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John Watt Beattie: Mt Lyell mine, Queenstown « Previous | |Next »
March 21, 2012

I was at the Mt Lyell mine site yesterday and I heard that John Watt Beattie, the Tasmanian photographer, had photographed the mine in the 1890s. He was also employed by the North Mount Lyell Company to photograph between Gormanston and the Kelly Basin.

BeattieJW MtLyell.jpg John Watt Beattie, Mt. Lyell, Queenstown, Smelter Works, NLA

Beattie began working in the studio of the Anson brothers in Hobart ion 1882. By 1891 he had bought out the brothers, acquiring photographs by them and others which he was able to publish. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1890 and formed the historical and geographical section of the society in 1899. He was appointed Tasmania's official photographer in 1896, and operated a successful business in Hobart, eventually selling his collection in 1927 to the city of Launceston.

BeattieJWLyellSmelter.jpg John Watt Beattie, M Lyell Smelter, NLA

Beattie was not alone as I've since discovered that John Spurling 111 also photographed the Lyell mine and smelter in the early twentieth century.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:19 PM | | Comments (2)


Hi Gary, I set up an artist residency and worked at the Mt Lyell Mine from 1998 - 2003. I'm happy to email some pics if your interested. A lot of the work i did was stereoscopic too. Some of that work is represented in the show "Sense of Place" that Raymond Arnold curated, and that you mention in a previous post. I also have a collection of image made by Beattie during that period. Interestingly not all of Beatties collection was sold to Launceston. The Stephenson family bought Beatties Studio and ran the busines untill the early 80's. They inherited a large collection of his glass plates and I have had some prints of Mt Lyell made from them. The Stephensons have closed the business and retired, but still operate an informal museum/image library of Beattie's work.



Yes I am interested in some of the pictures you took during your residency at the Mt Lyell mine. I'll email you.

Looking through the archives of junk for code I realized that I 'd posted some of your work way back in 2004.

I recall that they--the links on the post don't work but I suspected that they refer back to the Brett Gallery in Hobart--- motivated me to come to Queenstown to have a look.

I would also like to have a look at your collection of image made by Beattie during that period if that is possible.