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Mystery photos in Rosenberg collection

A call out to all family historians has been made by the State Library of Victoria regarding a collection of photos by Vincent Kelly, who had a photographic studio in Mitchell Street, Bendigo in the 1910s to 1950s.

In the early 1970s, a collection of around 5000 glass plate negatives were discovered in a basement that was once the studio of Mr Kelly. The collection was donated to the state library in 2016.

It is called the Rosenberg Collection, named after the family that bought the house where the plates were found. The images are beautiful examples of early 20th century photography showing people of all ages posing predominantly in a studio, often for significant events.

Possibly the Gard family, part of the Rosenberg collection. Courtesy State Library of Victoria.

Examples include the group of six people, all holding a different musical instrument. They are possibly a family whose name could be Gard. Then there is the group of four children, with a woman off to the side holding a teddy bear to distract the youngest member. No name is connected to the photo.

Family of four with mum on the side. Courtesy State Library of Victoria.

Many photos of soldiers have been traced back thanks to war records but there are a few that still need further research.

There are about 5000 of these glass plate negatives that have been stored in the depths of the state library. Most of them have names on the back so have been able to be identified. Many, however, have an unreadable family name or haven't been able to be found. That's where the hobby genealogist comes in.

Who better to ask than family historians who are used to searching through documents and photos to match the unknown people to possible family trees and even break down a few brick walls.

You can see more photos at and search for 'Rosenberg Collection'.

Also check out the following video on the work of Vincent Kelly.


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