...I'm also attaching ... scans of the two silver-gelatin photos
which are purported to be James & Grace. It's very curious. The back
of James' photo is marked "G & D HAY, PHOTOGRAPHISTS, 68 Princes
Street, Edinburgh", which suggests that the photos were taken before
they left and were bought out with them. The problem is, was
silver-gelatin photography around in 1822 and before? Going by what
I can find on the net, the earliest methods of photography came
along about ten years after that. I find it difficult to believe
that it is actually them. They came from a maiden aunt (of my
father's father...), Anne Fortune, who lived in Kew in
Melbourne for years until her death back in the 90s. She was adamant
that it's them. What do you think?
...via Google I
found this website/page:
early photography history in Edinburgh
If we take the info there at face value, this tells us that
photography wasn't established until 1839, and puts G&D Hay
photographers in the 68 Princes St address in 1857. Dr James, had
he been alive in 1857 would have been 72 years old - but he died in
1848 - 7 years before G&D Hay established their business, and 9
years before the Hays moved their business to 68 Princes St.
Even if the G&D Hay mark is bogus (unlikely?), and if the photo was
taken soon after photography start-up in 1839, he would still have
been at least 54 - I don't see a 54-yr old man in the photo. Dr J
was age 36 when he left Edinburgh in 1821, and died at age 62 in
So - we can't say that this is definitively not
James & Grace, but we can say that this is
"not James & Grace photographed by G&D Hay circa 1857", and
we can also say that given the ages of our forebears aligned with
the date of commencement of photography it is unlikely
to be James & Grace.
Sorry to burst the bubble - our only mystery now is to solve the
puzzle .. "who are the folks in the photos"? It seems highly
likely that they are relatives, since Anne Fortune clearly treasured
them. I see a well-to-do age 40's maybe man in the photo - so the
photo subject at say age 40 would have been born around 1817 and
would presumably have lived in Scotland (to have be photo'd by Hay
in Princes St in ~1857). The only relatives that come close to that
profile are Dr James daughter Mary Murdoch
#5 (born 1818 and left
behind in Scotland) and her husband William Bethune
#15 (born 1813,
William bought Craigow Scotland from Dr J. in 1849). If these are
the subjects, then they would have been age 39 (Mary) and 44 (Wm) in
1857 at the time the photo was taken... a bit of a stretch, but not
We don't know how the photos got to Van Diemens Land, and eventually
to Anne Fortune, and I don't know who of our Van Diemens rels might
possibly have gone back to Scotland for a visit.
Cheers, John Murdoch
...The riddle of the photo is fascinating, perhaps I can make it more
so. I have a photo of William Bethune
#15 (1813-1886) whom you suggest may
be the subject. This is endorsed "Photographed by Peter Ewing Kinross"
(no date). I can see no resemblance between this and the one Jason has.
Annie Fortune was a great friend of my Aunt Mary whom you may remember,
she left me a number of family photos and this one (William Bethune) was with them no
doubt given to her by Annie. Looking at the connection between Annie and
the Murdoch family, you will find that her father was James Fortune
#735 (1850-1927) and her mother was Mary Grace Murdoch
Mary Grace was a Granddaughter of Dr James. James Fortune was the son
of James Fortune (1823-1861) and Elizabeth Wilson (1834-1864) James
Fortune Jnr. came to Australia in 1880. The chances are that Annie may
not have met her grandparents.
On this basis it is likely that the photo is of James and Elizabeth
Fortune. However this is supposition and we may never know the truth.
The most knowledgeable person on the Bethune part of the Family is
Dr.Roger Mangnall... he may be able to help.
Regards, Max (Linton)