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Argyle Cut Theme: Cities & Suburbs

Artist: Harold CAZNEAUX
Birth/Death: 1878–1953

Title: Argyle Cut

Credit Line: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Harold Cazneaux took this photograph of children in the Rocks area of Sydney in 1912. The small scale of the children contrasts with the immense height of the rock walls and bridges that rise above them.

It was not Cazneaux’s intention to make a social record or protest at the conditions in which they lived. However, there is a poignancy about the innocent timidity of the children which contrasts sharply with the notorious history of the place where they stand.

Argyle Cut is literally hewn out of the sandstone rock. It had been the underground home of thugs, petty gangsters and rats up until 1900 when the plague forced the civic authorities to sanitise the area.

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