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Artesian Bores in Queensland

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3085K

Scope and Contents

Collection of thirty-nine loose photographs of various sizes, depicting artesian bores under construction or in operation, with a few general photographs of farming in Queensland, probably photographed by Charles Kerry. All either with captions on prints, or with pencilled captions on reverse. The captions have been recorded as found and may include language which is offensive, inaccurate or inappropriate. They have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. All prints are also stamped on the reverse with 'Water Supply Department, Queensland, 5 Dec. 94', presented by Sir Thomas McIlwraith 25.2.95.' Sir Thomas McIlwraith (1835-1900) was Minister of Public Works in Queensland for the period 1874-1879, and Premier of Queensland three times between 1878 and 1893.

Discovery of the potential of the Great Artesian Basin, extending over an area of 670,000 square miles southwards from the Gulf of Carpentaria, and falling largely in Queensland, formed the base of that State's great grazing and wool-farming prosperity - a source of irrigation that allowed the spread of sheep and cattle farming into an area of notoriously capricious extremes of flood and drought; it was in fact the great drought of 1885 which stimulated the demand for a survey into the possibilities of a large scale harnessing of artesian water. The first deep bore was started at Blackall in 1885, although Thurrulgoonia bore was flowing before Blackall was completed. By 1899 there were 505 successful bores on stream, producing 224,000,000 gallons of water a day.


  • Creation: 1894

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Charles Kerry was born on Bobundra Station near Bombala in 1858. At seventeen he bought a partnership in the studio of Le Martinere at 308 George Street, and by 1898 he had the largest photographic establishment in Australia - a three floor building at 310 George Street, Sydney.


39 item(s) (39 images)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Photographs are in good or fair condition unless specified otherwise.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Australasia, fiche number 21.


This item level description was entered by NE and MJC using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Kerry, Charles, 1858-1928, photographer

Includes index.
2006-08-02 16:24:38+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom