The "Geelong Album" is one of the many rare books contained in the Western Victoria Collection of the Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library, Lascelles Building, Geelong Waterfront Campus. It was photographed and published in 1866 by Eugen de Balk and contains forty photographs of notable Geelong buildings and scenes. It was probably produced by him as a promotional or commercial venture, as the first photograph in the album depicts his photographic studio in Mooroobool Street.
De Balk was born Wilhelm Ernest Eugen von Mylius in Prussia on 21 November 1838 but took his grandmother's surname of 'Balck', spelling it Balk, when he arrived in Australia in 1857. He first arrived in Melbourne on 30 June before proceeding to Sydney where he seems to have worked briefly with the photographer Nathaniel Batchelder in 1858. He moved back to Victoria however, as on 6 May 1862 he married Jane Upton at Christ Church, Geelong. De Balk was operating as a photographer from this time as he exhibited a number of topographical photographs at the Geelong Art, Science and Industry exhibition of 1862.
He opened a photographic business in February 1863 at 60 Moorabool Street and by 1864 was advertising it as 'E. de Balk's Photographic Atelier'. However by 1870 he and his family (he had four children) had moved to Sydney where he operated a photographic studio under the name of 'Baron de Balk'. He exhibited a number of portraits in the Victorian Exhibits section of the Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition of 1870. Sadly he died in Sydney on 2 November 1870, leaving behind a wife, four children and a new baby.
(Below are the pages from the "Geelong Album"; click on the small image to see a larger version.)
Moorabool Street, Market Square: depicts the 'E. de Balk Photographic Atelier' at 60-62 Moorabool Street, now replaced by the Market Square Shopping Centre.
Chamber of Commerce, Moorabool Street: demolished in 1955. Designed by Christopher Porter in 1858 and built by Boynton and Conway, this was a Barrabool freestone building of two storeys with an elaborate facade which included giant Corinthian order columns.
Church of England Grammar School: the surviving south wing of this school can still be seen in Maud Street. The school was established in 1855 and in 1857 a quadrangular building, designed by Backhouse and Reynolds, was built in the Gothic Revival style. It was in use until 1914 when the school moved
Mechanics' Institute: this building was once located in Ryrie Street and was designed by John Young in 1856. It was enlarged in 1859 by Benjamin Backhouse. It was a single storey building with a Renaissance Revival facade.
Custom House, Corio Terrace: built in 1855-56 by Melbourne contractor W.C. Cornish and designed by William Davidson, James Balmain and John Clark in a Colonial Georgian style. It is made from Barrabool freestone and bluestone with a slate roof.
Town Hall, Little Malop Street: this building was designed by Joseph Reed in 1855 and the photo depicts the south wing, which was all that was completed of Reed's design until 1917. The giant Ionic columns and Palladian influence are still visible today and can be clearly seen in de Balk's photograph.
Hospital: the Geelong Hospital and Benevolent Society building in Ryrie Street was designed by Charles Laing in 1850 and built in stages in 1852, 1857 and 1858. It was Neo-classical in design, with a Doric portico, and was subsequently demolished.
Bank of Victoria, Malop Street: originally located on the south side of Malop Street to the west of Moorabool Street, the Bank was opened in 1858 but is no longer in existence.
Bank of Australasia, corner of Malop and Gheringhap Streets: although this building survives today, it is virtually unrecognisable beneath its orange brick facade. Until 1956 when it was refaced in brick, this bank (designed by Purchas and Swyer and built in 1859-60) had a Classical facade of Barrabool
sandstone. NB: The small white building that can also be seen within the photo is the Colonial Bank of Australasia, which still stands today. It was designed by Shaw and Dowden and built in 1857 and is an early example of stucco craftsmanship.
London Chartered Bank, Malop Street: this building was erected in 1859 and still exists today. It was designed by Leonard Terry in a Classical style in bluestone and Barrabool sandstone.
Union Bank, corner of Yarra Street and Market Square: designed in 1847 by Charles Laing in a Classical Revival style with a closed Ionic porch and a smooth geometric freestone facade. The upper storey of this building is still visible today, but shops now occupy the ground floor at the front and side.
Wesleyan Chapel, Yarra Street: built in 1846 with a transept added in 1853, the chapel was widened in 1859.
Presbyterian Church, Ryrie Street: designed by John Young in 1856 and built in bluestone in an Early English Gothic style, it was known locally as the Steeple Church until the steeple was dismantled in 1913. At this time a row of two-storey shops were built in front, although the main body of the church
still exists today.
Trinity Church, La Trobe Terrace: this church was designed by Backhouse and Reynolds and built by Fullager, Hagery and Company for the Free Church of England in 1858. It is an Early English Gothic style church in bluestone with distinctive elements such as the seven gables and the lancet windows, which
can still be seen today.
Baptist Chapel, Aberdeen Street: built in 1854 of Barrabool sandstone from a design prepared by John Young from an 1840s Italianate pattern. Today, the chapel functions as the Sunday School of the church.
High Church, Gheringhap Street: built in 1861 of bluestone with sandstone dressings, this church was designed by Nathaniel Billing in a decorated Gothic style for the Free Presbyterian Church. It still stands today.
Christ Church, Moorabool Street: this church is the oldest Anglican church still occupying its original site in Victoria. It was built between 1843 and 1847 of Barrabool sandstone to a design by the Sydney ecclesiastical architect Edmund Thomas Blacket. It was enlarged in 1855 by Geelong architects
Snell, Kawerau and Prowse.
St. George's Church, La Trobe Terrace: built in 1861 to a design by Nathaniel Billing, a noted ecclesiastical architect.
Post Office: this Geelong Post Office was demolished in 1890 when the present structure was built.
Railway Station: the original Geelong Railway Station was built in 1857 and was replaced by the current station in 1877.
Click below to view further pages from the "Geelong Album":