Southern Suburbs Photographic Society

The Southern Suburbs Photographic Society (SSPS) commenced in March, 1952 with 9 members. In September 1952, The Victorian Association of Photographic Societies Inc (VAPS) commenced in September 1952 with 12 clubs.  SSPS was one of those 12 founding clubs.

Fast forward to 2009

SSPS began the New Year with 82 members.  The meeting hall was the Uniting Church in Hemming Street East Brighton.

The transition from film to digital was in full swing and this presented a need to revise the short information courses for beginners to photography. The second Tuesday in the month is used for training both new, and existing members.  The need for more detailed training courses was recognised and the result was very successful.  Open to the public as well as members, our revenue increased, and membership grew.

The course began with a four week “Basic introduction to digital photography”. This and was followed shortly after by a three week course aimed at the “Intermediate level”, then a six week course for the more “Advanced photographer”.

Communications was making a shift from regular post, to electronic.  The need for privacy of member details was taken seriously by SSPS.  A Communications Policy was drafted and introduced to protect member privacy.

In later years, this was further streamlined with even tighter security-not that SSPS had any problems with membership privacy.

In 2009, we were faced with a hefty increase in hall rental costs, so, after 23 years, it was decided to seek a new home.

A new hall was found in nearby Highett, although this was to be short lived.  Owned by Scouts Australia, the hall was earmarked for sale. Two years later, they sold the property to the Bayside Council for redevelopment. We were given some seven months to vacate and find a new home.

We didn’t waste any time to find a new hall. Our new, and much better home, was found in Cheltenham late in 2011. Membership had risen to 104, but the increased membership and keen participation in monthly competitions, saw our meetings being rather long.

Entry limits were introduced to keep the length of the meetings to a chosen closing time. The new limit of one entry per section, instead of three per section, was accepted by members.  Meetings ever since, closed at 9.30pm and members enjoy up to an hour of fellowship. Less hall fees and less work for the judges, was the result. All courses were open to the public as well as members and proved very successful.

With new members joining the committee, the focus was now on digital photography only.

With the sixtieth anniversary of the Southern Suburbs Photographic Society in 2012, it was decided to do something special.  A history book, ‘Sixty Years in the Making’, was the title and many members submitted images and a short resume of their time in the club. Later in 2012, a dinner was held in the nearby reception centre, funded by SSPS.

Also in 2012, the Colour Slide competition was discontinued and an approach was made for a “sister” club in Cheltenham, UK. This is an annual interclub competition for digital projected images only. The two clubs take it in turns to host the very successful event.

New training courses were introduced in 2013. ‘Introduction To Digital Photography’ replaced the ‘Beginners’ course, and as a follow on from this course, ‘Intermediate’ and ‘Advanced’ course were also introduced. These courses were open to the public as well as current members.

Further training commenced for members only, ‘Skills Development’.  Various experienced members continue to make presentations on a variety of topics.

By the Annual General Meeting of 2015, membership had reached 148 and planning got underway for a brand-new web site. All competition entries are lodge by each member via the web site.  This has proved very successful and resulted in less work by volunteer stewards.

In 2016, SSPS official jackets became available to be worn on official outings and events.

A new interclub annual competition was introduced in 2017 following the withdrawal of the Berwick Viewfinders and Doncaster clubs.  The new club was Caulfield.

Activities outside of the regular meeting nights continue with at least one weekend away for members and partners, as well as mid-week and weekend daily outings.

The three meetings per month are well supported with attendance generally between 30 and 60 members.


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