Summary

Black and white 5" x 4" negative showing a view of the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne, in 1956, featuring various buildings including Young and Jackson Hotel and a number of shops and offices. The streets have been decorated with lights and flags to commemorate the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne. The photograph has been taken with a long exposure, making a particular feature out of the lighting on the tram tracks.

This image is part of the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria comprising approximately 85,000 negatives taken by the Melbourne based Laurie Richards Studio between the 1950s -1970s. These negatives are all mostly large format [5"x 4"/ 12.5 x 10 cm], black and white images, though a significant number are in colour. The many photographic jobs that were undertaken in the course of thirty years are itemised in a set of log books, copies of which are also held by Museum Victoria.

Laurie Richards was a professional photographer who began his career as a photo-journalist, working for the Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide, and the Argus and the Herald newspapers in Melbourne. In 1953, he opened his own business and set up a photographic studio at his home at 4 Tower Avenue, Alphington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. At its peak, in the late 1960s, the Laurie Richards Studio was one of Melbourne's pre-eminent commercial photographic studios, employing twelve photographers. The Laurie Richards Studio worked mainly in advertising and public relations, and had a broad clientele which included commercial companies, government institutions and the entertainment industry.

Description of Content

A view of the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne. A large model of the Olympic torch is lit up on a building on Swanston Street, just north of the corner of Flinders Street. Young and Jackson Hotel and a number of shops and offices nearby have neon signage advertising products such as Penfolds wine, The Argus newspaper, and Tucker Box dog and cat food. The photograph has been taken with a long exposure, making a feature out of the lighting on the tram tracks. On the tram tracks there are bright white tubes of light snaking along Swanston Street. The cars moving through the intersection have 'ghosted'. A solitary person stands at the tram stop on the south side of Swanston Street.

Physical Description

Black and white 5" x 4" photographic negative

Significance

Because of the breadth of both the subject matter photographed and the diverse businesses which commissioned the work, and the excellent documentation that accompanies the collection, the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria is an invaluable record of Melbourne’s commercial and industrial past and as such gives an insight into the social history of that period.

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