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Type: Journal article
Title: New evidence confirms Thomas Hannay as the first photographer of Naracoorte Caves and emphasises the importance of historical writing in caves
Author: Reed, E.
Bourne, S.
Citation: Helictite, 2018; 44:45-58
Publisher: Australian Speleological Federation Inc.
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0017-9973
Statement of
Elizabeth Reed and Steven Bourne
Abstract: Naracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its Quaternary vertebrate fossil record spanning the past 500,000 years. Although the primary heritage values of the park relate to the fossil deposits, significant other values include biological, geological, cultural and historical aspects. In 1860, the Reverend Julian Tenison-Woods commissioned a series of photographs of Blanche Cave for use by the engraver Alexander Burkitt in illustrating Woods’ 1862 book Geological observations in South Australia. The identity of the photographer was unknown until recently, when we discovered an engraving in a Melbourne periodical that cited Thomas Hannay of Maldon as the producer of the photo. Despite this breakthrough, there was no direct evidence linking Hannay to Naracoorte Caves. In May 2018, we discovered an inscription on the wall of Blanche Cave that can be attributed to Thomas Hannay, providing evidence of the photographer’s visit to the caves. This inscription highlights the importance of historical writing in caves as primary information for historical research. In this paper we present background information on the 1860 Hannay photographs of Naracoorte Caves and describe the inscription found in Blanche Cave. We also discuss the historical value of cave inscriptions and the issues relating to cave restoration projects that involve removal of ‘graffiti’.
Keywords: Naracoorte Caves; Thomas Hannay; cave photography; Julian Tenison-Woods; Alexander Burkitt; historical graffiti; cave conservation
Rights: © The Authors, 2018. Journal compilation © Australian Speleological Federation Inc., 2018
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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