Item #CL191-21 Big Ben, The Largest Tree [Victoria]. Attrib. Nicholas Caire, Australian.
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Big Ben, The Largest Tree [Victoria]

c1880. Albumen paper photograph, captioned in ink on accompanying slip from original album, 15.5 x 20.8cm. Discolouration to edges of image, laid down on original backing.

Caption continues “Victr [Victoria]. 56 feet girth, 450 [feet] high, 1200 years old.”

Held in National Museum of Australia, with the comment “‘Big Ben’ was a mountain ash living near the Black Spur Road in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, when sometime around 1880 photographer Nicholas Caire captured this image with a dry plate camera.

“Caire had built a lucrative business from depictions of the ash and fern forests of the Dandenongs and Gippsland. In his book, The Colonial Earth, environmental lawyer and cultural historian Tim Bonyhady has written about how, for more than 20 years, Caire pursued the mountain ash trees ‘with a fervour unmatched by any other colonial artist, naming them and writing evocatively about them as individuals’...[Caire] described ‘Ben’ as the ‘parent of the Black Spur forest, a splendid specimen…, with a solid trunk, without a sign of decay’...Caire believed that the trees may be among the oldest living things on earth, and were possibly taller than the redwoods of California.” Unfortunately, Big Ben did not survive the bush fires of 1902.

Item #CL191-21

Price (AUD): $1,650.00  other currencies

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