This is an image from the Holtermann Collection in the State Library of New South Wales. The man in the picture is John Longmore, who was born in Dufftown, Scotland in 1836. He married in 1853 and came to Australia with his wife and two young daughters in 1860. After time spent in Kiama and Katoomba, the Longmore family eventually settled in Hill End about ten years later. At that time Hill End, which is in central New South Wales, was a thriving gold-rush settlement.
The photographs in the Holtermann Collection were commissioned by Bernard Holtermann, who struck fame and even more fortune in October 1872 with the unearthing of a huge chunk (specimen) of quartz and gold. This picture would have been taken in 1872. The photographer was Beaufoy Merlin. (see http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/AS10338b.htm)
John Longmore was my great-great-grandfather and is buried in the Hill End and Tambaroora Cemetery. He died in November 1905, just short of his 70th birthday.
A number of years ago I became interested in the idea of putting together a family history booklet. And being a keen photographer I wanted to put some Hill End images into this project. It was going to be a very limited edition – probably one hundred copies or so – but in order to cover the costs of production, I wanted to have a cover price of about ten dollars.
Hill End today is an Historic Site that is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). And knowing that the NPWS then had a barking mad policy of charging small-scale photographers for doing editorial work in national parks, I rang up their Commercial Permits officer to find out what their policy would be on family history projects such as this.
And I was told that if there was going to be a cover price on the family history booklet – which made it a commercial venture, of course – that I would have to get a permit from the NPWS and pay them a substantial fee, plus give them a security deposit and then have public indemnity insurance as well. In fact I was even told by this person that I would need to get a permit from the NPWS if I wanted to take a photograph of my great-great-grandfather’s grave and use it for “commercial purposes”.
Sadly, I still haven’t put this family history together yet (where are you Carolyn Longmore?) but as a display of ludicrous public servant thinking, I thought that the attitude of this National Parks and Wildlife Service officer just couldn’t be beat.
P.S. Actually what is probably most absurd about this situation is the fact that if the anti-photographer policies of the NPWS and various local government bodies had existed in the 1870s then the remarkable body of work that is the Holtermann Collection may never have been created. And we would all have been the poorer for that.