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Ghost net art: Great interest in Frank Hurley's photos of Darnley Island

By: Ms Rebecca Fisher, Category: Science, Date: 28 May 2013

News of the Hurley photos spread like wildfire through Darnley...

Medige village Darnley Island in 1920-21 #1

Frank Hurley © Australian Museum

On our first afternoon on Darnley Island we had afternoon tea with Elders and artists. I was able to show them our collection of around 50 photos that were taken by Frank Hurley on Darnley Island during his visit to the Torres Strait in late 1920, early 1921.

The interest generated from the photos was amazing, and had people talking for the length of our stay. They told me what the photos were of and which village they were taken in, and in one case, could even name a person in one of the photos. It was also interesting to discover that some photos weren’t of Darnley Island at all. We gave copies of the photos to the Elders and the art centre, so hopefully people will be able to give us even more information down the track.

During my walks to and from the art centre each day to our accommodation in Seim village, I took numerous photos of the scenes captured in Hurley’s photos. It was amazing to see the difference that nearly 100 years has made to the landscape. Here are some before and after shots...