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Photographers who captured the images in this collection were explorers, missionaries, residents, members of colonial administrations, tourists, ethonographers and Australian Museum employees. The majority of the images were taken in Papua New Guinea, with smaller numbers from Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
Significant early collections include the George Brown Pacific Island Photographs, the WL Waterhouse Fijian Photographs, and the Papua New Guinea photograph collections of Frank Hurley, Percy Money, Richard Prosser Walshe and Charles Marshall.
Later photographs were taken by researchers associated with the Australian Museum. Examples include the fieldwork collections of Anthropology staff members Jim Specht, Lyn Hosking, Doug Miles and Kirk Huffman.