Giant Glass Plate Negatives of Sydney Harbour

Documentary heritage submitted by Australia and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2017.

Three giant glass plate negatives – measuring 1.35 x 0.94 metres (53” x 37”) – are understood to be the world’s largest 19th century wet-process negatives. These images record the view of Sydney Harbour in 1875, documenting the future site of the world heritage-listed Sydney Opera House. Bernhardt Holtermann was determined to promote his adopted home to the world through photography. With Charles Bayliss they designed a 23 metre (87 foot) high purpose-built tower, turning the 3 metre-square (10 foot) room at the top into a giant camera. There, they created a series of colossal wet-process negatives capturing one of the world’s greatest harbours in photographs bigger than had been ever thought possible, and toured them across the globe.

  • Year of submission: 2016
  • Year of inscription: 2017
  • Country: Australia
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