Fascinating historical photos of the Mornington Peninsula are among more than 100,000 items being auctioned this week as part of the Rose Stereograph Company Collection. Described by Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers as “one of Australia’s most significant photographic collections”, the items include original glass negatives that capture some of the most iconic moments in Australia’s history: Ned Kelly’s armour taken at his 1880 trial, the Anzacs’ landing at Gallipoli in 1915, and Phar Lap winning the 1930 Melbourne Cup. “This has to be one of the most important photographic collections in Australia, if not the world,” said Lloyds’ chief operations officer, Lee Hames.
The Rose Stereograph Company was founded by George Rose in 1880, with Herbert Cutts joining him in the early 1900s. The pair formed a lifetime working partnership and strong personal friendship, and with the help of George’s two sons, Herbert George and Walter, and later Neil Cutts, the company operated for more than 140 years. Their business was initially built on stereographs – two near-identical images that were viewed through a stereoscope to produce a single three-dimensional image – but as cinema took over and stereographs fell out of fashion, the company developed Australia’s first commercially viable photographic postcard business. Specialising in postcards of historic moments and significant landmarks, the Rose Stereograph Company became a staple of the Australian travel industry.
The Cutts family are parting with the collection because, according to Lloyds, they “understand that for these historically important pieces to rest with one family is to deny others the pleasure of their custodianship. It is for this reason that they have decided to hand this privilege and responsibility to a new generation”.
Details of the auction are available on the Lloyds website.