In the 1980s I wrote a book on an early photographer of Sydney’s Blue Mountains district. His name was Harry Phillips and the book was called ‘The Far-Famed Blue Mountains of Harry Phillips’ after the name of one of Phillips’ publications. Phillips had set up a photography and publishing business in the Blue Mountains in the 20s and was a driving force behind many projects designed to draw tourists to the area, such as the Giants Stairway and the Scenic Railway. His many books of views circulated widely, to America and the trenches of WWI, yet from being a locally famous man he had faded from view. I wanted to give him the prominence I felt he deserved. I was in time to record reminiscences from some who had known Phillips, but was unable to rescue most of his glass plate negatives, which had been destoyed. Phillips left the Blue Mountains for Sydney, where he recorded the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and many long gone parts of the city. My book led to a revival of interest, a mural, a film, and a prize winning novel by Delia Falconer, ‘The Service of Clouds’. Phillips’ books now sell for $200 and more, and my book has a pricetag of $117. The Blue Mountains Library has a Harry Phillips collection and much information on him. Harry Phillips was a man in love with a region, and his vision of it has rarely been equalled.
©2009 Original material copyright Phillip Kay. Images and other material courtesy Creative Commons. Please inform post author of any violation.