Black and white 5" x 4" negative showing two waitresses, a chef and their customers in a cafe in the 1950s.

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

View of cafe. A waitress is receiving a plate from the male chef, and the other waitress is serving a female customer. A small number of other male and female customers are seated in the cafe. The floor is a chequerboard pattern linoleum. At left and right along the walls are booths which seat one or two people. In the remainder of the cafe, a number of laminex tables are each set for four people. On the back wall near the kitchen and servery are ceramic vases and flower arrangements, a clock and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. At left are windows with curtains, and light fittings between the windows. At the front a glass cabinet counter can be glimpsed.

Physical Description

Black and white 5" x 4" cellullose 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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