Early Photographs of Sydney by William Hetzer

George St, Sydney, photo by William Hetzer, 1858-1863, original held by Powerhouse Museum

The first two photographic processes were the daguerreotype (which created a positive image on a silver plate) and the calotype (which created a paper negative). Both became commercially available in 1839 but ufortunately the small population, patent restrictions and uncertainty about their permanence limited photography’s use in Australia before the 1850s. 

The daguerreotype was certainly the more successful of the two processes, and was the one adopted by Australia’s first commercial photographer, George Baron Goodman, who arrived in 1842. The calotype on the other hand found more general use among gentlemen amateurs in England when its inventor William Henry Fox-Talbot relaxed his patents to allow non-commercial use of the process. As a result the process became more viable and one of the first commercial photographers to use the process in Australia was William Hetzer.  Continue reading “Early Photographs of Sydney by William Hetzer”


AngeloTornaghi – Scientific Instrument Maker, Sydney – 1831-1906

Angelo Tornaghi, Australian Men of Mark, 1889

Angelo Tornaghi was born Milan in 1831 and arrived in Sydney in 1855 where he worked as a local agent for the London based scientific instrument firm, Negretti & Zambra. In 1858 he helped supervise the adjustment of Negretti & Zambra instruments which had been ordered for the newly completed Sydney Observatory.

By 1860 it appears Tornaghi decided to go into business importing, and making his own scientific instruments.1In November 1860 the Sydney Morning Herald advertised the movement of Mr. Gay a watch and chronometer maker from his premises in Margaret Street to a new shop at 28 Bridge Street. This it seems is the earliest record of Tornaghi’s new business as the premises was shared with Mr. Tornaghi, mathematical instrument maker.2 28 Bridge Street was also the Tornaghi’s family home for on the 9th August 1861 Mrs. Tornaghi gave birth to her baby daughter in this house.3 Continue reading “AngeloTornaghi – Scientific Instrument Maker, Sydney – 1831-1906”