This is my first blog so maybe I should say why I joined the crew. I’d recently finished writing a book which included a short biography of Commodore Rowley Lambert, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Australia Station from 1867 to 1870. Lambert’s flagship during those years in Sydney was HMS Challenger, the same ship that, under the command of Captain G.S. Nares and Captain F.T. Thomson, afterwards made the 3½ year survey voyage and again spent some weeks in Sydney. Gary’s idea of re-photographing that epic voyage appealed to me because I enjoy photography and am reasonably well versed in surveying and mapping. So there were several reasons for my interest in the project.

So far, all I’ve done is take a few photos to compare with those in the Sydney (Australia) 1874 album and the Australia (Unofficial pictures) c.1874 album. I’ve attempted to identify the locations and angles from which the earlier photos were taken and to replicate them as best I can. This has been relatively straightforward in some cases, less so in others. Where there are features in the original photographs – either topographic or built – that are still identifiable and in the same places as they were in 1874, re-photographing them is generally easy. Any difficulties that arise are mostly due to buildings or trees obscuring the original view, or access to the original location because it has been built over or is no longer open to the public. Such problems can usually be circumvented by varying the horizontal or vertical angles of the shot.

The items that are proving more difficult to re-photograph are those where there are no readily identifiable features, or where the features that can be seen are ambiguous. I’m working on these and, with the help of old photographs from other sources, should be able to make some headway. It would be useful if higher resolution images from the Natural History Museum collection were available but I don’t know whether or not this is possible.

Anyway, I intend to stick at it and hope to upload a few more photos before long.

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Comment by GaryMcLeod on May 27, 2011 at 7:34pm

Tony, I am VERY interested in reading more about Commodore Lambert. It would be nice to know more about Challenger pre "the" voyage.


If you need a hi-res image, I can get one for you from the museum. I have permission to use them to facilitate research, especially with very ambiguous ones. They can be full size and therefore much easier to see, but unfortunately the powers that be require I still add a watermark to them. But they will still be better than the low res ones on the ship. Just let me know which image you need and I'll do my best to get it as soon as possible.

Original Challenger Photos

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