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Ink to image

Ink to image

Celebrating James Sweeny: an ordinary man on an extraordinary expedition.

Embark on a remarkable journey through time with "Ink to Image", a silver gelatin photography exhibition unveiling the gripping narrative of an ordinary man on an extraordinary expedition.

In 1874, six intrepid explorers left Perth on a pioneering quest to traverse the Australian interior. Led by John Forrest, accompanied by his brother Alexander, the team comprised James Kennedy, James Sweeny, Tommy Windich, and Tommy Pierre. Their bold mission? To unlock the untapped grazing lands of central Western Australia.

James Sweeny was my great grandfather, and his meticulous diary provides one of only three surviving firsthand accounts of the journey. John and Alexander Forrest also wrote diaries but while theirs detailed the daily search for water, James doggedly chronicled the expedition's daily trials and triumphs — a very distinctive perspective of their odyssey.

On March 18, 2024, at 3pm — commemorating precisely 150 years since the expedition's departure just a stone’s throw from the Perth Town Hall — I cordially invite you to help launch this captivating photographic exhibition.

In 2022 I retraced part of the expedition, standing where my great grandfather once stood, in an attempt to see what he saw. Each of my 24 photographs is paired with excerpts from James’ diary, capturing the essence of the journey.

The exhibition will be launched by Sally Anne Hasluck OAM, who has been associated with museum work since 1974 when she was appointed as the inaugural curator of the newly established Claremont Museum. During the course of her association with that museum she held office as President of the Museums Association (WA Branch) and in 1991 was awarded an Anzac Fellowship to study museums in New Zealand.

Adding a third generation, Melissa Fitzgerald, James Sweeny’s great-great-granddaughter and founder of the esteemed Perth Guitar Quartet will play a classical guitar piece with her group. The work is inspired by the Gascoyne area.

Please join me for an immersive experience guaranteed to breathe life into history through the lens of photography, the harmony of music, and the enduring legacy of an extraordinary expedition. To attend the launch visit
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    Event Showings

    18 - 22 Mar | 10am - 4pm

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    Free Ticketed event

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    Perth Town Hall

    Cnr Hay and Barrack Street

    Perth WA 6000

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    Wheelchair access