Sometime early in 1958 a small notice appeared in the window of Peter Payens' Studio at Whitehorse Road, Ringwood, inviting anyone interested in the fundamentals of photography to register their interest in a beginners' class. The response was encouraging, and some three months later classes began, with the main lecturer at the time being Mr Dick Barnes.
After f o u r lectures and some discussions later, eleven very enthusiastic people met on 7 July 1958. A constitution was drawn up and names put forward, then, on 16 July 1958, the first general meeting of members was held at which the constitution was ratified, and the first committee duly electe Hence, the Ringwood Amateur Photography Club was born.
The first twenty-one years saw the club's meeting place change several times including, for a few years, in a "chook shed", which was kindly made available by members Mr Ernest and Mrs Helen Gallus. As a result of their generosity, Mr and Mrs Gallus were bestowed life membership of the club in 1969. Other venues included Stan Dobbins' new shop the Ringwood Camera Centre (later Kirks Camera Supply), the Ringwood Library at the Civic Centre, the Ringwood Senior Citizens Club in Greenwood Street, the North Ringwood Uniting Church, the Heathmont Uniting Church (temporarily), the Federation Estate in Greenwood Street and finally, our present home, the North Ringwood Community House.
Members in "the chook shed “,
Centre Road, Vermont
Alf and Adele Gallus, Loris Peggie, Les Martin, Arnold Thomas, Keith Hutchings, Charlie Robinson, Alan Shears, Julie Brown, Len Reid, Lesley Reid, Elden Marshall, Joyce Marke, Les Wiltshire.
Photo by Jack Milton
In the booklet 1958-1979, Loris Peggie proudly reflected on the very significant achievements of some of the members at interclub, national and international competitions, a few of which are referred to elsewhere in this booklet. Loris also noted that about 230 people had joined the club up until 1979, a figure which has now grown to approximately 530.
In 1990, through the sole initiative of Adrian Smith, an Annual Eastern lnterclub competition was established with the Ringwood Amateur Photography Club (RAPC) the host club. Initially, there were approximately eleven clubs involved. Essentially, this friendly competition between clubs has continued to this day during September of each year.
Up until the early 2000s there were several camera clubs operating in and around the Ringwood area - the Colour Photography Club of Ringwood, Ringwood Black & White Camera Club, Croydon Camera Club and RAPC. Some of these disbanded and, during this time, discussions had been taking place about mergers and name changes. Eventually, with only RAPC and the Ringwood Black & White Club still existing, the committee successfully proposed that the club change its name to the Maroondah Photographic Society Inc, (MPS), effective 1 January 2005.
Our neighbouring club, the Ringwood Black & White Camera Club, (with whom we have always had a close relationship), continued on to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2017, albeit with a heavily diminished membership. Alas, they made the decision to disband in July 2017; however, we are pleased to say that several the Black & White Club's members were absorbed into MPS and continue to enjoy their love for black and white photography. The irony was that we are now able to hold alternate meetings at the Black & White Club's venue, the Heathmont Uniting Church, which we used as temporary premises in 2006.
When considering what lies ahead for MPS, one is hard-pressed to ignore Loris Peggie's concluding remarks in 1979 when she referred to the purposes of the Ringwood Amateur Photography Club. That statement of purpose is still enshrined in the constitution of the Maroondah Photographic Society today and is, again, worthy of reflection.
The purposes of the (Club) are to encourage meeting of members and to facilitate the exchange of ideas for mutual improvement of our photography and allied processes, to encourage the advancement of photography as an art and a science ...
We are, as a club, truly blessed with resources that were not available to our predecessors, and it is surely incumbent upon every one of us to maximise these opportunities long into the future, such that our founding members would be justly proud.