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Invoice to the Ballarat School of Mines from Walter Cornell, Chemist, 1898. The invoice includes chemicals and apparatus for Photography. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 18140)



In 1895 the Ballarat School of Mines introduced the course Photography. It's lecturer being L.Hart, A.R.V.I.A.[1] The First Grade focused on the students learning about Gelatino-bromide Negatives and producing enlarged negatives. They focused on the theory of it as well as the Practice of Development process. Where they would manufacture their photographs on the Dry Plates of the cameras. The Second Grade, with the more experienced photographers focused on the Wet Collodion Process as well as Carbon printing by single and double transfer. There were also other techniques with photography in this grade such as; Zinc and Copper Etching in Half Tone by Albumen as well as Collotype, Heliotype, Staunotype, Bitumen and Xylography.[2]

However, because it was a relatively new course, it only had two sessions a week which was held on Tuesdays from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm and another session later from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

The following information was found in the Ballarat School of Mines magazine of 1938.

A photographic class was formed during the year and is being strongly supported. Mr. Porter, of Kodak, gives lectures once a month on the various aspects of photography. In the intervals between these visits, Mr. Condi, of Kodak, Ballarat, shows various films of interest. The film on Einstein's Theory of Relativity was very well received by the class, as also were the various travel films. We desire to thank Mr. Porter and Dr. Condi for these services that they have made available to us.[3]

In 1908 the course had only two classes a week that summed up to two hours a week in total of the lecture. The work of this department was divided into separate grades and dealt with an exhaustive manner. In Grade 1 the students are well grounded in the theory and practice of Picture-taking, Optics of Photography, Development, Flashlight Work, Intensifying and Reducing, Silver Chloride, Albumen and Gelatine Papers, Silver Bromide Printing, Lantern Slide making by contact or reduction, Enlarging, Carbontype, Platinotype, Blue Paper Process for Plans, Photo-micrography, Micro-photography, Mounting, the Manufacture of Plates and Papers[4].

In Grade 2 the students are taught the advanced processes of Photography like Wet Collodion, Manufacture of Collodion, Silver Bath, Screened Negatives for Half-tone Process, the making of Zinc and Copper Blocks by the Glue-bichromate, Albumen and Bitumen Processes, Etching in like and tone as well as Collotype photography.

Photography Timeline

Photography Timeline

Photography at the Ballarat School of Mines Timeline

Historic Dark Room Equipment

Auto load reel

Bamboo tongs

Bottles (for chemicals)

Developing tank, up to 35mm film

Developing tray

Drying racks

End cap remover for 35mm film cassettes

Film squeegee

Force film washer


Measuring Cylinder

Mixing jug

Red safe lamp

Stainless steel film caps

Stirring rod with thermometer



Water filters

Photography Equipment from the Federation University Historical Collection

Photography Equipment from the Federation University Historical Collection

Ballarat School of Mines Photography Syllabus, 1896

In 1896 Grade 1 Photography students at the Ballarat School of Mines studied Gelatine-bromide Negatives; Theory and Practice of Development; Manufacture of Dry Plates; Salts of Silver and the action of Light thereon; Theory and Practice of Photographic Printing; Photographic Optics; Enlarging; Chloride of Silver (albumen) and Gelatine-chloride paper printing; Gelatine-bromide and ferro-prussiate paper printing; Transparencies for duplication of negatives and for producing enlarged Negatives; Lantern Slide Machine; and Stereoscopic Photography. [5]

In Grade 2 students studied Wet Collodion Process for Process-work; Carbon Printing by single and double transfer; Photo-lithography in line; Zinc Etching in Line by Albumen and Bitumen; Zinc and Copper Etching in Half Tone by Albumen, Glue, and Bitumen; Collotype; Heliotype; Staunotype, and Xylography.[6]

Members of the Ballarat School of Mines Mining Class visit the Last Chance Mine, 1899. Photograph by Charles E. Campbell. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 844)


The class in photography, which, owing to want of proper accommodation, was discontinued for a time, has now been reinstated, under the supervision of Mr C. Campbell.[7]

The mining class visited the Last Chance on the afternoon of Thursday, 8th June, under the guidance of Mr Kirby, the mine manager. Mr Campbell, the photographic instructor, also dared the perils of the deep in order to take some flashlight photos. As this was Mr Campbell's first visit below, several difficulties which he did not now existed prevented success. The students all ranged themselves in poetic and heroic attitudes for the first flashlight, but the development of the plate showed only the light from the candles and the moisture on the lens. The next two tries were better, but were under-exposed, and of no value, except as experience. Two gentlemen from England also went below with the students, but history repeated itself and Australia won the "test." The ENglishmen left early. Mr hart secured a fine specimen of arsenopyrite and indicator slate; also a bootlace, the property of a much-vexed miner, whose boots Mr Hart had borrowed. Horrors! Mr Hart steal a bootlace! Impossible! However, a tragedy was averted by the miner securing a new lace, and he was at once all smiles - so were the students. Mr Campbell took a photo of the students dressed for the occasion, and some were flattered, and some looked very like the universal "Weary Willie".[8]

Photography Class, 1901

The Photography class, to the number of a dozen, under the leadership of Mr Chas. Campbell, spent an afternoon below last Monday at Victoria United mine. Mr Hardy, the manager, very courteously showed the students through the workings at different levels, and pointed out many interesting features in the "country" underground. Several good photos. of the lode formations were obtained by flashlight.[9]

Ballarat School of Mines Photography Syllabus, 1916

By 1916 the Ballarat School of Mines Technical Art School Prospectus announced:

The ever-increasing application of Photography, partly as an independent art, partly as a useful adjunct to certain branches of Science, Art and Industry, steadily increases the want of thorough tuition.
The aim of instruction is to give students a thorough knowledge of the chemical and Physical processes, as well as the causes of both success and failure from a technical and artistic stand point.
For practice, students must provide their own material, the School providing material for demonstrations only.

