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Picture relating to Townsville - titled 'John Melton Black's residence, the first home in Townsville built around 1865'

John Melton Black's residence, the first home in Townsville built around 1865

contributed by QldPics, taken in 1865
(contact QldPics about this picture)

View Melton Hill in Townsville, looking north. The residence belonged to John Melton Black and was constructed around 1865, the first house in Townsville. The small structure to the rear is Black's observatory. The range in the far distance in the extreme right is Cape Pallarenda, the beach on the right is The Strand and the suburb of North Ward. The small hill at the end of the beach being Kissing Point.
Richard Daintree, geologist and photographer, was born in 1832 in Huntingdonshire, England. He matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge in 1851 and in 1852 joined the gold rush to Victoria. Unsuccessful as a prospector he became assistant geologist in the Victorian Geological Survey until 1856. On a visit to England he became interested in photography and when he rejoined the Geological Survey in 1859 he pioneered the use of photography in field-work. In 1864 he became a resident partner with William Hann in pastoral properties in the Burdekin country of North Queensland. There he was able to indulge his passions for both photography and prospecting. When the pastoral boom collapsed he used his knowledge to open up goldfields at Cape River (1867), Gilbert (1869) and Etheridge in 1869-70.

Daintree advocated a geological survey of Queensland and when it began in 1868 he was geologist in charge of the northern division until 1870. In that year he made some of his finest photographic studies. In 1871 his collection of photographs and geological specimens formed the mainstray of Queensland's contribution to the Exhibition of Art and Industry in London. He was sent to England as commissioner in charge of this display, although much of it was lost when the ship carrying Daintree and his family was wrecked. In London he was appointed Queensland's agent-general in 1872. Due to ill health Daintree resigned in 1876 and died in Kent on the 20th June, 1878. His photographs , taken under difficult conditions by the cumbersome wet-plate process, are superb specimens of the art and present a vivid picture of early settlement in Queensland.

This picture is also part of the following Bonzle photo collections: