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Baglin, Douglass Hinton (1926–2010)

by Charis Chang

To some, Douglass Baglin’s life might have seemed like one long adventure.

But the prolific international photographer, filmmaker and author was also a tireless heritage campaigner in Hunters Hill.

Baglin, who died aged 84 on October 7, left one of Australia’s most extensive image libraries.

He was part of the vanguard of the Australian conservation movement who lived in Hunters Hill in the 1960s and formed the Hunters Hill Trust.

A lover of heritage buildings, Baglin lived in one of the oldest homes in the area, Villa Floridiana, from 1956-88.

He took photos for the Trust, helping to get the area declared a conservation area in 1981 and captured its beauty in Hunter’s Hill: Australia’s Oldest Garden Suburb and The Heritage of Hunters Hill.

But although Baglin loved Hunters Hill, his photographic eye wandered far and wide.

One of his first commissions was as part of Sir Edward Hallstrom’s 1959 expedition, where he filmed the first European contact with New Guinea’s pygmies in Jimmi River Valley.

He was Australia’s official photographer for The America’s Cup Challenge in 1967 and his work has been published in Life, National Geographic and Bunte of Germany. More than 80 books feature his photos, including Sandstone Sydney and Dinky-di Dunnies. "His adventures were many and often the stuff of Boys Own Annual," said his niece and collaborator Yvonne Austin.

On his 19th birthday Baglin enlisted in the RAAF as a trainee pilot but was upset when the war finished two months later. At 22, he was on expedition in New Guinea, she said.

In 2007 Baglin received a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division (OAM) for his service to the community as a photographer of indigenous people, plants and wildlife of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands and of historic buildings, particularly in the Hunters Hill district.

Many of his photos were donated to the State Library, including more than 7000 Hunters Hill negatives and transparencies.

"His work is impressive for its sheer volume and range of subject matter," said State Library photography curator Alan Davies. Baglin, who had no children, died at Redleaf Manor, Concord.

A service was held at All Saints Anglican Church, Hunters Hill, and he was buried on Wednesday next to his wife Elaine at their property, Merrendee, near Mudgee.

Original publication

  • North Shore Times (Sydney), 14 October 2010

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Citation details

Charis Chang, 'Baglin, Douglass Hinton (1926–2010)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/baglin-douglass-hinton-13392/text24039, accessed 13 November 2019.

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