Saturday classes were held in retouching, photo coloring, working up enlargements, etc., with classes held o Saturday afternoons in 1916.

Ballarat School of Mines Photography, 1925

At the beginning of the year certain classes were formed for activities for the last two periods every Friday afternoon. Amongst thses classes was a Photography Club. With Mr Malin as Instructor, thirteen boys joined the class. We hold the meetings in the School of Mines Photography room. Our hobby is very interesting and there is always something more you can learn about it. We have done a fair amount of work, including developing of films, printing, enlarging by daylight and artificial light, and making our developer, etc. We hold excursions now and them to the bush or some other suitable place for the purpose of taking photos. We have been to the Lake, where we are now awaiting for a fine day t hold another.We have still a lot of work to do, and if it turns out well as what we have done in the past we will have spent a very interesting and enjoyable time together.
Gordon Pearson[10]

Ballarat School of Mines Photography Staff

June 1895 - 1898 - L.W. Hart

June 1896 - the Ballarat School of Mines Council resolved to offer Thomas Hart two pounds two shillings a week for forty weeks in the year for teaching photography. Thomas Hart was appointed a Professor at the Ballarat School of Mines in 1908.

1900 to 1918 - Charles E. Campbell taught photography at the Ballarat School of Mines.

In 1916 Miss I. Chapman was an instructor on Photography, retouching, etc.[11]

1918 - After the resignation of Colin Campbell in 1918 photography was taught by Norman Wood. [12]

1920 - J. Woods, Instructor in Photography, Retouching, etc. at the Ballarat School of Mines.[13]

1921 - Miss A. Whitla

Ballarat School of Mines Photography Students

1891 group

W. Bradhurst, Edward Budge, Matthew Cairns, Thomas Cotton, Samuel Harrison, Frederick Holst, Ethel Martin, Nina McGregor, Mary McKensey, Agnes McLeod, Harriet Pawsey, Arthur Pollard, J.H. Richards, Joseph Rickard, Albert Stubbs, John Symons, Ethel Weller, Hector Wilson

1898 group

J. Symons, T.E. Atherton, W.T Atherton, F. Bradhurst, Arthur S. Coyte, Samuel Harrison, E. Mitchell, J. Sutherland

1904 group

John Anderson (2), Henry Barbery, Charles Boalton, John Brittain, Mrs A.M Cox, Miss C. Davis, Charles Dean, A. Doepel, George Fitchet, Jessie Fraser, John Glover, Kerr Grant, Thomas De Gruchy, Hamilton, Thomas M. Hanlorn, L. Jenkins, Mrs R.A Maddern, J. Neil, Kate Neil, Garnet L. Nightingale, Nickolls, Annie Powell, William Stokeld, Miss E. Taylor, Miss E. Thompson, A.J Wood

1905 group

James McFarlane, Glyndwr David Evans, Carl Janssen


Arthur Blomeley, J. Caley


Arthur Blomeley, A. Bryant, J. Caley, Miss E. Clark

Between 1900 and 1911 - Classes taught be Charles E. Campbell

Arthur Blomeley, Thomas Blomeley, Alfred Braint, Walter Cherry, Thomas Proctor

Clive Barlow, John Brittain, Robert A. Clinton, Corrie, Crabb, Richard Craze, Frederick Holtz, Symon Jenkin, Alexandra Miller, Cissy Miller, Jean Miller, Gill, Garnet L. Nightingale, Thomas Proctor, Sutherland, Trethowan, Beet-Wai

Also See

Ballarat Amateur Photographic Association

Ballarat School of Mines


Charles Campbell

Oswald H. Coulson

Ballarat Photographic Club

Victoria United Gold Mine

External Sites

Further Reading

Picture Making in Photography Composition IN The Ballarat School of Mines Students Magazine, Second Term, 1909, p.12.


  1. The Ballarat School of Mines, Calendar for 1896 with Annual Report for 1895. p.7.
  2. The Ballarat School of Mines, Calendar for 1896 with Annual Report for 1895. p.67-68.
  3. The Ballarat School of Mines Students' Magazine, 1938, p. 21
  4. The Ballarat School of Mines Calendar for 1908-9 pg. 48
  5. Ballarat School of Mines Calendar, 1896, p 68.
  6. Ballarat School of Mines Calendar, 1896, p. 68.
  7. Ballarat Star, 03 NOvember 1913.
  8. Ballarat School of Mines Students' Magazine, July 1899, p.2.
  9. Ballarat School of Mines Students' Magazine, 1901.
  10. Ballarat School of Mines Students' Magazine, 1925.
  11. The Ballarat School of Mines and Industries Prospectus B: Technical Arts and Crafts, 1916-1917, p.4.
  12. Ballarat School of Mines Calendar, 1896.
  13. Ballarat School of Mines Student's Magazine, 1920.

--S.Singaram 13:07, 11 January 2012 (EST); --Clare K.Gervasoni 19:18, 4 January 2015 (EST); --Rachelle Vanderlinden 14:11, 29 May 2015 (AEST); --Clare K.Gervasoni 11:32, 8 March 2017 (AEDT)

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