Spotlight: Ben Hall, The Bushranger (etching) 

In the 1860s printing technology did not allow for photographs to be published in newspapers so photographs were copied by artists and turned into etchings – a kind of engraving that could be used as a stamp. The quality of images varied wildly due to the various competencies of the artists.

In this image we see Ben Hall as a successful squatter. He holds a cabbage-tree hat and what is either a riding crop or a cane. Hall is dressed fashionably in moleskin trousers and sack coat with his signature mutton chops and long colonial hairstyle. The photograph this was based on seems to have disappeared over time but was likely taken during one of his many cattle musters as a keepsake, a reminder of a time long before he was the most wanted man in the British Empire.

Source“BEN HALL, THE BUSHRANGER.” Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872) 16 May 1865: 3.

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