Charles Edward Bruges Hammond was born in London in 1870. He left home at fifteen, sailing to New Zealand and Australia. For some years he moved between England and Australia finally settling in Belgrave, Victoria. He recorded his experiences in several sketch books which the Library holds.

The sketchbooks contain watercolours, photographs, clippings and detailed inscriptions of his life, family and times. He traveled widely throughout Victoria and produced landscapes of many areas such as Tecoma, Fernshawe, Healesville, Glen Waverley, Upwey, Sassafras, Belgrave, and Monbulk.

 A 1935 watercolour featuring chestnut trees in Kallista, Victoria.

Chestnuts in autumn, Kallista, Vic. May 1935, H90.73/8

In 1897 he sketched the biggest fire seen in Melbourne up to that time. The illustration featured in newspapers and magazines all around the world.

Charlie Hammond draws himself sketching a Melbourne fire in 1897.

[A few minutes later…sketching the biggest fire in the history of Melbourne];  Sketchbook no. 3 (page 74), H90.72/3

For many years Hammond worked on commissions from leading newspapers and magazines, illustrating major events including the Spanish-American War and the Boer War. Between 1900 and 1910 he produced a series of postcards based on the poems of Adam Lindsay Gordon and “Banjo” Patterson. At the time of his death Charles Hammond was very well known locally as an artist and photographer. He died in 1953 in Tecoma in the Dandenongs, Victoria.

A watercolour of Lorne, Victoria, taken from a Charlie Hammond sketchbook.

She-Oak, Lorne; taken from Illustrated Diary no. 6 (page 12), H90.73/1

 A watercolour of a bush hut taken from a Charlie Hammond sketchbook

The first hut, built of bush saplings; taken from Sketchbook containing watercolours, drawings, photographs…(page 8), H90.72/7

You can view the Charles Hammond sketchbooks online. The Library also holds the hard-back book Charlie Hammond’s sketch-book, and there is a website dedicated to him, written by his relatives.


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  1. thank you for posting these. They are really beautiful and are helpful to my research about families in this period in Victorian history. The drawings are a lovely example of a home’s interior. The colours have endured really well.

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