Around 2000 Victorian families who lost their homes and possessions in the Victorian bushfires are being given free care packages to help them rebuild their photo albums and other photographic memories.


Sept. 1, 2009: Around 2000 Victorian families who lost their homes and possessions in the Victorian bushfires are being given free care packages to help them rebuild their photo albums and other photographic memories.

(Pictured right are volunteers who worked through a weekend to assemble the bushfire victims’ photo packs.)

A collective of independent Victorian photographic retailers and suppliers have joined forces to produce packages for the bushfire victims containing 200 photo processing vouchers, a photo album, photo frames and CD. The packs are being distributed by the Department of Human Services.
In an extraordinarily generous gesture for a small, Australian-based company, Independent Photo Supplies (IPS) has provided free photo paper sufficient to produce around 500,000 prints! IPS supplies DNP (formerly Konica) photo paper to Australian photo retailers.
‘This brings home to us what photography is all about,’ explained IPS managing director, Stuart Holmes. ‘We feel pretty strongly that in these days when photos are being turned into a cheapened commodity, a gesture like this reminds us of how valuable they actually are.
‘The image of a person fleeing their house with the family photo albums under their arm tells us that photography is about family and precious memories. It’s such a human product.’
Frames and albums supplier Playcorp pitched in with 2000 photo albums, while Melbourne-based framemaker Samuel Winston put its hand up for a donation of the same number of 8×10-inch frames.

Then came Furwood Imports, which offered two thousand of its cardboard ‘Shot 2 Go’ photo frames, and Verbatim, which offered the same number of its recordable CDs.
The driving force behind the initiative is retailing partners Rob and Meg Gateley, from Beau Photos in Beaumaris. Rob not only conceived of the project shortly after the Victorian bushfires destroyed over 2000 homes in February. but with wife Meg has done the bulk of the ‘heavy lifting’, donating time and their own resources to bring it to fruition.
Richard Robertson, managing director of Ted’s Cameras, had no hesitation in committing the chain’s Melbourne-based outlets as fulfilment centres, joining a group of other independent retailers in the close-knit Victorian photo retailing community.
“Photographs are a powerful way to bring back memories. They are images that have so much meaning and that we treasure throughout our lives,” said Rob Gateley.

Rob was interviewed on ABC radio about the project on August 18 at an outside broadcast in one of the bushfire devastated towns.
‘The amount of time you must have put in to get an industry response must have been enormous,’ noted ABC presenter John Faine. ‘On behalf of everyone here we salute you and everyone involved.’
Gateley said that the care packages were ‘going like hotcakes’ from the dozen or so distribution centres in the bushfire affected areas, and the group was starting to see some of the free printing vouchers coming into stores for redemption.
‘We were searching for the best way to do the most good. Rob had the same idea and cast the net. What he caught was a benevolent group of people in the photographic industry all wanting to contribute, and Ted’s was one of them,’ said Yolanta Green, Ted’s Cameras.
‘We understand that most photos are taken to document significant events which mark our passage through life; first steps, first birthday, first day at school. We want to make sure we restore those great memories in photos which hopefully for some, will help the rebuilding process and for others make the burden a little lighter,’ added Yolanta.
With the help of extended family and friends, recipients can use the 200 free print vouchers to produce copies from photos, negatives, digital files and slides. They can also distribute them to family and friends so that they can arrange for copies to be made.
Recipients have until the end of 2010 to redeem the vouchers at the store listed below. Rob estimates that up to 5000 labour hours will be donated in printing services alone.
‘We couldn’t help with fencing, but we make great photos so we’re proud to participate in a program that will help to rebuild family memories and proud to be part of an industry that can be so generous. Thirty years in the business and I can still be amazed,’ added Rob.
The website is the communications hub for the project.


Beau Photos, Beaumaris
Ted’s Cameras: Camberwell, Chadstone, City, Doncaster, Eastlands, Ferntree Gully, Fountain Gate, Frankston, Knox, Maribynong, Southland, Werribee
Laser Image, Geelong
Ideal Images, Highpoint Shopping Centre
Moonee Ponds Photographics
Beachside Photos, Mornington
Photo Production House, Prahan
Imagexpress, Point Cook
Picture Perfect, Richmond
Digital Photo Express, Warragul


Key contributors to the program: Independent Photo Supplies, Playcorp, Samuel Winston, Shot 2 Go, Verbatim , Wilson Everard Advertising, Leader Newspapers.