Bernhardt Otto Holtermannc 1872-85

by Attributed to J Kemp

Bernhardt Otto Holtermann was the manager of the Star of Hope Gold Mine which, on 19 October 1872, unearthed the largest piece of reef-gold in the world. The mine made Holtermann one of Australia’s wealthiest men, but this came only after years of struggling to keep the mine afloat.

With his sudden wealth, Holtermann commissioned photographers Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss to capture images of goldfield towns and the growth of Sydney. They achieved extraordinary detail and quality with their 3500 glass plate negatives, which lay forgotten in a Chatswood garden shed until they were rediscovered and donated to the Library in 1952.