Alan Spearman Evans Collection

Scope and Content

The Alan Spearman Evans Collection comprises over 2000 photographic images of houses, house interiors, garden landscapes and industrial workplaces in New South Wales, taken by Alan Spearman Evans between 1924 and 1957. 

The photographic images are in various formats including photonegatives (21 boxes), silver gelatin photoprints and 35mm slides.  The photonegatives are stored with the original envelopes annotated by Evans and provide an historical record of photographic documentation – often providing detail on aperture settings, light conditions and type of film used.

The collection also includes family and general correspondence, property valuation certificates, the published book ‘Tail Up’ written by Sylvia Evans, a personal notebook and scrapbooks of newspaper clippings.

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Alan Evans in his office, nd. Evans Collection: EC23/AE/P/1-4/4 Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection
 

Biographical note

Alan Spearman Evans (1902-1963) was a Sydney-based amateur photographer who spent much of his life recording his houses, gardens and workplaces as well as those of his family and friends.

Evans married his childhood sweetheart, Sylvia Winifred Henderson (1902–1995), in 1927, and together they built their first home, Alwyn, in Arncliffe, in south-west Sydney. Photographing the construction of the house from its earliest stages, Alan initiated a routine of documenting the homes of his family and friends that would continue for over 30 years.

Employed as an accountant for Davis Gelatine (Aust) Ltd, Evans took his photographic hobby into the workplace, capturing images of the extensive Davis Gelatine industrial garden and factory complex in Botany.  He was also photographer for the company newsletter Davis Gelatine Review. In 1933 the Davis firm leased the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney and Evans documented ship-building activity and ship launches there.

In 1944 Sylvia Evans published her book, Tail Up, illustrated with Alan’s photographs, and this, along with related correspondence, provides a curious insight into their lives at Arncliffe as seen through the eyes of their cross blue heeler/kelpie, Manna. Manna died unexpectedly in 1946 and the devastated Evans’ named their next property, in Mosman, Manna House in memory of their beloved kelpie. 

Alan and Sylvia moved into Manna House in 1950 and Alan continued to document the house and garden until his death in 1963. Sylvia stayed in the house they had built together for another 30 years.

For more information about Alan and Sylvia Evans and the photo collection, see the story, A window to the past.
 

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Sylvia Evans at Alwyn, c.1930, photo Alan Evans. Evans Collection: EC11/PEO/N/1-31/2 Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection
 

Provenance and access

Parts of the Alan Spearman Evans Collection were acquired between 2006 and 2008 on eBay and a subsequent direct purchase from the dealer of those parts of the Evans material relating to houses, interiors and gardens.  It is believed that the material was originally disposed of following the death of Sylvia Evans in 1995. The extent of the original collection is unknown but many images relating to Cockatoo Island, other industrial sites managed by the Davis firm, some domestic photographs, and personal correspondence are known to have been dispersed via eBay.

Given the haphazard nature of the disposal and subsequent acquisition of the Evans collection, the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection (CSL&RC) is responsible for the current arrangement of boxes and folders.

  • For more information about Evans material held by other institutions see the list of related material below.
  • A range of Alan Evans photographs can be viewed online through our Pictures Collection catalogue: http://collection.hht.net.au/firsthhtpictures/quickSearch.jsp
  • For further access to Alan Spearman Evans Collection material, contact:

Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection
T 02 8239 2233
E library@sydneylivingmuseums.com.au

 

 
 

Related Material

  • The Australian War Memorial has acquired images of shipbuilding at Cockatoo Island taken by Evans and a photo album of the construction of an air raid shelter at the rear of Alwyn, 16 Loftus Street, Arncliffe (see Evans Collection: EC3/ALW for CSL&RC holding of negatives).  This material can be accessed through the Australian War Memorial catalogue.
  • The National Archives of Australia holds a collection of images taken by Evans of shipbuilding activity at Cockatoo Island.  Records of these images are available on the National Archives PhotoSearch catalogue.
  • The State Library of New South Wales has Photographs and scrapbooks of Cockatoo Island Dockyard, 1935-1943 / compiled by Norman Frazer and contains many photographs taken by Evans.  Mitchell Library PXE 776.
  • Sydney Living Museums (formerly The Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales) manages Vaucluse House, Vaucluse.  Detailed information is available on this website.
  • The New South Wales Heritage Branch has records of a number of properties photographed by Alan Evans on the NSW Heritage Database.
     

Series A: autobiographical material

Included in this series are scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, a personal notebook kept by Alan Evans as a young man, and photograph album pages documenting the Alwyn garden and social outings with family and friends.

