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Welcome to Stage 1 of the Max Harris Photography collection at the BMI!

The Max Harris Photography Collection was purchased in February 2016 by the Haymes family and gifted to the BMI along with funding for the appointment of Amy Tsilemanis as curator of the collection.

The 3000 strong collection of historic Ballarat images is the result of Max’s forty years collecting, gathered from various archives and private contributions, lovingly retouched, displayed and compiled into books over this period.

The Lending Library will feature a dedicated space for the Max Harris collection with revolving displays, access to the online catalogue of the collection on Victorian Collections, and research assistance for members. For those wishing to take home a piece of Ballarat’s history, prints will be also be available for purchase with all funds raised going back into the continuation of the BMI as a hub for Ballarat culture and community.

Max Harris is a history lover and photographer who was born is Ballarat in 1946.

He worked at BTV6 in its early days before joining the RAAF and getting his training in photography. He worked for many years as a commercial photographer in Ballarat before devoting his time in later years to collecting and restoring the historic Ballarat images that make up this collection.

Max’s own Ballarat images taken in the 1970s and1980s will also be digitised from negatives and added to the collection to be enjoyed by current and future generations.

Max has always been interested in the latest photographic technologies and has recently been taking aerial images with his new drone, including two recreations of historic panoramas of the city that can be enjoyed here today.

Feb-2016 Max Harris David Haymes Amy Tsilemanis Jenny Haymes Frank Hurley Graham Gooding - Image by Caleb Cluff

In the tradition of the BMI, Ballarat citizens and businesspeople will contribute funds and services to the establishment and evolution of the Max Harris Collection at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute.

Benefactors will be acknowledged on a special donor board. Our thanks thus far go to: Jenny & David Hayme

Lee Mudge and team at the Telstra Business Centre and IT Plus: Provision of computers and required software for staff and public use in maintaining and accessing the collection.

Would you like to see your name on this list? More benefactors are invited to help fully develop the Max Harris Collection, at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute