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Saturday, 06 September 2008


Theo. Bennett

Thank you for raising this excellent topic.

There has been discussion about it at Adelaide University.

And there's further documentation held at the National Film and Sound Archives, Canberra, where more of Hurley's work is held, blessed a few years ago by his daughters.

Photographs by Hurley are also held by the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge UK, and the Royal Geographical Society London and the South Australian Museum in North Terrace.

Perhaps it was thought enough at the National Media Museum in London that we colonials might be obsequiously glad the subjects in the photograph were acknowledged essentially - as Australian...!

Or could it have been that a distinctive Hurley image might have been copyrighted?

Bob Meade

Copyright is an interesting question and I'm no expert on it. However I do know that the rules regarding what is "in" copyright and "out" of copyright vary from country to country.

I also know that many cultural institutions, including some in Australia, sometimes try to assert copyright over that to which they have no right.

For example, at the Australia War Memorial, the above image (without added barrage balloons) is here:


and clearly marked there as "Copyright expired - public domain" and as an "Australian Official Photograph"

What has been said at Adelaide University?

Brian Culross

Most unlikely the smudges in the sky of this Hurley photograph are kite balloons: they would not have been flown in a cluster like this as they would then all be observing the same area - a pointless duplication of effort. Balloons normally flew well spaced out and in a single line that (roughly) traced the line of the front-line trenches.

Brian Culross

I forgot to add - the 'balloons' actually look like dirt specks. Is this not possible?

Bob Meade

Dirt specks is a possibility. I think that we would need to know the history of the handwritten caption on the Science & Society Picture Library copy to help decide how the caption was formulated.

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