Black and white silver gelatin photograph taken by Wolfgang Sievers features the data processing equipment room in the ground floor computing centre block of the Building 8, Head Offices and Sales & Marketing Division, at the Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd factory complex in Coburg, 1964.
The central data processing equipment for the company at this time was essentially based on an IBM mainframe computer with punched card input and line printer output along with terminals for computer staff and magnetic tape archival data storage. In addition to the mainframe computer and magnetic tape machines, equipment such as punched card sorters and readers and line printers needed relatively clean room environments including under floor services and air conditioning systems capable of handling the heat loads. This was provided for in the ground floor central computing block.
All other people intensive Data Processing Department activities such as punched card data entry, programming and systems analysis was carried out in a more general office environment in the adjacent west wing of the ground floor of the main office block of Building 8.
Architect Harry Norris of H A & F L Norris & Associates, created the design for the new factory and individual buildings, while the building contract was awarded to Lewis Constructions Pty Ltd. Building 8 was a steel and concrete framed brick infill structure featuring large areas of window glass and a unique air conditioning system to deal with the high solar loads. It consisted of four sections: the main office building of five floors plus services basement and under car parking area; the services block that consisted of five floors plus basement and additional sixth floor and elevator room; the reception area which was a single floor at ground level with under-floor amenities area (later filled in as a marketing theatre and entertaining area) and the computing centre block which was a single floor at ground level with under floor access for computer services.
Wolfgang Sievers is widely recognised as one of Australia's most significant architectural and industrial photographers. He pioneered a modernist photographic style influenced by the Bauhaus, and his work celebrates industry and the worker. Sievers was commissioned to document the newly constructed Kodak Coburg plant. He subsequently took several hundred black & white and colour images that highlighted the modern architectural and industrial design features of the complex.
Kodak manufactured and distributed a wide range of photographic products to Australasia, such as film, paper, chemicals, cameras and miscellaneous equipment. Its client base included amateur and professional photographers, as well as specialist medical and graphic art professionals who used photography, x-ray and other imaging techniques.
This photograph is part of the Kodak collection of products, promotional materials, photographs and working life artefacts collected from Kodak Australasia in 2005, when the Melbourne manufacturing plant at Coburg closed down.
Description of Content
The photograph features a room lit from plate glass windows and rows of fluorescent lights inset in the ceiling. The main floor is slightly patterned light grey vinyl tiles with off-white acoustic ceiling tiles and neutral trim colours. Staff can be seen operating numerous punched card machines and line printers in an orderly layout. In the background to the left, punched card file storage can be seen extending into the west wing of the main office block.
Black and white, silver gelatin photograph printed on light weight paper, landscape format.
Donation from Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Ms. Kate Metcalf - Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, 2005
Courtesy of Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd.
Place & Date Depicted
Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Coburg, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1964
The latest possible date has been established for a group of internal and external, black and white and colour photographs of the Kodak factory complex in Coburg, from the invoice sent to Kodak by Sievers itemizing the commissioned photographs with a serial number 3562.The invoice is dated 28th August 1964 [see HT 20552]. A note in the invoice mentions the postponement of some external images until landscaping had been completed suggesting a later date, possibly 1965 [circa 1965, serial number 3613].
Photograph, Black & White
Back, stamp: 'WOLFGANG SIEVERS/Photographer/9 COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE C.1./TELEPHONE 63-4023' Back, handwritten, pencil: '3562 W'
Type of item
Image Dimensions - Photograph
247 mm (Width), 199 mm (Height)
Beale, N, The History of Kodak in Australia, Coburg, no date. [Link 1] "A Brief Process Based Site History, Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, Coburg Plant" Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, 2007 Pamphlet, "Milestones in the History of Kodak (Australasia) Pty. Ltd", Kodak (Australasia) Pty. Ltd., 1985 Leggio, Angeletta "A History of Australia's Kodak Manufacturing Plant", Topics in Photographic Preservation, Volume Twelve, 2007 Ennis, Helen "Intersections: Photography, History and the National Library of Australia", National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2004