Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Davidson, Dorothy



Dorothy Davidson is known for modernist style photographs which captured life on board cruising ships.


There is not a great deal of biographical information about Dorothy Davidson, nor is there information currently available of when she developed an interest in photography. She may have been the daughter of Mr and Mrs W.S. Davidson of Wallsend, NSW. She may also have married Frank Farrow, a Corporal with the AIF in 1943. Neither of these possibilities has been confirmed.

What is known, however, is that she produced two albums of photographs depicting life on board cruising ships in the interwar period. It has been suggested that she was friendly with the captains of some of the cruise ships travelling around the Australian coast during the period 1930-1940s (Hall 79). Such connections enabled Davidson's travel on these ships, and her photographs record life on board, depicting the crew and passengers in their day to day activities as well as the ships' architecture, and the surrounding ocean.

Davidson's photographs are modernist in style and have a contemporary quality to them (Hall 79). She experimented with different angles to frame her work - see, for instance, the images taken from a diagonal angle. In other photographs a vantage point from above was taken. Davidson also used the shadows against waves to define the presence of the ship against the sea.


Dorothy Davidson Collection, Museum of Victoria


1930 - 1940
Active as amateur photographer
Exhibition - Dorothy Davidson's work featured in the Australian Women Photographers 1840-1950exhibition. Location: George Paton Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria.

Anne Maxwell (with Morfia Grondas and Lucy Van)

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