Kodak Heritage Collection




The Kodak Heritage Collection documents the history of Kodak Australasia, and its predecessors the Austral Plate Company, and Baker and Rouse Australia Laboratory. With over 3,000 items and archival material, the collection is extensive in its representation of the photographic industry in both Melbourne and Australia, and documents key themes such as photographic manufacturing; marketing and retailing; working life; and the history of photography. It was acquired by Museum Victoria in November 2004, when Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd ceased manufacturing photographic products in Melbourne.

Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd, and its predecessors, the Austral Plate Company, and Baker and Rouse Australia Laboratory, have been significant contributors to Australia's photographic history, in terms of developing the Australian photographic industry, promoting the adoption of photography and influencing the development of a local photographic culture. Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd made a wide range of products in Melbourne for both professionals and amateurs, and also imported goods from Kodak subsidiaries around the world. The products it made locally included photographic plates, film and paper, mounts, envelopes, processing chemicals, reels, cassettes, slide boxes, and cameras. Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd has also been successful in developing innovations in photographic chemistry and manufacturing technology. In November 2004, as photography shifted from the silver halide process to digital imaging technology, Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd ceased manufacturing photographic products in Melbourne.The artefacts in this collection strongly evoke the chemical basis of 'analogue' photography, which has now largely come to an end since the rise of digital photography in the early 21st century. The collection includes raw materials, and finished products, such as glass plates, roll film, photographic papers, chemicals, cameras, accessories, and film made in Kodak Australia's last production run at Coburg in 2004. Small scale manufacturing equipment, manufacturing specifications, factory signage, safety equipment, clothing, oral history interviews, photographs and moving footage also form part of the collection. There is a small and fragmented, but highly important, business archive, which includes share ledgers and certificates, factory plans, minute books, salary records, production registers, correspondence, trade mark applications and visitors books. Marketing and retailing is represented by point of sale, packaging, instructional and advertising materials, including a significant sub-collection of scrap-books containing posters and brochures from the pre-World War II period. These highlight the important role of graphic design and marketing strategies in Kodak Australasia's success, and its relationship with other Kodak companies worldwide. The collection also includes material related to working life including clothing, sporting trophies, posters, ephemera, photographs and oral history interviews with staff. Examples of early photographic formats and processes including daguerreotypes, glass plates, tintypes, ambrotypes and lantern slides, illustrate the history of photography. The Kodak Heritage Collection is a unique and extensive collection that documents the history of the photographic industry in Australia, by tracing the history of three key Australian photographic companies.

Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre


1884-2004; Advertising; Advertising signs; Aerial Photographs; Audiovisual Equipment; Building & Construction; Buildings; Business Management; Camera Accessories; Camera Clubs; Cameras; Factories; Factory Construction; Factory Workers; Flooding; Floods; Functions; Gardens; Industry; Interior design; Leisure; Manufacturing; Manufacturing Equipment; Manufacturing Workers; Manufacturing Works; Motor cars; Movie Cameras; Occupational health & safety; Offices; Photochemicals; Photographic Accessories; Photographic equipment; Photographic Films; Photographic Papers; Photographic Processing Equipment; Photographic Products; Photographic studios; Photography; Posters; Promotional Materials; Recreation; Research Laboratories; Retailing; Safety equipment; Safety Wear; Shops; Social Functions; Sport; Sporting Clubs; Sporting Teams; Staff Amenities; Streetscapes; Working life

Coverage Spatial

Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia; Coburg, Victoria, Australia; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Australasia

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