Mr J. W. Beattie

John Watt Beattie (1859 - 1930). John Watt Beattie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1859, the son of a wet-plate photographer who owned a successful portrait studio. The family left for Tasmania in 1879 after a rift with their local church, purchasing a property in the Derwent Valley. Beattie began to develop his photography skills, holding his first exhibition in Lake St. Clair in the Tasmanian Highlands. He soon entered into a full-time professional partnership with Anson Brothers photography studio, buying them out in 1892. Beattie’s photographs of the Tasmanian bush led to much critical acclaim and commercial success, and in 1896 he was appointed the colony’s official photographer. In 1906 Beattie was invited by the Bishop of Melanesia to undertake a five month tour of Melanesia in the mission steamer Southern Cross, documenting the experience in his journal. He embarked upon the trip on the 25th of August, visiting Norfolk Island, the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands among others. Beattie photographed mission life, landscapes and local cultural practices, exposing over 1300 plates as well as lantern slides. 68 of these photographs were donated to the UQAM in 1982 by Mrs Eileen Rannie. Beattie also collected objects during the voyage, including 5 ornaments from the Solomon Islands, a shield from New Britain and a spear from Kiribati, now held in the Tasmanian Museum (Bolton 1980, p 128). Upon his return Beattie continued to run his successful photo studio before passing away on the 24th of June 1930 in Hobart. References: Bolton, L.M. Oceanic Cultural Property in Australia. Australian National Commission for UNESCO: Canberra, 1980. Cato, Jack. “Chapter XV: John Watt Beattie of Tasmania”. The Story of the Camera in Australia. Canberra: Institute of Australian Photography, 1977. [online] <http://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/64247/rs_29-John-Watt-Beattie.pdf >. More, Clive. "J. W. Beattie Photographs". School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry. August 2012, [online] accessed 01/04/ 2015 <http://hapi.uq.edu.au/beattie>. Roe, Michael. "Beattie, John Watt (1859 - 1930)". National Centre of Biography. Australian National University. Originally published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979. [online] accessed 03/04/2015 <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/beattie-john-watt-5171>. Written by India Anderson, 2015.

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B & W photograph
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