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J.H. Lundager, Mount Morgan politician and photographer : company hack or subtle subversive?
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by G Griffin
Between 1883 and about 1914 the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company commissioned or acquired 600 glass negatives and associated prints depicting Mount Morgan mine and township. About 500 of these negatives are now held in the Central Queensland Collection of the University of Central Queensland Library where they form a substantial archival resource for historical texts, local history museums, tourist promotions and the like. The mine photographs were used as visual records or proof of mine development for absentee board members and major shareholders. Elaborately bound albums of the photographs were presented at ceremonial occasions to retiring directors and managers and to important visitors. The photographs also appeared in newspapers, magazines and trade and professional journals. The willingness of the company to share its photographs with its employees, townspeople, the press, and ultimately a much wider audience meant that these images comprised a major popular as well as official representation of the mine over a thirty year period. The negatives were made by Danish-born Jens Hansen Lundager, a local photographer, stationer, newspaper owner and Labor politician employed casually by the company to photograph the mine, and to take individual and group portraits of mine owners and managers and company guests, as well as domestic group portraits of professional and managerial staff and their families. Lundager also photographed groups of mine workers as well as town panoramas and various activities and events within the town itself. Lundager sold some of the latter to the public as postcards.