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R C Strangman
 

An Introduction

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Richard Strangman was a commercial photographer in Tumut from 1915 (unconfirmed) till around 1926. There are collections of images of Tumut and the region including portraits of locals. from around 1917 - 1919, Strangman was a Private in the 54th Battalion during World War One. there are albums of photographs taken by Strangman during the war.

Richard Strangman commenced photography in Canberra in 1927. Parliament House had opened and became one of his favourite subjects. He subsequently worked in Canberra and the surrounding region as a commercial photographer for over 30 years.

His images were published through prints and made available to a wider audience on postcards, greetings cards, tourist information, and as tourist souvenirs including some made of china. His images also appeared within Parliament on their menues. Strangman imported a state of the art postcard printing machine from Germany in the 1920s which he was still using in 1969 when he died.

Like many photographers involved in the views trade of the time, he concentrated on the images of the growth of the city, including the monuments, the public buildings, the developing suburbs and the amenities such as accommodation hotels. He recorded the building of the Australian War Memorial with many views of its construction - these now being held by the memorial in a special collection.

The views around and of the Parliament House, showed the changes which were being made to the landscape in the Parliamentary Triangle in the 1930s.

As the gardens and plantings improved around Parlaiment, Strangman was there to capture the views which then travelled across the nation and beyond to let others know of the growth (even though it was slow) of Australia's National Capital. The images of sheep and other country icons, also reinforced the image of Canberra as the 'Bush Capital' - something which allowed the people of the two major Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne to regard Canberra as being inferior to them, especially as these two cities still harboured views that they should have been the Captial of the newly Federated Colonies.

‘I use an old Thornton Pickard half inch plate camera with two or three (I’m sorry to say) very poor lenses… To ensure a sharp clear result the lens is stopped well down, usually F45. Ilford S.R Pan. plates are almost always used, and a Wratten K2 filter or similar filter is necessary to make the sky dark so that the clouds will show…’ (Richard Strangman, 1937)

Richard and his brother established the first electrical shop on Sydney's North Shore. Strangman Bros (radio), 280 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest, N.S.W. Their home in Lane Cove was one of the first all-electric houses in Sydney.


Photos by Richard Stragman are available:

Old Parliament House web site

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A large collection of his images have been lodged with the
National Library of Australia

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The photo-web collection of Strangman photos

 


 

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