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Lady Loch's photo album

Pictures, Australian history
Date: 1885
Author: Frederick K Cornell

This exquisite presentation album was owned Lady Loch, the wife of Sir Henry Brougham Loch who was governor of Victoria between 1884 and 1895. It was presented to Lady Loch at Sale, Gippsland, during an official tour of the region.

Measuring 40cm x 32.5cm, the album is bound in embossed morocco gilt. Its title page has an ornate inscription in watercolour, pen and gold ink which reads 'Presented to Lady Loch at Sale, Gippsland, Wednesday 23rd December, 1885'.

The album contains 100 albumen photographs taken by Frederick K Cornell, a photographer in Sale between 1866 and 1885. Depicting life in Gippsland in the 19th century, these photographs provide a wonderful insight into the settlement of Gippsland, the taming of its natural environment, and the establishment of its early industries.

Elizabeth Loch (1841–1938) was born in Wiltshire, England, to an aristocratic family. She travelled to Australia in 1884 with her husband, Sir Henry Brougham Loch, the newly appointed governor of Victoria, and remained here until 1895. Lady Loch was a popular public figure, an adept social hostess given to throwing lavish parties and active in charity work.

Like many governors' wives of the time, Lady Loch accompanied her husband on official business. Lady Loch's popularity as the 'first lady' of the colony, and her involvement in a wide range of causes led to the first native rhododendron, a large gold nugget and a ship being named after her.

While dignitaries were often presented with large cards of one or two pages, known as 'illustrated addresses', to celebrate and commemorate their visits to various cities and towns, presentation albums were less common.

The Lady Loch album is a particularly impressive example of a presentation album, and is among the finest examples within the State Library's collection. Its size and scale indicates that Lady Loch's visit to Gippsland was of particular significance to the local community.