Searching for links to the past

The year was 1901, the date October 10, and a family gather together to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of an elderly couple, seated in the centre.

This image is one of a collection of glass photo negatives uncovered recently, and is shrouded in mystery.

Doug and Daphne Hjort were given the negatives in the last 12 months and have found it very difficult to track down descendants of the subjects.

The family believe the photos were taken by Augustus, or Gus, Jones between 1890 and 1912.

“The reason we know that is he died in 1912 and he was only 42,” Mr Hjort said.

The couple is hoping to track down some of the people in the photographs, which include several family and individual portraits.

“There are a few people in town that may know,” Mr Hjort said. “They are photos of people around the Gunning, Ladevale and Jerrawa area.”

He said the wedding anniversary image was almost unique in 1901, as those in the photo would have been first and second generation pioneers.

Other shots include a cricketer, a man playing chess, someone with a bike and many stony-faced people staring down the barrel of the lens.

“There are photos of people in railway uniforms… people on the platform talking to their supervisor,” Mr Hjort said.

The negatives had been hiding in a shed in Gunning for 20-odd years when the owner Sid Hillier dusted them off and delivered them to Mrs Hjort, the photographer’s descendant.

Photographer based in Jerrawa, Ray McJannett, cleaned up the negatives for the family. He said the plates had never been printed.

Mr and Mrs Hjort would love to find out who is in the photographs. If you think you know anyone in the photos get in touch with the couple or call the Tribune on 6226 1622.

More of the photographs can be seen here.

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