Camberwell Camera Club Inc was established as a community organisation in 1953 through the interest of a number of local residents. These included John Kinnear, a solicitor and former Mayor of the City of Camberwell, Wilf Broadhead, the manager and part-owner of York Camera Centre and Howard Joyce who had an interest in community activities. After an informal meeting an advertisement was placed in the local newspaper inviting residents to a meeting on Monday 23rd November, 1953. Ten people attended a meeting in the Inchley family home where the Club was founded. Under the guidance of John Kinnear, Wilf Broadhead, who was President of Melbourne Camera Club and foundation president of VAPS, and Don Inchley, the new club quickly evolved with a constitution and officers elected. John Kinnear was elected President, Wilf Broadhead Vice-President, Frank Nestor Secretary and Don Inchley Treasurer – a post he held for the next 15 years. After 3 months the membership had risen to 27 and by the Annual Meeting in November 1954 there were 39 members.
During its first year in 1954 the Club became a member of VAPS and was well represented at the first VAPS Convention in Healesville in that year. One of our members, Joyce Pyle who joined in February 1954 was Assistant Secretary of VAPS from 1954 – 1956.
The first few meetings were held in a private home until John Kinnear negotiated for the use of a room at the rear of the old Town Hall. In 1956 the Club moved upstairs to the Lodge Room where meetings were held for the following nine years. We then shifted into the new theatrette which became our main venue until the end of 1985 when we moved to the Camberwell Branch of the RSL for our first meeting in 1986. In January 2014 we held our first meeting at a new venue, St John’s Anglican Church at 552 Burke Rd., Camberwell. We continue to use this excellent venue.
The Club has two club meetings per month held on the second and fourth Mondays, and we have had many fine speakers and presentations. Club competitions for prints and projected images are held monthly. Our final meeting each year is devoted to a number of competitions for Memorial and Perpetual Trophies and where the best work for the year is presented. In addition we hold our June Interclub when local and regional clubs are invited to compete on a set subject. The Club has been very fortunate in having had two long term Competition Stewards in Lucy Tucker and Doug Walker. These roles are now filled by Peter Brady and Sue Welsh. Diana and Wal Close began taking on the roles of Interclub and International Competition Stewards in 2015.
Lucy joined in 1957 and now holds a VAPS 50 Years Bar. She was Competition Steward for twelve years and with numerous other duties she held the Vice Presidency for 16 years. Lucy was an Honorary Life Member of Camberwell Camera Club Inc.
Doug joined in 1975 and has been our Competition Steward for 22 years. During his 33 years he has been involved in many other club activities, including the AV Group and Slide Projectionist. He is holder of a VAPS Meritorious Service Award.
At an early stage of the Club’s history, a Print Group was established to improve the quality of black and white printing through the exchange of ideas and experience. A Colour Slide Group was established in 1975. With a general increasing interest in Audio Visuals in the late 1970’s, an AV Group was formed in 1981 from members of the Slide Group. These three Groups met in private homes for many years. Viv Bennett and Lucy Tucker played an important role in running the Print Group and Slide Group respectively. Don Inchley was the initial driving force behind the AV Group which participated for a decade in the VAPS AV Exhibitions and the Bidfest in Queensland. Entries from the AV Group also had some success in International Exhibitions in N.Z., U.K. and France.
Eventually the interest in AV’s using slides waned and this group was disbanded. However, the introduction of digital photography which has made the production of AV’s easier and more versatile, has led to the establishment of an AV Group again. It now meets bi-monthly under the guidance of Wolf Marx.
When the cost of commercial processing of prints decreased and exhibitions agreed to accept these in competitions, the use of the dark room became less important, leading to the eventual disbanding of the Print Group. Similarly the Colour Group was eventually disbanded and is now replaced with the Digital Group which meets bi-monthly and is directed by Don Weston.
From the early days the Club has held monthly outings and for some thirty years these were organised by our long-time Treasurer, Margaret Marsh. Cup Day was always our big popular outing for the year. One of our biggest outings was in February 1980 when 47 members and friends travelled to Churchill Island. There a special ceremony was performed when Don Inchley, our President at the time, planted a young pine tree nurtured by the Burnley Horticultural College from a seed of the first pine tree planted in Victoria.
In the past these outings were generally held on weekends or public holidays but these days they are held on week days. For many years now these mid-week outing have been organised and lead by our Peter Brady.
