Photographic Orphans

Over the past few weeks, I have embarked on the massive task of digitising most of the family photographs currently in my mother’s custody.  These photographs cover both sides of my family’s history in Australia and also some from New Zealand and England – the earliest of which are a group of family portraits taken in Liverpool before the family embarked on their journey to New Zealand in 1878.

It has been a wonderful opportunity to marvel over their stories played out in these pictures. Some journal my uncle’s experience in Japan with the Occupation Forces in 1946 & 1947. Others record delightful beach experiences and visits to zoos as the children ‘grow’ before my eyes.

The most touching are the pictures of my Great Grandfather inscribed on the back – “For Dorothy”.  My grandmother was barely 3 years old when he died in 1903 and these few cherished photographs were all she had of her father as she grew up.

I collect.

I scrounge through boxes of dusty cards and pictures looking for treasures.

Every now and again I find something that needs to be reunited with someone who is as committed as I am to chronicling their family’s journey. Today was no exception – several pieces attracted my attention so I bought them.  I bought them with the intention of finding someone who is researching these families.  I hope these orphan photographs add some life to your research whoever you are!


If you recognise these Mackay family members, and would like high quality images emailed to you for no charge, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your email address.  The images will include scans of the backs of two of the images with the hand written annotations identifying the subject of the photograph.

More orphans in a week or so…..


Author: Robbie

There's a whole new direction to the creative pursuits undertaken by Robbie - writing, photography, genealogy, gardening and, just because she can, a return to study at university. Still dabbling in textiles, volunteering, tutoring and solving the design dilemmas of her students.

2 thoughts on “Photographic Orphans”

  1. I am very pleased to say that I have located a distant relative – however she feels that she is too distant for them to be given to her. I have provided her with archival quality scans. She is in touch with someone who is researching the family and he is quite excited to note that these are new images to him but definitely the Mackay family he is researching. It may be that they end up with the Armidale Historical Society.

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