The George Thomas Rowland Collection

Old man with floating child, [n.d] – George Thomas Rowland Collection (
These images are scans of glass negatives and magic lantern slides of George Thomas Rowland (1887-1972) from Merewether, New South Wales. This Collection contains some of the strangest assortment of photographs, illustrations, advertisements and mystery shots we have ever seen. The image above appears to depict a floating ghostly child hovering above an old man sitting in front of a fire place. Is it a spirit photograph, or a representation of a religious scene?

George Thomas Rowland Collection on Living Histories @ UON

Experience the full George Thomas Rowland Collection free and accessible here:

The collection originally arrived in two rusted metal containers. One contained glass slides relating to the local Hunter Region; scenes included a deceased whale on Stockton Beach dated “26 November 1898”; a Maitland Flood scene; Newcastle Choral Society Eisteddfod Winners and 2nd Prize; a variety of bizarre advertisements for A.C. Moodies The Tailors 108 Hunter Street Newcastle testing the strength of their pants against two elephants and such like.

A C Moodie Advertisment “Moodie’s pants will stand the test. A.C. Moodie, 108 Hunter Street. W.H.” (


George Thomas Rowland Collection – A C Moodie Advertisment “Which pair shall I wear?” (


George Thomas Rowland Collection – Welcome to Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle, NSW, May 1901 ( Are you sure the image is reversed? Check again.


George Thomas Rowland Collection – The Whale, Stockton Beach, November 26 1898.


The other box contained more international scenes, including religious propaganda(?), war scenes, flower imagery; fantastical imagery or automobiles and air balloons constructed of four leaf clovers driven by doves; mysterious image of a ghost child or angel floating in air etc. Some of the oversea location scenes were mounted by the Newcastle Boddy (Sisters) Photographer(s) at Imperial Studios.

Crossing the river (magic glass slide), [n.d] – George Thomas Rowland Collection (
George Thomas Rowland Collection – Airship with Floral Elements Postcard, [n.d] (

The collection was kindly donated by Cathy Waugh (Grand Daughter of the late George Rowland), and were presented to the University of Newcastle in April, 2018 by Professor Howard Bridgman, on behalf of Cathy Waugh and the Rowland Family. We thank Cathy for sharing this important collection with the wider community.

The images can be used for study and personal research purposes. If you wish to reproduce an image for any other purpose please contact the University of Newcastle Library’s Cultural Collections.

Image editing, metadata entry and upload to Livinghistories@UON completed by Ashleigh Miller (Digitisation assistant).

The digitisation of these archives in the GLAMx Lab was made possible by the kind generosity of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund. To continue this valuable work please consider making a donation to the Fund.

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories

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