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James Francis (Frank) Hurley (1885-1962), adventurer, photographer and film maker, was born on 15 October 1885 at Glebe, Sydney, second son of Edward Harrison Hurley, Lancashire-born printer and trade union official, and his wife Margaret Agnes, née Bouffier, of French descent. At 13 Frank ran away from Glebe Public School and worked in the steel mill at Lithgow, returning home two years later. At night he studied at the local technical school and attended science lectures at the University of Sydney. He became interested in photography, buying his own Kodak box camera for 15 shillings. In 1905 he joined Harry Cave in a postcard business in Sydney and began to earn a reputation for the high technical quality of his work and for the extravagant risks he took to secure sensational images, such as a famous shot taken from the rails in front of an onrushing train. He also gave talks at photographic club meetings and in 1910 mounted the first exhibition of his work in Sydney.

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