First photographs of the Top End and Richard Watson's field book from the 1864-67 Escape Cliffs expedition donated to the Library

Photographs from the Escape Cliffs Expedition donated by John Bates

The Northern Territory Library has had the privilege of receiving a significant donation of some of the first photographs of the Top End along with Richard Watson’s field book from the 1864-67 Escape Cliffs expedition.

The expedition was South Australia’s first attempt to establish a European settlement in the north and the photographs were captured by Arthur Hamilton and Charles Hake. Richard Watson, a draftsman during the expedition, kept them as a memento of his time in the Northern Territory and his field book offers a glimpse into the calculations and workings of a surveyor on the expedition. The artefacts were passed down Watson’s family from generation to generation, to his great-grandson John Bates who has kindly donated the items to the Library.

We thank John for his generous donation. The items can be viewed in the Treasures Cabinet till Sunday 17 February as part of our A Territory Story Exhibition, open during Library hours.