CANBERRA and TSMV BULOLO in background

Date: 1960s
Dimensions:
Overall: 163 x 118 mm
Medium: Film based negative
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Leigh Purcell
Object Copyright: ©Leigh Purcell
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Negative
Object No: ANMS1404[048]
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge,

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    Description
    This photograph depicts a night time view of The Lands Department building clock tower and other buildings around Circular Quay in Sydney. The SS CANBERRA (left), TSMV BULOLO (right) and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are visible in the background. Various building signage and advertisements such as AMP and Fly TAA can also be seen in the image.
    SignificanceThese photographic negatives were taken by Australian commercial photographer Gervaise Purcell from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. They represent his work for clients such as swimwear manufacturer Jantzen, as well as retail giants David Jones and Hordern Brothers, cruise ship operators the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), radio technology manufacturer Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) and tourism operator Ansett Airways. Many of the images were taken with a Graflex Crown Graphic camera in the 1950s.
    HistoryGervaise Churchill Purcell was born on 2 November 1919 of McMahons Point in Sydney and became interested in photography from the age of about 12 while attending North Sydney Boy's High School where he took photographs for the school magazine.

    During the 1930s, Gervaise’s passion for photography was nurtured by his uncle and amateur photographer Theo Purcell, who encouraged the teenager to use his darkroom. Gaining employment at the Sydney office of John Lee from Studio Sun of London, England in 1938, he was recruited for his ability to print both black and white photographs as well as colour.

    In 1940, Gervaise enlisted in the Militia or Citizen Military Forces at North Sydney, more recently known as the Australian Army Reserve. Within a year he was seconded by the army to work in Canberra under a Professor William Dakin, Director of the Defence Central Camouflage Committee. In Canberra Gervaise join an elite group of famous artists and photographers, Sydney Ure Smith, Max Dupain and Frank Hinder researching and experiment with various camouflage methods.

    In 1943, Gervaise was transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force bases in Townsville, Queensland, Darwin and the Northern Territory. In the same year, The Canberra Times featured articles on his first solo exhibition which he had initiated to raise money for the Prisoners-of-War Fund featuring colour prints of land and seascapes and portraits of animals and children. After the war, Gervaise was recruited by Monte Luke before he decided to set up his own studio in 1952 in Underwood Street, Sydney.

    From the late 1940s, Gervaise focused his career on fashion photography often his photographs would appear in publications such as the 'Australian Women’s Weekly'. Gervaise also worked on other commissions involving maritime links to the swimwear manufacturer, Jantzen and the cruise ship operators, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). He also worked for retailing giants David Jones and Hordern Brothers, radio technology manufacturer Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) and tourism operator Ansett Airways.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Lands Department building in Sydney with SS CANBERRA and TSMV BULOLO in background

    Assigned title: Photographic negative showing the Lands Department building clock tower with ships CANBERRA and BULOLO in background, Circular Quay

    Collection title: Gervaise Purcell photographic collection

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