Kodak Australasia's Powder and Solution Department at Burnley, 1950-1974

In the early 1950s Kodak Australasia moved its Powder and Solution Department from the company's Abbotsford factory to its new Burnley facility. The department was located on the ground floor of the Burnley building, where staff worked under daylight conditions, although there was a mixing room on the top floor.

The Powder and Solution Department made a wide range of chemicals that were used in photography at this time. There were several production lines, including manufacturing, mixing, packing and labelling, as well as a quality control laboratory that tested product before it was packaged and distributed. There was also extensive storage for chemicals and packaging materials.

Staff work roles were separated largely along gender lines. Former staff member Marie McKinley (later Marie De Camara) remembered that "the men were outside, they were in like the annexe part and they were mixing the liquids and the chemicals ready to bring in for us (girls) to do the packing part of it."

In the mixing area the staff included Fred McCoy, Ernie Kercher, Ray Morton and Stan Elliot. Some of the Powder & Solution managers included Pearl Cleaver, Len Wells and Brian Daniel. Pearl was in charge when the department moved across from Abbotsford.

Staff wore safety glasses and gloves when required and were trained to be very careful handling the chemicals, which could be hazardous. Marie recalled that the women wore aprons, and later on wore a uniform to protect their clothing from the chemicals, and when she moved into quality control she wore a white laboratory coat.

Marie explained that pallets of drums of chemicals were loaded by forklift through the loft at far right of the factory yard to a mixing area with tanks. The mixed chemicals then came down a chute to barrels in the packing area on the ground floor. After testing, containers were placed in wooden trays at the work benches for canning, weighing, sealing and labelling.


Marie De Camara Interview 2014, HT 43000

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