Kerry Collection


Cane Punts. Broadwater, Richmond. Photographer: Kerry & Co. HP83.60.2385

Over 3,000 glass plate negatives from Charles Kerry’s photographic studio. Mainly views of Sydney and country NSW towns taken for postcards; also portraits of soldiers, and personal photographs attributed to Charles Kerry.

Known as Kerry and Co, the studio was one of the largest in Sydney operating from 1890 until 1917. Charles Kerry himself left the business in 1912.

The negatives are mainly part of a library of images taken for use in the production of postcards. Kerry and Co was one of the largest producers of postcards from 1903 until the studio closed.

This collection comprises:

  • over 2,500 negatives of views of NSW towns – main streets, churches, schools, banks, town halls, rural industries. Nearly 200 country towns and Sydney suburbs are the subject of these negatives.
  • approx 240 ‘greeting card’ negatives, framing the town view within the postcard greeting frame.
  • approx 130 quarter plate negatives which have no identification, and which appear to be the personal photographs of Charles Kerry – they cover trips to the Snowy mountains, travels in Asia and family photographs.
  • approx 130 studio portraits of World War 1 soldiers, often with names scratched into the negative emulsion.

Charles Henry Kerry (1857-1928) was born in Bombala NSW. In 1874 he joined A. Lemartinière’s studio, becoming a partner around 1883. Soon after, Lemartinière absconded with the capital, leaving Kerry to carry on the business alone. In the mid-1880s Kerry set up a new partnership with C.D Jones, until around 1890, when Jones departed, and Kerry set up his own studio as Kerry and Co. In 1898 he opened one of largest commercial studio buildings at 310 George Street Sydney. Kerry pioneered snow sports at Kiandra, and led a party to the summit of Mt Kosciusko in the winter of 1896. He retired from the company in 1913 to follow his business and mining interests.
Another large collection of Kerry studio negatives is held at the Powerhouse Museum. It is part of the Tyrrell collection: James Tyrrell acquired the negatives possibly in the late 1920s.

Macleay Museum: HP83.60


Keast Burke, ‘Kerry, Charles Henry (1857-1928), Australian Dictionary of Biography
Jack Cato, The Story of the Camera in Australia, pp. 65-69