State Library of South Australia logo Foundation documents 1852-1883
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Paul Heinrich Matthias Foelsche; police inspector and photographer
Title : Paul Heinrich Matthias Foelsche; police inspector and photographer Paul Heinrich Matthias Foelsche; police inspector and photographer
Add To My SA Memory
Source : B 6968
Date of creation : ca. 1880
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Paul Foelsche, Inspector

Paul Heinrich Matthias Foelsche was born in 1831 in Germany. In 1856 he migrated to Australia where he worked first on the Victorian goldfields. In November 1856 he was appointed as a trooper in the Mounted Police. He later transferred to Strathalbyn in South Australia. Here he was appointed sub-inspector in charge of the Northern Territory Mounted Police.

In 1870 Foelsche relocated to Palmerston (Darwin) in the Northern Territory and worked as a police inspector. He developed a formidable reputation for solving crimes, particularly those involving Indigenous suspects. Some years later, Foelsche published a significant paper entitled 'Notes on the Aborigines of North Australia'. This was read to the Royal Society of South Australia on 2 August 1881.

From the early 1870s Foelsche succeeded Captain Samuel White Sweet as the Northern Territory's foremost photographer, capturing images of local people (especially Indigenous people), landscapes, businesses and industries. Foelsche died in 1914.

Related names :

Foelsche, Paul Heinrich Matthias (1831 - 1914)

Sweet, Samuel White (1825 - 1886)

Goyder, George Woodroffe (1826 - 1898)

Larrakia, Australian Aboriginal peoples

Coverage year : 1880
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Darwin (Palmerston)
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :

Downer, S Patrol indefinite: the Northern Territory Police Force Adelaide : Rigby, 1977

Jones, Philip, G The policeman's eye : the frontier photography of Paul Foelsche Adelaide : South Australian Museum, 2005

Jones, Philip, G Ochre and rust : artefacts and encounters on Australian frontiers Kent Town, S. Aust. : Wakefield Press, 2007

Foelsche, P 'Notes on the Aborigines of North Australia' Transactions and Proceedings and Report of the Royal Society of South Australia, 5 (1881-82), Adelaide, S. Aust. : The Society, 1879-1889

Foelsche, P The photography of Paul Foelsche : centenary exhibition, Darwin 1970 Darwin: Corporation of the City of Darwin, 1970

Noye, RJ 'Foelsche, Paul Heinrich Matthias (1831 - 1914)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, Melbourne University Press, 1972, pp 192-193.

Internet links :

Jones, P The Policeman's Eye Website, Paul Foelsche's Frontier Photography, South Australian Museum

Noye, RJ Australian dictionary of biography online edition Foelsche, Paul Heinrich Matthias (1831 - 1914)

Exhibitions and events :

South Australian Museum, The Policeman's Eye, Exhibition, the photography of Foelsche, February 2005

South Australian Museum, Foelsche's Aboriginal Portraits, Portraits of Larrakia People, see 'Portraits' menu on right hand side for more images.



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on