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Herbert John King

Herbert John ('H.J.') King (1892–1973), photographer and field naturalist, earned his living in the family's Launceston cycle business. He was an enthusiastic motorcyclist whether racing or exploring Tasmania. From 1912 many of his pictorial black-and-white compositions won prizes or were exhibited in Australia and abroad. An innovator, King experimented with colour processes (for slides and 16 mm movies) and specialised techniques. His interest in Tasmania's natural history came to dominate his photography and his life. He was generous in sharing his passion and expertise, and was a prominent member of the Launceston Field Naturalists Club. King's pioneering efforts in collecting and photographing Tasmania's flora prompted Lord Talbot de Malahide to undertake the six-part The endemic flora of Tasmania (London, 1967–78).

Further reading: ADB 15; H King, Tasmania remembered, Launceston, 1974; R Ferrall, Tasmanians all, Launceston, 1982; J Branagan & M Woodroffe, Tasmania revisited, Launceston, [1989]; C Long, Tasmanian photographers, Hobart, 1995.

Margaret Tassell