Black and white 5" x 4" negative showing the Gas and Fuel Corporation Towers, Flinders Street, Melbourne, in the course of construction, 31 August 1966.

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

The Gas and Fuel Corporation Towers, Flinders Street, Melbourne, in the course of construction, 1967. The building, constructed of brown brick and aluminium windows, was built over the Flinders Street railway yards. Demolished in 1997, the building occupied the site of present day Federation Square. To the right of the Towers is the CRA building, another landmark: constructed in 1963, it was Melbourne's tallest building until 1969. It was demolished in 1980. Other city buildings including the Forum Theatre and St Patrick's cathedral are also visble in the photograph.

Physical Description

Black and white 5" x 4" cellulose acetate negative


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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