Colour 5" x 4" negative showing tarmac crew refuelling a Boeing 747 aeroplane with Esso fuel at the Qantas terminal at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne, in 1971. The truck is a Ford D-Series.

This image is part of the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria comprising approximately 85,000 negatives taken by the Melbourne based Laurie Richards Studio between the 1950s -1970s. These negatives are all mostly large format [5"x 4"/ 12.5 x 10 cm], black and white images, though a significant number are in colour. The many photographic jobs that were undertaken in the course of thirty years are itemised in a set of log books, copies of which are also held by Museum Victoria.

Laurie Richards was a professional photographer who began his career as a photo-journalist, working for the Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide, and the Argus and the Herald newspapers in Melbourne. In 1953, he opened his own business and set up a photographic studio at his home at 4 Tower Avenue, Alphington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. At its peak, in the late 1960s, the Laurie Richards Studio was one of Melbourne's pre-eminent commercial photographic studios, employing twelve photographers. The Laurie Richards Studio worked mainly in advertising and public relations, and had a broad clientele which included commercial companies, government institutions and the entertainment industry.

Description of Content

Tarmac crew refuelling a Boeing 747 aeroplane at the Qantas terminal, Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne. The refuelling truck is a white D-Series Ford, branded with the Esso logo. The crew are all male. A man wearing a red jacket and black pants is crouching on a platform, underneath two fuel hoses which are connected to the underside of the aeroplane wing above. Two men wearing white overalls and white caps are standing on an orange platform in the cargo entry to the aeroplane, ready to load or having just unloaded a large silver container. Two men wearing red jackets and black pants are on the ground, and another man on the ground is wearing a blue suit and sunglasses. A fire extinguisher is sitting on the ground adjacent to the crew.

Physical Description

Colour 5" x 4" cellullose acetate negative.


Because of the breadth of both the subject matter photographed and the diverse businesses which commissioned the work, and the excellent documentation that accompanies the collection, the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria is an invaluable record of Melbourne's commercial and industrial past and as such gives an insight into the social history of that period.

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