Brendon Kearns


Found Photography: Crown Street Cache: Part I

I found a second hand shop was having a 30-50% off sale last weekend so I swooped in to see if I could get a deal on any old negatives they had- I ended up with a sizable bag of what I would guess is going on a few hundred spread across multiple packets.

Since the quantity is so large I’ve decided to break it down into a few separate posts, I’ve dubbed it the ‘Crown Street Cache’ since the actual store I found them at was on Crown Street in Darlinghurst.

These seem to be the most promising find yet- with the sheer amount of shots taken, there should be plenty of clues as to decade and location, I’ll see what I can manage this week for research.


  1. And you may think this too strange to be true, but one of the women in your photos (she is in front of an old Qantas plane, and is sitting on the beach with two women friends, wearing a hat), looks like Mollie Thomas, two of whose albums I also have. Again, I got them from “Chris”. If it is Mollie, she lived in Neutral Bay and Mosman, and died aged 99 in 2008.

  2. Me again, after a night wondering about this.

    I’m sure you’ve got the negatives, or some of them, of the albums I’ve got by Mollie Thomas, and Barbara Hawke. As I understand it, the estates of both women were sold by auction by the Public Trustee. Both died in the 2000s. Neither had kids, but both had been married. (Mollie’s husband George has the round specs, but I think Barbara married much later in life). It seems the Public Trustee may build up their stocks of things like photographic albums, and eventually sell them in auctions dedicated to the same type of material. Chris has told me that he is known to the various Trustees, and gets alerted. Your source would be in the same category, I’d say. So, both dealers turn up at the auction in Sydney somewhere, and both come away with different parts of the same estates.

    As to what I’ve got:

    A Mollie Thomas album of her trip to England and Europe in 1954. You can see some material here : ;and there is a picture of Mollie here :

    A Mollie Thomas album of her travels to Perth, a few other parts of Australia, and family weddings etc. it includes your shot of the Harbour Bridge taken through the rigging of a boat, or perhaps the next similar shot on the roll. It also contains lots of shots of her and George’s visit to a horse stud up Tamworth way, which may explain your “Bush Horse” photo.

    A Barbara Hawke album of her social life in Sydney taken in the early 1950s. The album ends in 1954, with many photos of the Royal Visit she clearly bought from the Herald. After seeing you photos, I’ve done a bit of digging, and have established that she then went to England, arriving there on board the Strathaird on 30 September 1954. I’ve not put up anything to the net from Barbara yet. When I get back to work I’ll send you a picture of her. It’s most certainly the same woman.

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