Experience Papua New Guinea in the 1920s: Frank Hurley photographic exhibition now on

Frank Hurley 2, courtesy Australian Museum

Two men taking a rest during the singing contest at Inauaia village, Mekeo area, Central Province, August 1921. Frank Hurley, courtesy Australian Museum

Experience the evocative images of one of the greatest Australian photographers of the 20th century, Frank Hurley, at the Female Orphan School at the University of Western Sydney’s Parramatta campus.

Frank Hurley: Journeys into Papua, a touring exhibition developed by the Australian Museum (opens in a new window), and hosted by the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney (opens in a new window), depicts an artistic legacy from a career spanning nearly 60 years.

On display are 82 framed photographs taken on two journeys to Papua in the early 1920s. The photos reflect both an Australian-controlled Papua – a place where government and missionaries exerted a strong influence in the areas they occupied – and a more traditional Papua. The culture clash between the colonial settlers and the Papuan people is clearly captured in these mesmerising images.

To add to the passage of time when the photographs were taken, 8 stunning objects collected by Frank Hurley and Allan McCulloch during expeditions in 1921-1922 are on display.

A collection from the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection are also featured in the exhibition, including:

  • Photograph at Rabaul 1914 – photograph of Wilfred Robert Dovey (Margaret Whitlam's father) taken in Papua New Guinea with other members of the native and Australian police force.
  • How Australia took German New Guinea: An illustrated Record by F S Burnell, 1914
  • Photograph at the Opening of Papua New Guinea House, Sydney on 26 July 1974
  • Memento given to the Hon Gough Whitlam QC , Prime Minister of Australia on the occasion of Papua New Guinean independence on 16 September 1975
  • Papua New Guinea Commemorative Cufflinks in Taffeta case
  • Photographs of Mr EG Whitlam QC, MP taken during his visit to Port Moresby University, Papua New Guinea on 15 January 1971
  • Photograph of talks with Michael Somare and the Australian Government

WHAT: Frank Hurley: Journeys into Papua Photographic Exhibition
WHEN: Until 26 October 2012, 10:00am – 4:00pm Monday to Friday (after hours by appointment)
WHERE: Margaret Whitlam Galleries, Female Orphan School, Parramatta South Campus Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere
COST: $5.00 per person


29 August 2012

Photo: Vaieki Igo standing among lotus flowers on Lake Murray, Western Province, November 1922.

Frank Hurley, courtesy Australian Museum

Contact: Kristy Gleeson, Media Officer