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Can you date this photograph? [Wagga Wagga Council Chambers]

A moment in time…..

This photograph comes to you from Charles Sturt University Regional Archives in Wagga Wagga.

The image is obviously of an official occasion, most likely the welcoming of some important people (possibly, the man and woman in the centre front) to Wagga but we don’t know who they are or when it was taken. 

Two things we do know about it are that the people are standing on the front steps of the Wagga Wagga Council Chambers (built in 1881) and that the bearded gentleman in the hat in the back left is James Gormly, Member for Murrumbidgee/Wagga (1885-1904), who died in 1922.  These two pieces of information equate to the photograph being taken sometime between 1881 & 1922. 

What we’re hoping for is that the wonderful blog readers know enough about fashion so as to narrow down the time frame even further.  The best outcome would be for someone to actually recognise and name the visitors.

Larger version on Flickr

We have many other undated photographs in Photo Investigator and on our Flickr account. If you know the dates or any other interesting facts about these images please let us know.

  • Fiona Sullivan says:

    A comment from Jenny Scott via Twitter:!/ADL_Archivist/status/57251593288032256

    “Perhaps the conference of delegates from NSW Central Districts farmers James Gormly attended at Wagga Wagga Town Hall 21 June 1892?”

    A Comment from jrg_from_oz on flickr:

    “I think the man in the overcoat is William Holman, Premier of NSW 1913-1920. Probably Mrs Holman alongside him.”

    April 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm
  • Matt Hansen says:

    This is just a guess but it isn’t the welcoming party for the Prince of Wales – later Edward VIII – in 1920, perhaps? Edward VIII visited 110 cities and towns in Australia between 26 May and 19 August 2011 and I would assume Wagga – on the main rail line between Melbourne and Sydney – would have been one of them.

    This time would fit the dates given for Gormly and Holman above and would explain the crowd and the police.

    If this is correct, dating the photograph would be a matter of finding the itinerary for the Prince’s visit in 1920.

    April 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm
  • Matt Hansen says:

    “between 26 May and 19 August 2011”

    That should be 1920, of course …

    April 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm
  • Bidgee says:

    Does look to be William Holman.

    The police officer is also wearing Metropolitan Foot Police uniform which had the black helmet from 1901-1911 (according to some sources online) but could be likely to have been warn past 1911. Maybe a visit by the new State Government in 1913?

    April 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm
  • Bill SHUTE says: indicates that the Police uniform worn would be 1901-1911.
    Wagga Wagga not being Metropolitan though creates some doubt.
    If it was a very big occasion maybe Metropolitan Police were called in to assist with crowd control.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm
  • Bidgee says:

    Yes, seems to be a significant event for a Metropolitan Foot Police officer to be in Wagga Wagga.

    Been doing some digging around in the Digital Newspapers section of the NLA’s Trove and found a story ( on the visit of the Governor (Sir Walter Edward Davidson) and Lady Davidson (Dame Margaret Davidson) who visited Wagga Wagga in 1918. Timeline fits but the story doesn’t have anything about Gormly and Holman being there nor can I see the Governor or Lady Davidson.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm
  • Nicole Jenkins says:

    From the fashions I would date the photo as being around 1910 – the men are dressed in Edwardian style and only the ladies fashions show a more modern approach, with the hats in the foreground especially.

    Country NSW wouldn’t be up to date with the latest styles so it could be 1910-1913, which fits with some of the comments above. Certainly it looks pre-WW1.

    If it was the tour of a new Premier (1913) that would explain the grand welcome, and the Metropolitan police escort, as well as the retired local member being included.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm
  • Bidgee says:

    More searching and I’ve come across ( a visit by Sir Charles Gregory Wade (going by the date of the article), who was Premier of New South Wales, in September 1910.

    Looking at the photograph on the Parliament of NSW website (, both men look similar.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm
  • Bidgee says:

    Found ( another visit in February 1908, a few politicians are named in the article including Gormly.

    Trying to find photos of politicians (local, state and federal) from 1900 – 1920 is rather difficult. While a few do exist the year taken isn’t always known, so it makes identifying people in this photo a little harder.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm
  • Rhonda Cetta-Hoye says:

    I don’t think it would have been the Kangaroo March to recruit men for WW1 as they would have had the banner saying ” Farewell ” instead of ” Welcome.”

    The Emblem of Wagga’s Crow is on the banner, so when did that come in.
    I wonder if it could be when a group of politicians came to Wagga when the decision of where parliment house was to be built. That would have been late 1800’s It was considered as a site as Wagga is halfway between sydney and Melbourne.
    Regards Rhonda

    April 12, 2011 at 7:34 am
  • Mandy B says:

    That hemline is definitely post 1900, but not much later than 1915 when they went up again. I agree with the 1910ish date.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:01 am
  • Bidgee says:

    Well the visit of politicians to Wagga Wagga, who were looking for the site for the Federal Parliament, was in 1902 ( Going by Nicole’s comments on fashions, I would think it would be a few years too early.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:14 am
  • Mick Reed says:

    The left of Welcome banner seems to show the shield from the original Commonwealth Coat of Arms which was granted by Edward VII 7 May 1908.

    It was replaced by George V on 19 Sept 1912 with the current version.



    April 13, 2011 at 7:37 am
  • Mick Reed says:

    The couple in the centre are (I’m pretty sure) Lord and Lady Chelmsford, NSW governor who visited Wagga 15 September 1912.



    April 13, 2011 at 8:27 am
  • Bidgee says:

    I was thinking it was Lord and Lady Chelmsford, however ruled it out as I would have thought he would have been wearing medals but you could be right ( [circa 1910]).

    April 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm
  • Bidgee says:

    I think you have it Mick! But looking at The Sydney Morning Herald ( on Trove, both Lord and Lady Chelmsford would have arrived on 13 September 1912. Wagga/Daily Advertiser would have something so I’ll check it out tomorrow. (No date),_1907.jpg (1907)

    April 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm
  • Mick Reed says:

    Yes Bidgee. I made a typo. They arrived on 13 Sept and stayed a couple of days.

    Have a butchers at the image here.


    April 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    Admiring His Lordship’s Homberg and Her Ladyship’s muff.

    April 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm
  • Jillian Kohlhagen says:

    Mick, you’re a genius!! After looking at the images of them on the web, I’m convinced our photo is of the Chelmsfords. The similarities are just too close for them to be anyone else.

    I’ve looked up the local paper’s report of the Governor’s visit in 1912 and found this:
    “The vestibule [of the Council Chambers] had been appropriately draped for the occasion. Over the entrance, was the word ‘welcome’ surmounted by the crest of the municipality, a crow…”
    “Returning to the vestibule a couple of group photos were taken, and a start was then made for the State High Schools in Gurwood Street, cheers being given as the party moved off.”

    Pretty conclusive for me. Thankyou so much!

    April 14, 2011 at 10:32 am
  • Mick Reed says:

    Thanks Jillian

    I’m always telling the people here at UNERA about my genius, but they don’t believe me.

    I’ll put them on to you.

    I like the quotes that you found.



    April 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm
  • pellethepoet says:

    @Mick Reed (aka genius) – nice work. Don’t be moving to Port Macquarie, there’s already a resident genius up that way :)

    @beachcomberaustralia (aka genius) – that muff is nothing compared with Lady Wakehurst’s neck warmer (can’t believe its been more than a year since we worked on that one)

    April 20, 2011 at 12:26 am
  • Mick Reed says:


    No way will I move to Port.

    That town ain’t big enough for the both of us.



    April 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm