John Hunter Kerr

(Scotland, Australia 1821 – 1874)

J P Morrison

( – )

Australian native

Not on display
Further information

John Hunter Kerr was a pastoralist, collector and amateur photographer based in Victoria. Born in Edinburgh, he arrived in Melbourne in 1839, taking up land near Heidelberg. The 1840s Depression forced him to return to Scotland for two years in 1847. Back in the colony in 1849, he purchased a property on the Loddon Plains, although he was not a successful squatter. His station was close to an Aboriginal camp, to which he was a frequent visitor, eager to learn of the customs of the Murray and Loddon peoples. Kerr was a keen photographer and used the medium to make records of Aboriginal people, weapons and ceremonies, some of which were staged at Kerr’s request. His photographs of individuals depart from the ethnographic model and suggest the cultural exchanges occurring between the station-dwellers and the traditional land owners. Kerr was a collector of Aboriginal material culture and was the first to systematically display it to colonial, British and French audiences through the World’s Fairs Exhibitions. In 1872, Kerr published 'Glimpses of life in Victoria by a resident' in Edinburgh, which was illustrated with prints after his photographs.

1851-1855, printed later
albumen photograph
16.7 x 9.1 cm image; 26.7 x 19.6 cm paper backing
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 2014
Accession number