A newsletter called “Shutterbugs Quarterly” was produced in April and September 1954, the latter mainly reporting on the Healesville Convention, but due to printing costs was discontinued until February 1970 when a new issue was produced called “Camberwell Camera Club Newsletter”. It has been produced monthly since then but was retitled “Shutterbugs” in May 1977. The title continues to the present. Howard Joyce was editor from its inception until 1996 (26 years) when ill health prevented him from continuing. Since then the editorship has been performed by George Thomas, Braham Sacks, Matt Moore and Phil Hankin.
Exhibitions have been staged at various times mainly to celebrate milestones in our history. The first exhibition was held in 1965 in the Camberwell Town Hall. Clubs around Australia were invited to submit prints and slides with an Australian theme pertaining to their specific area. It was a successful event.
In February 1975 we held our 21st. Anniversary Exhibition in conjunction with the Camberwell Historical Society. It was called “Camberwell, Old & New”. To satisfy the “New”, members were given lists of areas, homes and buildings to photograph. For the “Old” some hundreds of old historic prints from the Camberwell Library were copied and processed in member’s dark rooms, a good portion by Viv Bennett. Almost 400 prints were on display in the Function Room of the newly built Civic Centre. Open for four days it created a tremendous amount of interest.
On our 25th Anniversary we held a Silver Jubilee Exhibition over three days in February 1979. This consisted of a Print display in the Civic Centre occupying the entire upstairs foyer while for two days a slide program was screened hourly in the theatrette to a continuous stream of visitors.
It was Camberwell Camera Club’s turn to run the RASV/VAPS National Exhibition in 1983/1984 – the 15th and 16th respectively. It was organised and administered by a committee formed from members of the club and chaired by Howard Joyce.
Funding under the Boroondara Community Grants Programme 2003 – 2004 enabled the Club to stage an exhibition of prints in the newly refurbished Town Hall Gallery located in the Hawthorn Town Hall. Under the enthusiastic drive of Gaynor Robson, Peter Brady, Bert Hoveling and Lorraine Holden, every member was cajoled into exhibiting a print together with a selection from our “Historical Collection” of former members. This was grandly and officially titled “Boroondara Images – The Camberwell Camera Club Inc.-50th Anniversary Photographic Images Exhibition and Competition”. More succinctly titled “From Box Brownie to Digital”, this display was opened by Peter Hunter OAM and proved to be a big success over the few weeks it was open to the public. A public competition was held in conjunction with the exhibition.
In 2013 we celebrated the Club’s 60th Anniversary in conjunction with the Camberwell Traders Association by holding an exhibition of 120 images in shop windows along Riversdale and Camberwell Road in the lower Camberwell Junction. This has now become an annual event for the club.
The Club has participated in various functions organised by the Camberwell Council. Prints and slides were exhibited at a Family Picnic Day on Australia Day 1980 at the Eric Raven Reserve. The first “Camberfest” was held in 1978 at the Lynden Park Reserve and required considerable organization in displaying prints, showing slides and organising a competition. A second similar function was held in 1980.
Two competitions were conducted in the 1980/1981 period with Swinburne Technical College and Camberwell High School.
Since early days Camberwell has run an Interclub Competitions annually in May between various Melbourne clubs and some country clubs ranging as far afield as Finley in NSW. We have also participated annually in the VAPS Interclub Competitions as well as with other Melbourne clubs.
Displays of prints and equipment have been exhibited in local libraries, and one time at the Chocolate Box in Camberwell over several days.
In 2015 we held our first Annual Feature Presentation in the Hawthorn Arts Centre. The inaugural presenter was Peter Eastway.
Over the 55 years of its existence the Camberwell Camera Club membership has fluctuated consistently between 50 and 70. From a first year total of 39 it gradually increased to a record total of 106 in 1958. Over the following few years it gradually decreased to be within the above mentioned range. There was a minor blip for a few years at the beginning of this century when the number dropped to 33 in 2003 but with the increased popularity of digital photography this figure quickly increased again to 72 in 2007 and 100 by 2014.
Camberwell Camera Club has always intermittently run workshops but was formalised at the instigation of Gaynor Robson. Workshops covering many aspects of present day photography are now run on a regular basis throughout the year and are organised by Donna Killeen. These consist of indoor demonstrations in the club rooms, in a private residence and outdoor excursions. Portrait Group Workshops are also run either indoors or outdoors two or three times each year under the guidance of Anna Janiak.