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BRITANNIA under sail on Sydney Harbour

Date: 1890s - 1930s
Medium: Emulsion on glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Bruce Stannard
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: 00002559
Place Manufactured:Sydney Harbour

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    Description
    Glass plate negative of the 18-foot skiff BRITANNIA under sail on Sydney Harbour. By William Hall.

    BRITANNIA was built at Balmain in 1918 by champion 18-foot skipper and boat builder 'Wee' Georgie Robinson. Typical of the era, BRITANNIA was built of cedar and its features include batten carvel hull construction with copper nail fastenings. In the 18 footer heyday of the 1920s and '30s, BRITANNIA was famed for its tremendous sail carrying capacity.

    By 1936, the skiff had been racing on the Harbour for over 15 years. BRITANNIA was, by this time, well established as one of the champion racing skiffs of the 18-foot class on Sydney Harbour. The skiff was quite famous, as was its skipper.
    SignificanceThe Hall collection provides an important pictorial record of recreational boating in Sydney Harbour, from the 1890s to the 1930s – from large racing and cruising yachts, to the many and varied skiffs jostling on the harbour, to the new phenomenon of motor boating in the early twentieth century . The collection also includes images of the many spectators and crowds who followed the sailing races.
    HistoryWilliam Frederick Hall, a fingerprint expert at Long Bay Gaol, set up a photographic studio in Sydney in 1890. Hall, formerly a butcher from England, became a well-known photographer whose photographic career in Sydney spanned a number of decades. William James Hall (1877 – 1951), also a photographer was his son with Caroline Asimus, who was born on 11 May 1877 in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. William James Hall joined the business and took over its operations in 1902. He established Hall & Co in 1904. Hall married Alice Rosina Hopson on 14 August 1901 in Bowral.
    Although neither the father nor the son were sailors, both developed a keen interest in sailing and sailing craft. During the late 1880 and early 1890s William Frederick Hall documented the weekend sailors and yachts of Sydney Harbour. William James Hall took over the tradition until the early 1930s capturing photographs from his motor boat. Each Monday, Hall would display photographs of weekend races on Sydney Harbour in the window of his studio at 20 Hunter Street.
    Hall also ventured into other areas of photography, and is generally considered to have pioneered the art of livestock photography in Australia at the start of the 20th Century. Hall’s company, Hall & Co were also known for their aerial, landscape, portraiture, city and rural photography. Survived by his second wife, Edith Hannah Gilkes, Hall died on 26 August 1951.
    A number of photographic studios were established by William F Hall and William J Hall. Known at different times as Hall studio, Hall & Co, W F Hall and Hall W the businesses were located variously at 7 Castlereagh Street, 39, 44 and 70 Hunter Street, 91 Phillip Street and 21 Blight Street in Sydney city from 1890 onwards.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: 18-foot skiff

    Web title: BRITANNIA under sail on Sydney Harbour

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