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Durban Rickshaw Pullers and tourists

Date: c 1900
Overall: 82 x 107 mm
Medium: Silver gelatin print
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Robert D McKilliam
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS0227[098]

User Terms

    A black and white photograph showing a row of row rickshaw pullers in front of rickshaws in which eight European men and women are sitting.
    It is likely that the image was taken in Durban where rickshaw pullers in elaborate costumes became a tourist attraction from the late 1800's.
    Handwritten on the back of the image is 'Africa, possibly Durban.'

    SignificanceThis image is a part of the Captain Robert McKilliam collection. Captain McKilliam worked for the Aberdeen White Star Line for 32 years and sailed aboard such famous clipper ships as SALAMIS and THERMOPYLAE. He moved to Sydney in 1913 where he served as Assistant Wharf Master on Darling Island.
    HistoryRickshaws were initially introduced into Durban, located on the east coast of South Africa, in 1892 by a local sugar plantation owner, Sir Marshall Campbell. By 1902 there were around 24, 000 registered rickshaw pullers and the transport had become synonymous with Durban.
    Although there were very strong colonial associations with the rickshaws and the uniformed pullers, many became creative with the role and introduced their own cultural adornments such as feathers, beads, bangles and decorated headwear. One feature of head decoration was the wearing of cow horns, 'uphondo', which were used as a statement of 'equity and power' - identifying with power and strength of the bull not as a beast of burden.
    Although the popularity and accessibility waned throughout the century, there has been a push to reignite the Durban Rickshaw Pullers and they now operate in Durban and again are a synonymous with the city.
    [Gatfield, Rowan 'Walking With Dignity', 2012].
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Scene of four rickshaw-like carts in row facing camera, male figure wears three piece suit and mostache possibly Captain McKilliam

    Collection title: Durban Rickshaw Pullers and tourists

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