Final Harbour Picture | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Final Harbour Picture

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Final Harbour Picture

This is the final picture and may answer a lot of questions. Is it Macau or Canton. It is from the same set as all the others.

Thanks to all you experts for whatever turns up.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, January 1, 1860


The hill on the right looks like Guia Hill in  Macau. You can see, vaguely, the chapel and to its right, the lighthouse.

Macau. How do you know it was taken in 1860?

Thanks you both for your comments. I suspect it was around 1860 as it is one of the earliest pictures in my family collection and my great grandfather was is Lisbon in 1858 where I think he shipped out to HK etc..

Afraid there is no date stampt on the back!


Yes, this photo is of Macau looking north from Penha Hill. This scene was very popular with artists. For a comparison shot:

The photo that you have is probably from the 1890s as there are postcards that quote this period and contain similar views. 

here is a shot I took looking north from Penha Hill back in October.

Hmmm, I suspect we are all in agreement as to which one is preferable...



Hi there,

We've got to get Mr Tall to take a look at that particularly eye soring skyscraper in the middle.  Comparing with the 'Nasal Hair cutter' he Christianed I guess I would rather have the 'Nasal Hair cutter' than that 'thing'.

What on earth is that building anyway?

Best Regards,


That's Stanley Ho's Lisboa Hotel with modern nail-cutting edge technology!

Hi there,

Ugh..... while I have heard of good things about the restaurants and wine cellars of both the Lisboa Hotels last year, that 'image' really made me loose my appetite..........

Best Regards,


...actually I think it was modelled on his new catheter :-)



Thanks to all. A return to the past would do a great deal of good. What a monstrosity Macao is now. 

Modsey your link to the black and white etching is the clincher. Thanks again.

1856 Lithograph view of Macao from Penha Hill

9.5 x 7 inches /24.1 x 17.8 cm

1856 Macao from Penha Hill

I think that proves it once and for all.

Many thanks,


Cause of the road conditions in the fisrt line; in 1872 onw of the worst typhoon affected the Praia Grande Bay; if you send me the photo - with larger scale - to my e-mail I'll have more details. It's for sure the Baia da Praia Grande!

I can only weep when I look at what was done to Macau...

From the timeless beauty of the praya grande view above, to the brash casino culture vulgarity that now reigns supreme.

Even in my short time of going there I have seen the place degenerate from a most intriguing and romantic getaway, staying at the historic Belavista hotel (from where this picture may very well have been taken), to a grotty tip.

I lived a stones throw from 'Ho Tuk Fu', or the Governors Office, which is still there today, on the LHS of the photo.

Not to mention the simply breathtaking rudeness of the immigration staff these days, and how they treat visitors on arrival.

Plain depressing.

Check the last picture of the slideshow here (click photos to expand and navigate)

It looks like a closer angle view of an older version of this place.

These photos are from 1844 (!!), they are the oldest known photographs of China, and I had the chance to see the originals, on silver plates. They will be exhibited in Shanghai this year 2013, I guess many people here will be interested.

I am sure you are right. Also I suspect that my image, which seems to be part of a set may well be taken much earlier than the 1860, that I had estimated as the earliest.

They may well have been bought by my great grandfather shortly after his arrival at that time as all are printed on very light paper and are just under postcard size and seem to be part of a set.

Thanks for your help.


I do not think they could be older than 1880 as quality photographic paper print technology was not available before then.

Again thanks for the information CH.

I wonder what sort of date you would put on the example above? I have several whicjh seem to be a set with the same black border around them. They are obviously very old and show various views including one of a pagoda which, if memory serves me was taken from the river and is south of Canton. I will see if I can find any more and post them if I do.