Frank Hurley in Papua

By Australian Museum

Australian Museum

'It seems incredible that within a few hundred miles of
Australian shores we dwell on the outskirts of the unknown – we are as ignorant
of this enchanting and productive country as fools.' Frank Hurley, 23 April 1921

Motu woman making pots at Hanuabada village, Port Moresby, National Capital District, 1921 (1921) by Frank HurleyAustralian Museum

Frank Hurley Collection

Frank Hurley is among the greatest Australian photographers of the twentieth century. Invited to photograph the activities of Anglican missions in Papua in the early 1920s, Hurley saw an opportunity to photograph and film what he viewed as an exotic and savage land – and advance an already successful career.

Hula village East of Port Moresby, Central Province, June 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Man chewing betel nut, Eroro village, Oro Bay, Oro Province, April 1921 (1921) by Frank HurleyAustralian Museum

A western and traditional reflection.

Hurley’s 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. These images, together with his diaries, artefacts and film, form a significant archive of Papua’s history. 

Woman of Fane village, Central Province, July 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Masked dancers in front of the men's longhouse at Tovei village, Urama Island, Gulf Province, 26 June 1921., Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Man working on a fish net Komabun village, Collingwood Bay, Oro Province, May 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Two men taking a rest during the singing contest at Inauaia village, Mekeo area, Central Province, August 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Woman wearing shell wealth items, Kaimare village, Gulf Province, October 1922, Frank Hurley, 1922, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Presentation of a pig to the expedition's seaplane at Kaimare village, Gulf Province, October 1922, Frank Hurley, 1922, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Man chewing betel nut, Eroro village, Oro Bay, Oro Province, April 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Allan McCulloch and a Dukoif man on board the Eureka, Lake Murray, Western Province, 23 November 1922, Frank Hurley, 1922, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Roman Catholic Mission Station at Dilava Village, Central Province, July 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Masked dancers at Kinomere village, Urama Island, Gulf Province, January 1923, Frank Hurley, 1923, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Allan McCulloch operating the two-way radio on the Eureka during the journey up the Fly River to Lake Murray Western Province, November 1922 (1922) by Frank HurleyAustralian Museum

Children with model sailing canoes on Mailu Island, Amazon Bay, Central Province, June 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Family group on a house veranda, Urama Island, Gulf Province, January 1923, Frank Hurley, 1923, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Group of women at Ononge village, Central Province, July 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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A Gogodala man looking out of the doorway of Totani longhouse, Aramia River, a Western Province, December 1922, Frank Hurley, 1922, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Gogodala men on the Aramia River, Western Province, December 1922, Frank Hurley, 1922, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Man of Kerewa Village re-grinding a stone adze blade, Goaribari Island, Gulf Province, January 1923, Frank Hurley, 1923, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Man of Wamira village, Milne Bay Province, May 1921, Frank Hurley, 1921, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Woman carrying her baby in a string bag, Ambasi village, Oro Province, April 1921, Frank Hurley, From the collection of: Australian Museum
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Credits: Story

An exhibition produced by the Australian Museum.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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