John Watt Beattie


JW Beattie's photograph of Waterloo Point, Swansea, taken 1859 (ALMFA, SLT)

John Watt Beattie (18591930), photographer and antiquarian, was born in Aberdeen and migrated to Tasmania with his family in 1878. From 1882 he was a full-time professional photographer whose work shaped the accepted visual image of Tasmania.

Like Piguenit, Beattie stressed the wildly romantic aspects of the island's beauty and, as the colony's official photographer from 1896, made a significant contribution to the emerging tourist industry. He produced postcards, lantern-slides, framed prints and albums, his work was featured on Tasmanian pictorial stamps, and he opened a popular museum of art and artefacts in Hobart. In 1912 he developed Roald Amundsen's plates taken on the first trek to the South Pole. The Queen Victoria Museum and the Tasmanian Museum hold much of his collection.

Further reading: ADB 7.

Wendy Rimon