Folio Box 22

EC22/A/1
Alan Evans leather-bound notebook, 1910s-20s
EC22/A/2
Photograph album of Alwyn garden
EC22/A/3
Album of newspaper cuttings
EC22/A/4A&B
Loose-leaf pages from photograph album of Alwyn garden
EC22/A/5
Christmas card featuring Alwyn
EC22/A/6
‘Davis Gelatine Review’
 
 

Series B: general correspondence and ephemera relating to Tail Up by Sylvia Evans, 1944-1948

This series contains general correspondence and ephemera relating to the published book Tail Up written by Sylvia Evans.

Folio Box 22(A)

EC22/B/1
Mock-up of book titled Tail Up, written by Sylvia Evans
EC22/B/2
Tail Up published book, written by Sylvia Evans

Folio Box 22

EC22/B/3
Envelope to Alan Evans from Sun Newspapers Ltd
EC22/B/4
Letter received from Womans Daily Mirror re Tail Up
EC22/B/5A-D
Copy for Tail Up
EC22/B/6A-C
Tail Up Correspondence – 1944-1948
 
 

Series C: James John Henderson properties and Manna House: photoprints, certificates of valuation and architectural plans, 1943-1950

Included in this series are valuation certificates, April-May 1943, and pages from photograph albums of the properties owned by Sylvia Evans’ father, James John Henderson, in Arncliffe and Blayney. This series also includes house plans of 34 Killarney Street, Mosman, the home of Sylvia and Alan Evans, 1950 -1995.

Folio Box 22:

EC22/C/1A–2K
Certificates of Valuation, 29 April – 20 May 1943
EC22/C/3
Architectural plans for Manna House - 34 Killarney Street, Mosman [Negatives of Manna House at EC19/PRO/N/189-198]
EC22/C/4A
Photographs of Henderson Properties: Photograph album loose-leaf page featuring the Henderson property – Omagh, Osman Street, Blayney
EC22/C/4B
Photograph album loose-leaf page featuring the Henderson property – Wyandra, Carcoar Street, Blayney
EC22/C/4C
Photograph album loose-leaf page featuring the Henderson property – Enniskillen, Smith Street, Blayney
 
 

Series P: houses and gardens, family and friends: photoprints and 35mm slides, 1926-1957

This series includes silver gelatin prints and coloured slides of the following people and properties:

 
 

Folio Box 23:

EC23/AE/P/1-4
Alan Evans
EC23/AE/P/5
Alan & Sylvia Evans
EC23/ALW/P/1-5
Alwyn, 16 Loftus Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W, 1926 – 1950 – Residence of Alan and Sylvia Evans: Sylvia, James John Henderson & Mildred at Alwyn–25 May 1941
EC23/ALW/P/6
Sylvia, James John Henderson & Mildred at Alwyn–25 May 1941
EC23/ALW/P/7
Lounge chair and bookcase
EC23/ALW/P/8-9
Three-seater lounge
EC23/ALW/P/10
Sylvia, Mildred, James John Henderson and wife in garden
EC23/ALW/P/11-17
Sylvia on lounge chair in garden with ‘Manna’ the dog
EC23/ALW/P/18-25
Alwyn garden fountain and fishpond
EC23/ALW/P/26-29
Front exterior of Alwyn
EC23/ALW/P/30-36
Front view of Alwyn – 15 October 1944
EC23/ALW/P/37-38
Alwyn garden
EC23/ALW/P/39
Study
EC23/ALW/P/40
Sylvia Evans reading in library [Negative at EC4/ALW/N/78-87/79]
EC23/ALW/P/41
Echium Candicans
EC23/ALW/P/42
Eupatorium Megalophyllum (Flower)
EC23/ALW/P/43
Eupatorium Megalophyllum
EC23/ALW/P/44-45
Prostanthera Ovalifolia (Mint Bush)
EC23/ALW/P/46
Prostanthera Ovalifolia – a native shrub
EC23/ALW/P/47
Flower heads in garden
EC23/ALW/P/48-51
James John Henderson & Mary Henderson, Alwyn family dinner
EC23/ALW/P/52
Sylvia and Alan Evans having tea in the back garden at Alwyn – Xmas Day 1940 [Negative at EC2/ALW/NCP/36-47]
EC23/ALW/P/53-54
Sylvia, Mildred and Manna near air-raid shelter in Alwyn backyard
EC23/ALW/P/55
Refrigerator and contents
EC23/ALW/P/56-58
Vanguard – 23 July 1949 [Negatives of Alwyn in boxes at EC1, EC2, EC3 and EC4]
EC23/BUR/P/1-5
Burnham Thorpe, 10 Edward Street, Gordon, N.S.W. – Residence of John Woolcott-Forbes [Negatives of Burnham Thorpe at EC19/PRO/NCP/53-94]
EC23/CLI/P/1-2
Clifton Gardens, address unknown, N.S.W. Vacant block of land – Clifton Gardens [Negatives of Clifton Gardens in Box EC6/CLI]
EC23/DAN/P/1-2
Danehurst, 50 Bower Road, Manly, N.S.W. – Residence of the Burnet family Black and white photograph of front of house from street.
EC23/EVE/P/1
Everglades, Leura, N.S.W. – Residence of Mr & Mrs H. Van de Velde The urn in the courtyard at Everglades
EC23/EVE/P/2
The courtyard at Everglades
EC23/EVE/P/3
Steps leading down to the house – Everglades, Leura
EC23/EVE/P/4
One of the many flowering trees. Everglades
EC23/EVE/P/5
Part of Everglades garden
EC23/EVE/P/6
The goldfish pool at Everglades
EC23/EVE/P/7
Wall fountain at Everglades, Leura
EC23/EVE/P/8
The pool in the garden at Everglades, the Leura home of Mr and Mrs H. Van de Velde
EC23/EVE/P/9
Stocks used as a border to one of the shrubberies
EC23/EVE/P/10
Tulips at Everglades, Leura
EC23/EVE/P/11
The courtyard at Everglades – Squash racquets court and look-out in the background
EC23/EVE/P/12
Everglades, viewed from look-out above squash racquets court
EC23/EVE/P/13
‘No, don’t push her in’ [Sylvia by pool]
EC23/EVE/P/14
Lawn at Everglades, Mount Solitary in the background [Negatives of Everglades at EC18/PRO/N/1-19]
EC23/HEN/P/1
James John Henderson Properties ‘Omagh' and ‘Iona’, Osman Street, Blayney, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/2
‘Wyandra’, Carcoar Street, Blayney, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/3
‘Enniskillen’, Smith Street, Blayney, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/4
‘Achetee House’, 8-10 Victoria Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/5
‘Achetee House’, 8-10 Victoria Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/6
'Rockmoor’, 14 Victoria Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/7
‘Trentham’, 3 Kembla Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/8
‘Stanroy’, 42-44 Bayview Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/9
‘Lidsdale’, 8 Kembla Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W.
EC23/HEN/P/10-25
‘Lidsdale’, 8 Kembla Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W. [Negatives of James John Henderson Properties in Box EC8/HEN]
 
