Elijah Hart - community activities


Volunteer Rifle Corps 

The West Maitland Volunteer Rifle Corps was one of a number formed in N.S.W. in 1860 following a proclamation by Governor Denison which called for volunteers to serve with companies of infantry, cavalry and artillery.

Elijah Hart was sworn in to the Corps on October 24 1860, number 31 on the roll; a line has been drawn across his signature   with the annotation ‘resigned’, without a date recorded.


BEFORE AND AFTER DRILL, VOLUNTEERS should have their PORTRAITS TAKEN, so that they may perceive the wonderful improvement effected in their manly bearing by a few month’s drill.

E. HART, Photographer, of West Maitland, in calling the attention of the gallant Volunteers to the above, would respectfully suggest the propriety of an early call, so that they may secure these desirable Souvenirs, which can be presented to their Lady-loves, with the appropriate motto, We Arm To Defend. [1]   

Muster roll of the Northern Volunteer Rifle Corps (later known as the West Maitland Volunteer Rifle Corps) has been digitised by Maitland City Library and is available to view via the Maitland City Library’s website.

Private W. Sloan, Ensign A. Wilkinson
Image : Maitland City Library


Maitland School of Arts

Hart’s involvement with the Maitland School of Arts was first reported in 1858 with his presentation on the subject of photography and his association with the organisation continued, serving as Vice President and as a committee member, until at least 1875.

A lecture on "Photography" was delivered by Mr. Elijah Hart, at the School of Arts, on Thursday evening. The President occupied the chair. The lecturer briefly explained the optical laws in their bearing on the photographic art, and illustrated his remarks by exhibiting a number of impressions of leaves, lace, portraits, &o. He gave a concise history of the origin and development of the beautiful process of drawing by light, showing that like every other great discovery its promoters had to encounter many obstacles.  [3]

Hart was instrumental in initiating and organising the Maitland exhibition at the School of Arts in 1861. The displays included ‘some admirable portraits’ by Hart himself.  [4] 

The Governor’s visit to the Hunter River district in 1872 included His Excellency visiting the Maitland School of Arts, where he was received by the Rev J Benvie (president) Mr E Hart (vice-president), Mr J M Cant (secretary ), and the whole of the committee.  [5]

Maitland  Philharmonic Institute

At the first annual meeting of the Maitland Philharmonic Institute in 1858saw Elijah Hart appointed to the Committee [6] and he remained as vice-president until the society closed in 1861.  [7]


St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Maitland - Elijah Hart
Image : State  Library of Victoria

St. Paul’s Anglican Church

On 23 September 1856 the foundation stone of St. Paul’s Anglican Church was laid by the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr. Tyrrell, with a list of members of the Committee including Elijah Hart. Other committee members included well-known Maitland citizens such as Edward Capper, Benjamin Lee, and Alexander Wilkinson. [2]

[1] Maitland Mercury, 3 November 1860

[2] A short history of St. Paul’s Church, West Maitland; Jubilee 1858-1918 ;   Maitland Mercury, 25 Sept 1856  

[3] Empire (Sydney), 5 April 1858

[4] Maitland Mercury, 2 July 1861

[5] Maitland Mercury, 21 September 1872

[6] Maitland Mercury, 8 April 1858

[7] Maitland Mercury, 31 Oct 1861