From the 1940s when he went on the road hitchhiking with his camera and typewriter in tow until his death in 2010 Jeff Carter tirelessly honoured “ordinary Australians”. He documented and celebrated the battlers, itinerant bush workers, fruit pickers, fishermen, mill hands and other labourers capturing the mood of the country’s working classes.  He also photographed Australia’s cities capturing the nascent coastal lifestyle that would later become a hallmark for Australian iconography.
He left behind one of Australia’s most remarkable and historically significant photographic archives- in all, more than 150,000 images of Australian life. Carter had authored and illustrated 20 books on rural, coastal and outback life. As a photojournalist his images and essays were featured in newspapers and local and international picture magazines. He also filmed, wrote and produced Wild Country, a popular and widely acclaimed award winning television series about Australia that was sold around the world. With his second wife and long time collaborator, author Mare Carter; he also established a popular educational wildlife refuge and park at Foxground in New South Wales.


In the early 1990s Carter began exhibiting his work for the first time, and its importance was quickly recognised by leading art galleries, museums and private collectors both in Australia and overseas.

Carter died aged 82 years, just prior to the opening of a major retrospective of his work, curated by Sandra Byron, for the State Library of New South Wales. The library acquired all of the works in the exhibition for its permanent collection and the show toured extensively throughout regional NSW in 2012 and 2013. To view the illustrated exhibition brochure click here.

This exhibition was accompanied by a documentary on Carter’s life and work Inland Heart: The photographs of Jeff Carter by award winning filmmaker Catherine Hunter. This draws together the themes and passions of a lifetime of photographic enquiry and includes his final road trip and interviews.
To order this DVD please email your request here.

In 2015 the National Library of Australia further added to its representation of Carter’s work by acquiring a very significant selection of Carter’s negatives, prints and documents. These works are in addition to its existing holdings which have already been digitized and can be viewed here



Jeff Carter

Born August 5, 1928  Gardenvale, Melbourne.

Educated: Melbourne Boys’ High School (1942-46) and private  tutoring in Journalism and Fiction writing.

Collections- Selected

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The Art Gallery of New South Wales

The National Gallery of Victoria

The Art Gallery of South Australia

The National Library, Canberra

The State Library of NSW

The Victorian State Library

The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Waverley City Gallery, Melbourne
Australian National Maritime Museum
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
Numerous Private and Corporate Collections



1946-49 on the road (hitch-hiking) with typewriter and camera,

selling short stories and illustrated fact articles based on his

experiences working with horses, cattle, professional fishermen out

of Eden, fruit picking, road working gangs, hotel bouncer, travelling

sideshows, sugar milling, cotton and woollen mills, etc.

1949-54 became editor of Outdoors & Fishing magazine, while

continuing to freelance to a wide variety of Australian magazines.

Became increasingly interested in photography, which was entirely

self taught.

1954-72 resigned as editor to travel rural and outback Australia in a

series of land rovers as a fulltime freelance photo-journalist. Lived

exclusively from sales to such magazines as: Walkabout, Pix,

People, Womens Weekly, Womans Day, Man, Everybody’s, The

Bulletin, Wheels, Modern Motor, etc., plus newspaper illustrated


Also contributor to international magazines via agencies camera

press and Black Star, including Life, National Geographic, Paris

match, Epoca, Picture Post, Esquire, Merian.

1962-72 settled on a 45 hectare farm at Foxground on NSW near

south coast. Continued travelling coastal and outback Australia,

producing a wide range of illustrated magazine articles on the

lifestyles of coastal and rural Australians. Wrote and illustrated

seventeen books on his adventures and encounters.

1972-74 filmed, wrote and produced television series Wild Country

for the Seven Network. At the 1974 Australian Film Awards, an

episode won several awards, including Best Documentary, Best

Director, Best Editing. The series later showed in ten overseas

countries, following showings at the annual television festival in

Cannes, France.

1975-80 Lived and worked in Spain and other European countries.

1981-85 Head teacher of photography at the Wollongong campus

of the National Art School.

1985-90 Continued freelance magazine activities, travelling widely

in outback Australia and Europe. Wrote and illustrated several more


1991 Showed work to Sandra Byron, then Curator of Photography at the Art

Gallery of New South Wales, who acquired the first group of his

images for a public collection. Following this his works were

acquired for the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery

of Australia, The National Library of Australia, the Art Gallery of

South Australia, the Australian National Museum, The Powerhouse

Museum, other major public institutions, corporate bodies and

private collectors in Australia and overseas.

