Stawell Camera Club

A 1911 copy of “The Australian Photo Review” confirms the existence of the Stawell School of Mines Photographic Club. Records also suggest that by 1917, the club was a member of the Victorian Photographic Affiliation.

World War 1 and the Great Depression led to the closure of most photographic clubs and the demise of the Victorian Photographic Affiliation.

The Victorian Association of Photographic Societies (V.A.P.S.) was formed in September 1952, and it served 12 clubs from Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and Sale.  V.A.P.S. continued to grow, as more clubs were formed, and in 1957, a Stawell Photographic Club became affiliated with it.  This club ran successfully for a number of years until it lapsed.

In the mid-1980s, photographic competitions resumed at the Stawell Agricultural Show.  John

Simpkin, Mick Walsh and John Hooper were asked to organise these.

In 1988, Irene Read and John Simpkin took over organising the competition, and new classes were added for secondary students, and the competition was open to all photographers, not just amateurs.  The concept of forming a camera club was promoted at the Show.  A sign was included in the 1988 photographic display asking photographers who were interested in forming a club to register their names and contact details.

18 people said that they were interested in forming a club, so on the 2nd of November 1988, John

Simpkin, Denis McCann, Mark Dadswell and Irene Read met at John Simpkin’s home. The plan was for a meeting on the 7th of December, 1988, in the Wimmera Community Centre, to see if there was enough interest to establish a Stawell photographic club.

The meeting was a success, and the Stawell Camera Club was formed.  John Simpkin was elected president, Irene Read, vice-president, Denis McCann, secretary, and John McInerney, committee member.

The Stawell Camera Club joined V.A.P.S. in 1989.

Some club activities since 2009 are as follows:


Membership was 20 members.  Fees were $35 per family, $30 per individual, and $20 concession. Guest Denis Crawford ran a workshop to demonstrate lighting techniques that he used in photographing small insects (macro photography) and David Fletcher presented a workshop on wildflower photography.


The club had 16 members. Membership fees remained unchanged.  Lyn MacKenzie was president. Gaynor Robson visited the club in June to talk of her photography.


Membership had fallen to 13.

Club members visited a full Lake Lonsdale to enable them to photograph the setting sun, and so on. Barbara Butler came to share her love of A-Vs.


Club membership rose to 17.  Lyn MacKenzie continued on a president. Denis Crawford visited the club twice this year.

At the October meeting< Kerri Kingston presented an illustrated workshop on portrait photography, with hints on how to photograph animals, children and weddings.


Membership had risen to 24.

The 2013 club program began with the February outing to the Stawell Yacht Club facilities on Lake

Fyans.  Club stalwart, Bob Becker, died suddenly, unfortunately.


Membership rose to 29. Lyn MacKenzie continued on as president.

The February outing to Kerrin Devery’s farm on the Navarre Road provided plenty of opportunities

to photograph old buildings and machinery.

During 2014, Lyn MacKenzie, John Tiddy and Jeff McMillan developed a strong interest in night sky photography.


Membership was steady at 29 members.

Guest speakers during the year were Peter Cannon, and Rob and Cynthia Watkins.

In November, club members visited the underground drives at the Seppelt’s winery at Great



Membership was steady at 29 members. Lyn MacKenzie continued on as president.

In February, the club returned for another visit to Seppelt’s Winery.

Jeff McMillan led a great workshop on black and white photography.


Membership was 27 members.

This year the club visited the Ararat Wind Farm twice. (in February and November) Guest speakers during the year included Peter Cannon, Ian Morgan and Peter Carracher.

(Information for this report is from “Stawell Camera Club 1988 to 2018”, by John Simpkin.)