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Max Dupain's images of Penrith, 1948

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Shoe Shop, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
Shoe Shop, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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A corner of Fletcher’s Store popular with the feminine section of the community by Max Dupain, 1948
A corner of Fletcher’s Store popular with the feminine section of the community by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Printing fabric at the factory of Impression Textiles Ltd, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
Printing fabric at the factory of Impression Textiles Ltd, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Women winding capacitors, Dacon Condensers Ltd, St Mary’s  by Max Dupain, 1948
Women winding capacitors, Dacon Condensers Ltd, St Mary’s by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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The Milk Bar section of the Aroney’s bright airy restaurant, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
The Milk Bar section of the Aroney’s bright airy restaurant, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Shop front for Aroney’s Milk Bar, High Street, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
Shop front for Aroney’s Milk Bar, High Street, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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High street, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
High street, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Bussell Brothers shop front, High Street, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
Bussell Brothers shop front, High Street, Penrith by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Entrance to Pyrotechnic Section, Ministry of Munitions, Saint Mary’s by Max Dupain, 1948
Entrance to Pyrotechnic Section, Ministry of Munitions, Saint Mary’s by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Playing on the Nepean River by Max Dupain, 1948
Playing on the Nepean River by Max Dupain, 1948
1948
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Max Dupain (1911–1992) is perhaps Australia’s best-known and most influential 20th century photographer.

The Library recently acquired the Max Dupain Exhibition Negative Archive with more than 25,000 negatives that were not part of his commercial business. Max Dupain and Associates was well-known for its architectural and commercial photography.

The archive, which concentrates on the 1930s, 40s and 50s when Dupain was at the height of his creative powers, includes many of his most iconic works including The Sunbaker, Jean with Wire Mesh and The Meat Queue. The Library is pleased to be the custodian of this enormous archive representing the full range of Max Dupain’s creative expression and is in the process of making this large collection accessible.  


Renowned for his modernist, beach and architectural images, Max Dupain also recorded more routine scenes of everyday life. Among his negatives is an extraordinary visual record of Penrith in 1948.

From the 1930s to the 1970s, advertising expert Oswald Ziegler made a career out of commercialising contemporary Australian photography, producing a series of lavishly illustrated book on topics ranging from the Victorian Centenary to the opening of the Sydney Opera House. Ziegler also hit on the idea of creating a series of well-designed brochures to promote the agricultural, industrial, residential and tourist potential of regional towns and cities such as Brisbane, Newcastle and Goulburn.

At the end of World War II, Penrith was an outer Sydney suburb with a population of just 15,000, when the entrepreneurial Mr Zeigler approached the local council with the idea of creating just such promotional tool to publicise Penrith and adjoining St Marys. From time to time, Ziegler’s books had featured photographs taken by well-known photographers. In this instance, Max Dupain was engaged as the photographer and, by October 1948, 5000 copies of Zeigler’s 30-page brochure had been produced.

 10 of the photographs, including several unpublished images printed from Dupain’s original negatives, are currently on display in the Library's AMAZE gallery.