Staff of Coles and Garrard Pty Ltd. Opticians

Catalogue Number: 3199
Staff of Coles and Garrard Pty Ltd. Opticians
Category: Photographs
Sub-Category: Photograph People and events
Photographer: Jack Cato FRPS
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1931
Time Period: 1900 to 1939
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Melbourne
Description Of Item: Black and white photograph, 370 x 280 mm, mounted on card trimmed to size of the photograph framed with glazed Victorian ash timber, 610 x 530 mm, with a paper surround backing of two tones of beige and a decorative brown square separating the two tones. Signed by Jack Cato FRPS with the words 'PRESENTED TO H. E. COLES ESQ / BY THE MEMBERS OF THE STAFF / XMAS 1931'above the photograph and the names of persons in the photograph below it.
Historical Significance: Coles and Garrard Pty Ltd was the largest optometry firm in Melbourne until it was sold to OPSM in 1988 and ceased trading under its name a few years afterwards. It was established in March 1922 and located at 370 to 372 Bourke Street. This photograph is from the early years of the firm. From the 1940s it established branches in country towns and at the Chadstone Shopping Centre in 1960. Earle Coles was the proprietor. He was feisty and energetic as the photograph shows, and built his business on advertising and commercial contracts with government agencies. It was regarded a a commercial firm contrary to the desires of the leaders of the profession to practice with professional restraint and thereby be accepted as professionals rather than makers and sellers of spectacles. Persons named in the photograph are: W.G. Cole (spelt as Coles in the photograph. He was the father of Barry Cole, foundation professor of optometry at the University of Melbourne), H.E. Burns. G.F Sheedy. R.L. Broadhurst, S.W. Ralph, A.E. Bisset, Misses J Shore, N Spaven, E Green. Mrs G Burns, J E Brown, K L Jennings, A, W, Fox, G. G Hussey, C R Gaddes, H E Coles, (Managing Director), C S Staples, G A Bursill, W E Stephenson, W Saxon-Jones.The photographer, John Cyril "Jack" Cato, F.R.P.S. (1889 - 1971) was a significant Australian portrait photographer in the Pictorialist style, operating in the first half of the twentieth century. He was the author of the first history of Australian photography; The Story of the Camera in Australia (1955).
How Acquired: Donated by Laurie Hicks, Melbourne Optometrist
Date Acquired: Jan 2017
Condition: Very good
Location: Archived journals room Unit 2

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