Norrie and Sutcliffe was a commercial photographic company active in Victoria, Australia, circa 1885.
An album containing eighty-four prints, mounted two to a page, and measuring approximately 200 x 145 mm. All prints have handwritten copperplate captions, and most of the older photographs have the embossed stamp in one corner of the photographers Norrie and Sutcliffe of Melbourne. The prints show scenes in Melbourne and other Victorian towns, notably Walhalla and Ballarat, and various country scenes.
Victoria, only legally constituted a colony in 1851, saw a furious growth in material prosperity and population in the second half of the twentieth century. Gold was discovered at Ballarat, Clunes and Mt. Alexander in July and August 1851, and a large influx of immigrants immediately followed. Boom towns rose from the desert, and by 1853, the eighteen-year-old City of Melbourne (in fact only officially a city since 1847) had a university and a public library. In a few years Melbourne's streets were paved, and illuminated by gas. The returns from the goldfields were consolidated, not without periods of economic chaos and the threat of recession, and the advances of the colony were celebrated in exhibitions in 1866, 1874 and most lavishly of all in 1880-1881. The decade of the 1880s was one of land speculation and building - between 1880 and 1890 the number of houses in the city increased by 80%, and many of the buildings illustrated in this album were erected during these years of boundless optimism in the infinite expansion of the state's resources. The depression came in with the new decade and while the fine buildings stood, many were untenanted and their builders bankrupted; the land boom had ended by 1891; in the next year the building industry was at a virtual standstill; and in 1893 overseas capital fled and many banks and companies closed their doors. The 'marvellous Melbourne' of the 1880s faced a long and laborious climb back to prosperity.
Presented to the Royal Colonial Institute by Senator the Honourable Sir William Zeal, K.C.M.G., Melbourne, Victoria in August 1903.