Seaweed Album; 1869; 2295

From

Port Macquarie Museum

Name/Title

Seaweed Album

About this object

This 22 page album of unidentified local seaweed specimens was created by Ernest Charles Davies [1836 - 1931] at Port Macquarie in December 1869.

Davies, an English immigrant was one of the first parties to explore Queensland. He resided at Port Macquarie in the late 1860s to early 1870s and was engaged in sugar cultivation and experimentation here for a time. His later pursuits involved mining. Davies business interests appear to have centred on the natural environment in one form or another.

Collecting natural history specimens was a prestigious hobby for gentlemen during the 17th and 18th centuries, and this filtered down to the middle classes at the beginning of the 19th century.

Seaweed collecting became very popular during the Victorian era particularly for women, and creating pressed seaweed albums and scrapbooks was seen as a domesticated way to explore the natural world. Such albums were considered quite an accomplishment for both men and women as they involved painstakingly obtaining, preserving, and mounting seaweed specimens demonstrating patience, artistic talent, and an appreciation of the subtle beauties of nature.

This album does not particularly exhibit the artistic talent of its maker Ernest Charles Davies, with most of the specimens simply adhered to the centre of each page however some pages are arranged more decoratively. It does evidence Davies interest in the natural environment and must have been special to him as he kept it throughout his long life.

Whilst there are many seaweed sample albums and scrapbooks in existence this one of specimens collected at Port Macquarie appears to be quite rare. It has significant research potential in identifying the types of seaweed found locally at that time and also in providing DNA for further scientific research.

Often considered an ugly refuse from the ocean left strewn across our beaches, or hindering swimmers, this album provides an appreciation of the beauty of our local marine algae more commonly known as seaweed when preserved in this way.

Debbie Sommers
11 June 2014

Date Made

1869

Place Made

Australia

Medium and Materials

Seaweed, paper, cardboard, cotton

Inscription and Marks

Inscription written inside the front cover reads ‘Port Macquarie – December 22, 1869’.

Measurements

250mmL, 195mmW

Credit Line

Donors: T.H.E. and P.M. Hancock

Object Type

Scrapbooks

Object number

2295

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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