 

Folio Box 24:

EC24/MAN/P/1-10
‘Manna’ – The Evans’ Dog
EC24/MH/P/1-13
Manna House, 34 Killarney Street, Mosman, N.S.W, 1950-1957 - Residence of Alan and Sylvia Evans
34 Killarney Street, Mosman, N.S.W.
EC24/MH/P/14-22
House Exteriors
EC24/MH/P/23-93
House Exteriors/Garden, 1956-57 (35mm coloured Slides) [Architectural Plans for Manna House at EC22/C/3 and photonegatives in Box EC19]
EC24/MIS/P/1-2
Miscellaneous Hillside, Edgecliff, N.S.W.
EC24/MIS/P/3
Woronora Crematorium
EC24/MIS/P/4
‘The wall of Remembrance is at the rear of the main building’
EC24/MIS/P/5
‘Mother’s is in the wall to the right of the gate. 12th in the top row’.
EC24/MIS/P/6
‘Mother’s is 12th from the left in the top row (marked with a cross). The gardens and surroundings are beautiful just now’.
EC24/MIS/P/7
Water view
EC24/PAL/P/1-6
Palmeyrie, 54 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, N.S.W. – Residence of Sir George Francis and Elizabeth Davis [Negatives of Palmeyrie in Box EC10]
EC24/PEO/P/1
People Photograph taken at Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, at departure of Gracie Fields after her triumphant Australian tour [1945]
EC24/PEO/P/2
Family member with Vanguard
EC24/PEO/P/3
Sylvia and Alan Evans, left of Vanguard, with family and friends
EC24/PEO/P/4
Family and friends
EC24/PEO/P/5
Sylvia Evans with Mary Spearman Evans
EC24/PEO/P/6
Sylvia Evans, Mary Spearman Evans, Ethel Gladys Knight (nee Evans) and Arthur Knight
EC24/PEO/P/7
Alan and Sylvia Evans with family and friends
EC24/PEO/P/8
Ship Launch – Cockatoo Island – 20 December 1947 [Negatives of Cockatoo Island at EC9/MIS/NCP/66-72]
EC24/PEO/P/9
Sylvia Evans and Beatrice Evans
EC24/PEO/P/10
Sylvia Evans and family
EC24/PEO/P/11
Mildred May Henderson
EC24/PEO/P/12
Mildred May Henderson
EC24/PEO/P/13-25
Sylvia and family in the Southern Highlands
EC24/ROS/P/1-8
Rosemary Peake Rosemary Peake – Hurstville – 25th December 1947 and Sunday 4th April, 1948
EC24/SYL/P/1-9
Sylvia Evans Sylvia Evans
EC24/SYL/P/10-22
Sylvia Evans in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney – c.1930 [Negatives of Sylvia Evans in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney at EC11/PEO/N/1-31]
EC24/TAI/P/1-6
Tail Up – Photographs taken for Sylvia Evans’ book ‘Tail Up’ Tail Up
EC24/TAI/P/7
‘I would stand at the gauze door’
EC24/TAI/P/8-9
‘The side gate was locked’
EC24/TAI/P/10
‘We would play on the back lawn’
EC24/TAI/P/11
Tail Up [Negatives of photographs taken for ‘Tail Up’ in Box EC20]
EC24/VAU/P/1
72 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, N.S.W. – Residence of Harry and Beatrice Evans Residence of H. J. Evans – 11th August 1946
EC24/VAU/P/2
View from Window – Sunday 3rd October 1948
EC24/VAU/P/3
Garden – Sunday 3rd October 1948
EC24/VAU/P/4-22
Residence of Mr & Mrs H. J. Evans – 23rd November 1946 [Negatives of 72 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse in Box EC21]
 
