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Friday, 11 August 2017

The Foundling Archive

Catalogue description "women; group; lost and found; 1940".  I wonder if there is a studio name on the back?
While browsing through Victorian Collections, I came across this never-previously-encountered collection called "The Foundling Archive".  Contrary to expectations, the archive does not record lost children, but lost photos and ephemera.  The collection is described as follows:

"The foundling archive was established in 2013, as an experiment. We wanted to see if we could track Australia's social history through the old, personal photographs, films and small objects that no longer seemed relevant to their owners. These are the objects that find themselves being sold on ebay and in second-hand shops throughout Australia.

By looking at the bits and pieces we create, keep and eventually throw away, the foundling archive documents evidence of everyday life -of personalities, family dynamics, technological change and social development".

There are photos from places besides Victoria, though they are located in Brunswick, Victoria. A large group was taken in West Sydney.  Unfortunately, when they were cataloguing, other than occasionally including a placename in the title,  they didn't seem to think of recording the photographer's studio and place in the subject headings, so I saw, for instance, two photographs taken in a Perth Studio which you wouldn't know unless you enlarged the photo.

But they are interesting and worth a browse.   Victorian Collections can be searched by place or name, and many of you may find some items of interest there.  I just found a 1941 letter of condolence from the RSL to a woman who used to live in the house I lived in in the 1970s.   Amazing!


  1. Thanks Lenore that certainly sounds interesting and not a place many would think to look.

  2. I'd never heard of it. I might have to pay a visit one day.

  3. Thanks for bringing this interesting collection to our notice Lenore. I found a few interesting snippets, including an image of Beryl Robinson, who in 1965, wearing a home made dress (bravo!), was crowned Australian Honey Queen at Beechworth. The photo of her was taken by a Wangaratta photographer, so lots to think about there and some rabbit holes to go down trying to identify her. :)