Returning: Australian Story

Australian Story unearths a century of secrets behind mysterious photographs, introduced by Troy Cassar-Daley.

2013-01-28_2359Australian Story returns next week to unearth a century of secrets behind a series of iconic but mysterious photographs.

This episode is introduced by musician and Bundjalung man of Northern NSW, Troy Cassar-Daley.

In 2004, an article they read in a Sydney paper disturbed businessman Sam Cullen AM and his wife, Janet. Rare photographs taken by German-born photographer, John William Lindt were to go to auction in London that night. Taken in the 1870s, the strange and haunting images of Clarence River aboriginals become world famous, launching Lindt’s career.

The Grafton aboriginal community was in a state of despair. They dearly wanted the photographs to come home but couldn’t afford to buy them. Sam and Janet felt they had to help. Just hours later, they successfully bid over the phone. The cost? Nearly $150,000.

When the photos arrived at their home, Sam was transfixed: ‘Every morning I would come down and say good morning to them and have a chat with them’. Janet was equally captivated ‘They had a magical quality.’

Sam and Janet gifted the photographs to the people of the Clarence Valley. But troubled that Lindt became world famous while the people photographed were unknown, Sam and Janet, together with the aboriginal elders of Grafton, began a long and emotional journey to discover the identities of the people who had entrusted their images to Lindt so long ago.

There were few clues and Lindt left no records. But eight years later Sam’s labour of love has turned up some astonishing results, including four names and a likely link to an elder living in Grafton today. Eight years later, Sam’s labour of love has turned up some astonishing results.

Musician and Bundjalung man of Northern NSW, Troy Cassar-Daley guest presents this edition that also features his mother Irene Daley, local artist and Lindt committee member.

Monday, February 4 at 8pm on ABC1.

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