Club History

PORTLAND CAMERA CLUB – Formed 14 February 1961

This is the formation date of the club in its current guise but Portland has a rich history of photography through camera clubs. According to Harrington’s Photographic journal the Portland Photographic Club was operating on 22 September 1910 and its Hon. Secretary was Mr A E Taylor who possibly had held that position since the formation of the club possibly in 1904. The club may not have survived World War 1 as it was not amongst the club listings for Victoria in 1917.

On 19 July 1945 The Portland Guardian newspaper printed an article outlining that “Mr L MacPherson had placed at the disposal of a new club, a room at Sweatman Buildings, Percy Street on Monday night”. Upon the window appeared the words “Portland Camera Club” neatly executed by secretary John R (Jack) Adamson and President Arthur Neal presided. Other foundation members were George Bennett, B E Carthew, Ron A Hodge, Jack Patterson and Stan Sayers. Women were also present at the inaugural meeting but their names have not been recorded. The club affiliated with VAPS in 1953.

The third generation Portland Camera Club was formed on the 14 February 1961 when its inaugural meeting was held in the studio of Bruce Fuher (Now Portland Studios). There were 12 prospective members present. The chair was taken by Bruce Fuher and Mr D Bacon-Hall proposed the forming of a camera club in Portland. This was carried and the founding office bearers were: President – Bruce Fuher, Vice-President – Mr W Firman, Sec/Treasurer – D Bacon-Hall

The name “Portland Camera Club” was adopted and subscription was set at 5/- shillings. A draft constitution was prepared by D Bacon-Hall and Mr F Davies which was adopted at the meeting of the 2 May, 1961. At the first Annual General Meeting on 4 July, 1961, the same executives were re-elected with the addition of a treasurer, Mr M Streeter, plus a committee of three comprising Mr G Baker, Mr O Lightbody and Mrs E Hains.

The first photographic exhibition, in conjunction with C.E.M.A. (council for the Arts) was held on 19 March, 1963.  Public exhibitions of members work continue to this day.

In 1965 the club developed and regularly held a slide show during holiday periods in the old Town Hall for visitors to the town. An accompanying tourist map was produced to go with the slide show. The final showing was in 1969 when the newly formed Tourist Committee took over district promotions.

In April 1965 the club participated in the first Western District Photographic competition hosted by the Colac club. The six clubs participating were Camperdown, Colac, Hamilton, Portland, Terang and Warrnambool. The interclub still continues but Camperdown, Terang and Hamilton have closed. Coleraine was for some years a participant but it has also closed. In 1967 the club produced and donated a perpetual shield to the competition.

The Camera club affiliated with the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies (VAPS) in May 1965. Each year the club competes in a competition hosted by VAPS for all Victorian Photographic clubs.

In April 1966 it was resolved that the club produce two segments “Portland – Birthplace of Victoria” and “Portland Today” for a VAPS documentary of Victoria. These were produced and sent to VAPS in February 1967. A follow-up request was made by VAPS in October 1969 for the club to produce a “Nature Series” lecture for the VAPS Lecture library and with the help of all club members was completed by June 1971.

The club held a mini-convention in 2002 giving stimulus and further stability for the club.

A triptych competition was held in 2008 which encouraged entries from the general public. There were sections for Open and also Secondary students, with sponsored prizes in each section. This was to raise awareness of the camera club and to show photography as a great hobby for juniors.

The Portland Camera Club celebrated its 50th birthday in 2011 with a public exhibition and sale of members work.


Portland camera club has hosted many workshops over the years of which many were conducted by Life member Cor Melis. Cor’s contribution to the club was greatly appreciated along with invaluable knowledge.


Service awards were received in 2006 by Cor Melis and Julie Davies to recognize significant involvement within the club.

Life members: Mr A F Davies, Mr G A Dunne, Mr A G Baker, Mr Cor Melis, Mrs Julie Davies, Mr Ben Rietman, Mr Graeme McDonald and Mrs Margaret Fisher

Notes supplied by Mrs Julie Davies