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Ladies' Bath

Archibald James Campbell1903

Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria

This photograph was taken by Archibald James Campbell on a Christmas trip to to Lysterfield in 1903. It comes from an album containing 181 photographs taken during various trips throughout Australia. Most of Campbell's photographs were intended for a public audience (of natural history) however contained in his collection are many intimate moments of people in the Australian bush from the late 19th century to the 1920s. Here he reveals the level of order imposed on the bush during a camp out. A sheet and a makeshift sign provide privacy for the ladies' bathing, while other images show complex tent arrangments dividing the camp into utilitarian areas such as kitchen, dining hall and laundry.

Campbell's interest in nature was aroused in childhood at Werribee, Victoria where he lived with his grandparents until the age of 10. His first love was egg-collecting, and his general interest in birds was further inspired by the study of John Gould's works at the Public Library. He was for many years active in the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria. By 1896 his collection of eggs represented 500 species.

Campbell initiated the first of several dinners which led to the formation in 1901 of the (Royal) Australasian Ornithologists' Union; he was president in 1909 and 1928 and co-editor of its journal, The Emu, for thirteen years. Campbell published widely and was an early advocate for the protection of the Australian bush. He was also a keen photographer, having taken up courses at the Working Men's College in Melbourne, and has been acknowledged as one of the first Australians to employ photography in his fieldwork. Campbell's egg collection, along with his vast image collection, is housed at Museum Victoria.

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Details

  • Title: Ladies' Bath
  • Date Created: 1903
  • Physical Dimensions: w148 x h96 mm
  • Type: Image
  • Rights: Copyright expired: Source: Museum Victoria / Photographer: A.J. Campbell, Copyright expired: Source: Museum Victoria / Photographer: A.J. Campbell
  • External Link: Museum Victoria Collections
  • Medium: Photograph
  • Artist biography: Archibald James Campbell was born on 18 February 1853 at Fitzroy, Victoria. He was the eldest son of Archibald Campbell, who came to Australia in 1840, and his wife Catherine, née Pinkerton, both of Glasgow, Scotland. After education at a private school in Melbourne, Campbell entered the Victorian civil service in 1869 where he worked as a customs officer, retiring in 1914.His interest in nature was aroused in childhood at Werribee where he lived with his grandparents until the age of 10. His first love was egg-collecting, and his general interest in birds was further inspired by the study of John Gould's works at the Public Library.Campbell studied photography under Mr. L Hart, at the Working Men's College, Melbourne. His main aim in doing so was to illustrate his work of Natural History.He was for many years active in the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria. By 1896 his collection of eggs represented 500 species. Campbell initiated the first of several dinners which led to the formation in 1901 of the (Royal) Australasian Ornithologists' Union; he was president in 1909 and 1928 and co-editor of its journal, 'The Emu', for 13 years.In the 1890s he contributed a series of articles on Australian birds to the Australasian and in 1905 was a founder of the Bird Observers' Club. In quest of eggs and bird-lore he travelled throughout Australia, often under rough conditions. He scientifically described and named over 30 Australian birds although only a few of these names have resisted synonymy. He published papers on eggs in the Southern Science Record, the Victorian Naturalist and the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria; one was read at the International Ornithological Congress at Budapest in 1891. These papers formed the basis for his major and still useful 'Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds' (1900), in an edition of 600 copies published in both one and two volumes. His pioneer collection, made when custom divided sets of eggs for exchange rather than preserved them as full clutches, was later presented to Museum Victoria.Campbell was elected a colonial member of the British and an honorary fellow of the American ornithologists' unions. He was a keen conservationist, showing concern for disappearing species, and a pioneer bird-photographer (having photographed Lesser Noddies as early as 1889). A lover of acacias, he was founder in 1899 of the Victorian Wattle Club (later League). He helped organise spring excursions on 1 September each year into the bush surrounding Melbourne, which evolved into the first 'national' Wattle Day, celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on 1 September 1910.He was a member of the board of management of Toorak Presbyterian Church, a tenor in its choir, and an elder of Box Hill Presbyterian Church.Campbell married a teacher, Elizabeth Melrose Anderson (d.1915), at South Yarra on 11 March 1879; they had five children. By his second marriage to Blanche Ida Rose Duncan, a trained nurse, at Toorak on 27 March 1916, he had one son. He died at Box Hill on 11 September 1929 and was buried in St Kilda Cemetery.
  • Artist: Archibald James Campbell

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