 

Series N: houses and gardens, family and friends, industrial workplaces and art photography: photonegatives, 1927-1951

This series includes photonegatives and contact prints of properties, family and friends, photographic art, garden landscapes and industrial workplaces.

 
 
EC1/ALW
Alwyn, 16 Loftus Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W., 1927-1947 Alwyn Construction, Interior and Exterior images
EC2/ALW
Alwyn Interior and Exterior images and excavation for air-raid shelter
EC3/ALW
Construction of air-raid shelter, house exterior and garden
EC4/ALW
Alwyn interior and exterior images
 
 
EC5/CAI
Cairnsfoot, 18 Loftus Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W., 1943-1947 – Residence of Elizabeth and Alice May Farleigh Cairnsfoot exterior, Christmas parties & Red Cross Fetes
EC6/CLI
Clifton Gardens, N.S.W., 1944-1948 17 Kardinia Road, Clifton Gardens, N.S.W. – Residence of Leslie Gordon and Florence Louise Klem
32 Kardinia Road, Clifton Gardens, N.S.W. – Residence of the Farleigh Family
EC7/DAV
Davis Gelatine (Aust) Limited, Spring St, Botany, NSW, 1937-1941 Landscaped industrial garden, factory building and laboratory
EC8/HEN
James John Henderson Properties and views of Blayney, 1941 Houses and streetscapes, Blayney, N.S.W. Construction of a new fence for ‘Lidsdale’, 8 Kembla Street, Arncliffe, N.S.W. – Residence of James John Henderson Arncliffe properties owned by James John Henderson
EC9/MIS
Miscellaneous, 1936-1949 Hydro Electric Scheme Launch of 'SS River Hunter', Cockatoo Island Cockatoo Island Foundry The Luxembourg, Bowral Park Lodge, Bundanoon Woronora Crematorium Exeter and Mittagong
EC10/PAL
Palmeyrie, 54 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, N.S.W.), 1937-1943 – Residence of George Francis Davis (Chairman of Directors of Davis Gelatine (Aust.) Pty Ltd, Cockatoo Docks & Engineering Co. Pty Ltd and Mount Frome Lime Co. Pty Ltd Exterior images
EC11/PEO
People, 1930-1949 Sylvia Evans (Winifred) John James Henderson G. Evans Elizabeth Farleigh Beatrice Evans (nee Tange) Peakes at Hurstville Dianne Evans and bedroom interiors
EC12/PHO
Photographic Studies, 1940-1945 Interiors and Still Lifes
EC13-17/PIN
Photographic Studies, 1940-1945 Interiors and Still Life The Pines, Upper Manilla, N.S.W., Undated – Residence of the Nixon Family Interior and exterior images Countryside images
EC18/PRO
Properties, 1938-1941 Everglades, Leura Views of and around Duntry League [Duntryleague] Feltex House, head office of Felt and Textiles of Australia Ltd, cnr Jamison and George Streets, Sydney Burnham-Thorpe - home of John Woolcott-Forbes, Gordon, N.S.W. Visit to Mr and Mrs G.T. Marshall, Mudgee, N.S.W. A.J.Allingham’s home Red Cross Fetes, Lady Fairfax Residence, Wentworth Road, Double Bay, N.S.W.
EC19/PRO
Properties, 1942-1951 Ivor Machin & family, 132 Fullers Road, Chatswood West, NSW Fete at Fairwater, Wentworth Road, Double Bay, N.S.W. Ray Thomas with wife and son Stephen ‘Manna’, 34 Killarney Street, Mosman, N.S.W.
EC20/TAI
‘Tail Up’, 1943-1945 Images used in ‘Tail Up’, written by Sylvia Evans in 1944
EC21/VAU
72 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, N.S.W., 1939-1946 – Residence of Harry and Beatrice Evans H.J. Evans Residence – interior and exterior images
EC21/VH
Vaucluse House, Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, N.S.W., 1920s