1992-2002 Continued to travel and photograph in Australia and


2004 Jeff Carter received the Australia Council’s Visual Arts/Craft

Board emeritus award.

2005 A Retrospective of Jeff Carter’s black and white images was

published by New Holland Press.

Selected Solo Exhibitions and selected Group Shows:

Focus Oz, 1991-2 – Berry NSW

Untitled, 1992 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

Saturday Arvo, 1993 – Stills Gallery, Sydney

Untitled, 1994 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

Concerned Viewer, 1995 – Photographers Gallery, Sydney

Beach, Bush & Battlers, 1995 – Byron-Mapp Gallery, Sydney

Battlers, 1996 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

Battlers, 1998 – Byron-Mapp Gallery, Sydney

Sydney Images, 1996 – Byron-Mapp Gallery, Sydney

Battlers, 1999 – Penrith Regional Gallery, NSW

Battlers, 1999 – Brisbane City Art Gallery, Brisbane

A Hungry Eye, 1999 – Dick Bett Gallery, Hobart

8 Seconds High!, 1999 – Christine Abrahams Gallery

Selected Images, 1999 – Paris Photo Show, Paris

The Way We Were, 2000 – Byron-Mapp Gallery, Sydney

Gallery Artists, 2000 – Byron-Mapp Gallery, Sydney

Selected Images, 2000 – Paris Photo Show, Paris

Battlers, 2000 – Gippsland Regional Art Gallery

Charles Kerry/Jeff Carter, 2001 – Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney

Images 1950-2000, 2001 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

Federation (Contrib. Artist), 2001 – National Gallery of Australia

Images 1950-2000, 2001 – Byron-Mapp Gallery, Sydney

Battlers, 2002 – Myrtleford, Victoria

Big River Show (Contrib. Artist), 2002 – Wagga Regional Art

Gallery, NSW

8 Seconds High!, 2003 – Museum of The Riverina, Wagga

Retrospective, 2003 – Monash Gallery of Art, VIC

Images 1950-2001 – National Trust Parliament Place Gallery, Melbourne

8 Seconds High! 2003 – Shear Outback, Hay, NSW

Icon Images, 2003 – Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

Jeff Carter , 2004 – Sandra Byron Gallery

Jeff Carter: Retrospective, 2005-Exhibition and Book Launch

Jeff Carter: Vintage Works 2006-Sandra Byron Gallery.
These Two Hands, 2008- Byron McMahon Gallery
Beach, Bush and Battlers: Photographs by Jeff Carter-2011
State Library of New South Wales.
This exhibition was toured by SLNSW throughout 2012 and 2013
to Regional Public Libraries at Griffith, Condobolin, Dubbo, Lithgow,
Singleton, Newcastle, Parkes, Orange, Albury, Glen Innes, Wagga Wagga,
Cootamundra and Penrith.

To accompany this SLNSW exhibition Catherine Hunter produced and directed
Inland Heart: The Photography of Jeff Carter

Carter’s works have also been exhibited in countries including Japan, Portugal, United States and France.
Books By Jeff Carter:

People of the Inland, Rigby 1966, 67, 68, 70, 73

The Life & Land Of Central Australia, Angus & Robertson 1967

In The Tracks of the Cattle, A&R 1968

Stout Hearts & Leathery Hands, Rigby 1968, 78

Surf Beaches of Australia’s East Coast, A&R 1968

Outback in Focus, Rigby 1968, 70

In The Steps of The Explorers, A&R 1969

Four-Wheel Drive Swagman, Rigby 1969, 70(Twice) 71, 73, 74, 77

The New Frontier, Australia’s Rising Northwest, A&R 1971

A Guide to Central Australia, Sun Books, 1972, 77

Wild Country, Rigby 1971, 72, 74, 77

Wild Country, Robert Hale, London, 1972

Ungezahmtes Land (Wild Country), Englebert, Germany 1977

Wild Animal Farm, Rigby 1972

Jeff Carters Great Book of the Australian Outdoors, Rigby, 1976

1977 Target Stores Edition 1978

All Things Wild, Rigby 1977

Jeff Carters Guided Tours of the Outback, Rigby 1979

The Australian Explorers Handbook, Hodder & Stoughton 1987

From The Alice to the Arctic, Hodder & Stoughton 1989

Complete Guide to Central Australia, Hodder & Stoughton 1989,

90, 91 (Co-Authored With Mare Carter)

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