Lindt 'art' on show

RESULTS of a year’s research into the identity of Aboriginal people in photographs taken by John William Lindt in the Clarence Valley in the 1870s will be revealed at Grafton today.

Lindt clearly tried to show Aborigines as they lived before European contact.

His detailed pictures captured skin textures and intricate scarification, jewellery, clothes, tools, weapons and utensils such as string carry bags.

He also published descriptions of some of the people photographed, such as Orara William, King Charley of Ulmarra or Jacky, and Arthur of the coastal tribe.

His indigenous portraits were considered by contemporaries to be the first successful attempt at representing Aboriginal people truthfully as well as artistically.

The research project began a year ago. Nola Mackey has been working with the Lindt Research Group searching for direct links between the Aboriginal people in the photographs and people living today.

Nola has reported her findings to the group members who have guided Nola’s search, including Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Bundjalung elders.

The research included interviewing people, researching local and national archives and following up information given at public meetings held in Grafton and Maclean.

The project was inspired by the gift of 35 John William Lindt photographs by Sam and Janet Cullen and family and was supported by the Clarence Valley Council. The entire collection of Lindt photographs can be viewed at the gallery’s website at

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