Kodak Australasia's Black & White Developing and Printing Department at Burnley, 1950-1974

From the early 1950s until 1974, Kodak Australasia processed black and white film at its Burnley facility. (All colour film was put through the Kodachrome building at Kodak's Abbotsford factory and then later at its Coburg factory.)

At Burnley the Developing and Processing Department, also known as the Photo Finishing Laboratory, was on the first floor. The basement was also used, for the re-circulation of developer and other chemical solutions in the developing and printing process. Pumps in outbuildings and in the basement helped to move solutions through the system.

Men generally did the developing while women undertook the printing. Some of the work was done in dark room conditions, such as developing the negatives and making enlargements, while other aspects of the work, such as the printing, packaging and administration, was done in daylight.

Thelma Sneazwell, nee McGregor, came from Kodak's Abbotsford factory to help start the Burnley facility and remembered that "We had American machines, and they were brilliant, compared to the ones Australia made. And those machines would go, and we worked at those machines".

Staff delivery drivers were an important part of the operation. They picked up unprocessed films from Kodak dealers, such as chemists, and dropped them off at the Burnley facility. After being developed and printed, the drivers delivered the finished photographs and negatives back to the dealers for customers to pick up. Kodak offered a same day service for selected dealers, while others received 24-hour service. A garage near the Burnley facility was used to house the delivery vehicles.

By 1974 when the Burnley facility closed down, the demand for black and white printing had fallen, being replaced by consumer demand for colour prints. Kodak Australasia decided it was not economically viable to continue with their black and white processing service and instead concentrated on their colour printing service which had been operating at Kodak's Coburg factory since 1966, and prior to that at their Abbotsford factory from the mid-1950s.


John Garret Interview 2014,  HT 37042

Thelma Sneazwell Interview, 2014, HT 33838

More Information