Photograph, Captain John Macdonald; Unknown Photographer; 1900; BL.P587


Photograph, Captain John Macdonald

About this object

This photograph is of Captain John Macdonald who was the first signal man in Bluff Harbour stationed at the top of Motupōhue (Bluff Hill). The site afforded a commanding view allowing the signalman, by use of flags attached to a mast, to communicate with the ships and the shore below. The original mast still survives and can be seen outside the Bluff Maritime Museum.

Working and living atop Motupōhue was hard for the MacDonalds. Due to the isolated barren nature of the hill top, the family needed to be completely self-sufficient. With no road up Motupōhue, all supplies had to be carried up the hill on the couples backs. They cleared the surrounding bush, established a garden and imported goats to provide milk, butter and cheese and from then on, the Macdonald's required little contact with the town below.

This is a reproduction of the original image.

Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Bluff


Unknown Photographer

Maker Role


Date Made



h 600 mm x w 450 mm



Object Type


Subject and Association Keywords

People and Families (including births, weddings, deaths)

Subject and Association Keywords


Medium and Materials

organic, vegetal, processed material, paper, photographic paper

Object number


Copyright Licence  

Public Domain - No rights reserved - no known copyright restrictions No rights reserved - no known copyright restrictions

This object is from

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