Antipodean Photobooth


I present to you a very rare thing! This is a mid-1920s photobooth photo from Sydney. It is now sadly faded. It depicts an elegant young woman of reasonable means. Her hat is not elaborate and her necklace is costume jewellery at best, but her coat’s large fur collar (it is difficult to tell if the whole coat is of fur) suggests she had access to more than an average amount of income for an Australian in the 20s.

So why is this photo rare? We are definitely a wealthy nation, but relative to the USA of this period, we had less disposable income to spend on luxuries such as photobooth photos, as cheap as they were. Not being blessed with a large population even now, photobooths did not proliferate as they did in North America, so the opportunity to use them was limited. Neither did we use the booths for photo identification, as so many other countries did. We also have a tendency to keep old photos within families or if they are no longer wanted, dispose of them via the public rubbish collection, (oh, horror of horrors!) rather than selling them online or to collectables shops.

This is the first of only two vintage Australian Photomaton images that I have in my collection. It was a gift from Andrew Fildes of Andrew’s Antipodean Photographic Emporium, who kept it especially for me. Thanks Andrew!


photobooth 1

  1. John said:

    She looks pretty fancy really, too bad she isn’t looking at the camera. Off subject, but I have never understood how your phone numbers work. It’s a mystery! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • John said:

        I mean the sets of numbers. Our numbers are a 3 digit area code, followed by a three digit prefix then a four digit suffix of numbers. Just curious if it is similar.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We have a two digit state code, followed by a four digit regional code, followed by a four digit suffix. The regional code might cover a small area such as a suburb or a large country region covering several small towns. I think that is correct. If you were dialing from the US there would also be a country code and you drop the first figure of the two digit state code, which is always zero. Hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. GP Cox said:

    It’s such a shame that treasures such as this should end up in the trash. I had a house burn down back in 1978 and still think of all the memories lost there. At least you value such things and have salvaged this wonderful picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks GP. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a house burn down! I spent five months travelling overseas and my partner of the time accidentally wiped every one of our photos from the trip. I still miss those pics and cannot think of it without a pang of sadness. Losing an entire house full of memories must’ve been dreadful!

      It is strange that so many people here believe it is better to destroy photos that no one in the family is still attached to, rather than move them to another home. I have even met an older spinster lady, who years before she died, destroyed all her family photos rather than think that they would have fallen into a stranger’s hands on her death.


      • GP Cox said:

        Odd feelings (at least IMO). Being as I’m the last of my family, I’m wondering where to have my father’s medals, photos, etc go to after I’m gone.


        • We have a National War Memorial museum and archive, so I suppose you would have one in the US. I’m sure you have already thought of something like that. I love the museum but it is a long way from where I live.

          I guess that the medals and your dad’s history could find a place in a collection, but I know what you mean about what will happen to the photos etc. I have an extensive collection of memorabilia from the careers of my maternal grandparents. No one else has shown much interest in it save one or two cousins, but would they take it on? It is so much to look after and takes up so much space. Ideally these collections should be kept together but that is so impractical these days and takes a lot of commitment to preservation and appropriate archival storage.

          Liked by 1 person

          • GP Cox said:

            I’ll look into that, thank you. I can’t imagine not wanting to keep collections together in one piece for posterity.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful and I enjoyed reading your background- you have so many photos!! Yes, the value of them lies in the memories which sadly are fleeting.


    • Fleeting but not gone if captured by a camera. We are all immortal thanks to photography, if the pictures remain extant. It is so much fun contributing to extending the life of all my sitters!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda said:

    This is a special photo, your post is really interesting! The lady is very well dressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely photo. Thank you, Andrew… it could not go to a better place. To be immortalised on PJ, she will live on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ted. I only just mounted and tagged her, so I have to agree she is in a good place for her future longevity!


    • Trying to catch up on things. Gotta get my comments under control before I can start blogging again. Thanks for noticing I was missing Inese! X

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: