Summary

Black and white 5" x 4" negative showing male managers inspecting fluorescent light fittings being manufactured by a group of female factory workers in a workshop at an electrical appliance factory in Sturt Street, South Melbourne on 17 March 1971.

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

Two male managers inspecting fluorescent light fittings manufactured by a group of female factory workers in a workshop at an electrical appliance factory. The women, wearing dresses and skirts, are working standing up at long benches with overhead lights. Cables drop down from the gantry above to the workspace. In the background is a small group of three men, probably also inspecting newly made light fittings.

Physical Description

Black and white 5" x 4" cellullose acetate 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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