Melbourne based colonial surveyor who produced photographic portraits of the Indigenous Australian cricket team before they toured England in 1867. Some were in their cricket whites, but most were posed with weapons such as boomerangs.
professional photographer and surveyor(?), he was thought to be possibly the surveyor 'Dawson’ who was taught photography by Walter Woodbury in the early 1850s when they were briefly surveying together in the Victorian bush. The surveyor was William Dawson and any relationship with Patrick has not been determined. By 1866 Patrick Dawson had his own photographic studio in Victoria, being listed both at Grey Street, Hamilton and Liebeg Street, Warrnambool in 1866-68. He gave both addresses when exhibiting six untouched life-size portrait photographs at the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition and won a medal for them. Thereafter he appears to have been at Hamilton only (always his main studio).
At Warrnambool in October 1867 the members of the Aboriginal cricket team about to tour England were individually photographed by Dawson together with their white managers. Only five of the thirteen Aborigines were posed in cricket flannels or holding bat or ball (and one of them did not sail to England); the rest were clad in ludicrously inappropriate athletics outfits and posed with boomerangs, spears and spear throwers, clubs and shields. The Europeans managing the team, on the other hand, were dressed in exemplary fashion: one as a (non-playing) cricketer, the second as a business manager (taken later seated in a studio) and the third as a gent in a top hat with bat tucked casually under his arm. The sixteen oval photographs were then assembled by Dawson into a composite picture which he issued as a small-scale souvenir in an ambrotype case (Melbourne Cricket Club Museum). It was also lithographed and published by de Gruchy of Melbourne; a print is in the Marylebone Cricket Club (Lords, London). Entitled Australian Aboriginal Cricketers , it had scrolls, a coat of arms, boomerangs, spears, bat and stumps added to the portrait photographs. The resulting image was described in the Warrnambool Examiner of 8 October 1867: 'the picture is 18 inches by 24 inches, the portraits being formed in an oval mounted on cardboard, the borders beautifully lithographed in black and gold.’ 'Photographed by P. Dawson, Hamilton, Victoria’ appears prominently on the base. Dawson produced the work at cost and it clearly took him much (unpaid) time.
He was still in business at Hamilton in 1872 when he showed a life-size photographic portrait, 'absolutely untouched, printed by the solar camera by development on silver salt’, at the Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition. No further work is known beyond this date and presumably the business closed down.