Dr Thomas George Beckett Collection




Museum Victoria holds over 300 photographs - glass plate negatives and prints - taken by Thomas George Beckett between 1891 and 1911. Beckett's photographs include a wide range of subject matters including domestic environments, hospitals, houses and mansions, portraits, private gardens, shops, streetscapes, wharves and x-ray apparatus. The various suburbs and their environments in which he lived in around Melbourne (Charlton, Northcote, South Yarra and Fitzroy) are the backdrop for much of the collection.

Thomas George Beckett was born in London in 1859. He studied medicine in Edinburgh and qualified in 1880. In 1885 he migrated to Victoria, Australia, with his wife Kate and son, George. They later had four other children Helen, Lawrence, Kathleen and Maud (who died in infancy). Beckett was a keen amateur photographer and took many photos of his family, friends and of his local neighbourhoods, especially Charlton, Northcote and central Melbourne. He was also keenly interested in shipping and took many photos of visiting ships to Melbourne's ports, and the local naval defence forces.He commenced practice in the north central Victorian town of Charlton in 1885, moving his practice and family in 1892 to Northcote, a northern Melbourne suburb. In 1905 they moved house and practice to 340 St Kilda Road, South Yarra and around 1913 to 132 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, opposite the Exhibition Building. These environs provide the setting for much of the collection.Beckett was one of a small number of medical practitioners in Melbourne to make radiology an important and successful part of their private practices in the early 20th century. A skilled electrician and woodworker, Beckett built his first x-ray apparatus, even constructing his own batteries, and building the cabinets and tables for the apparatus. The collection includes a photograph of this machine in Beckett's Northcote surgery, around 1900-1902.This collection of over 300 photos documents family life and social change in Victoria at the turn of the 20th century and the development of x-ray as a part of general medical practice in Melbourne.

Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre


1891-1911; Australian Native Animals; Backyards; Bridges; Children's Play; Churches; Clothing; Doctors; Dogs; Domestic Animals; Domestic Environment; Domestic life; Families; Fences; Gardens; General Practice Medicine; Healthcare & Medicine; Hospitals; Houses; Infants; Marine Transport; Medical Equipment; Naval Vessels; Photographers; Portraits; Radiography; Shipping; Ships; Shops; Streetscapes; Toys; Verandahs; Water transport; Wharves; X-Ray Equipment

Coverage Spatial

London, England, United Kingdom; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Northcote, Victoria, Australia; Bendigo, Victoria, Australia; Charlton, Victoria, Australia; Williamstown, Victoria, Australia

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