Primary Sources 50 stories from 50 years of the Archives

Reclaiming a collection

The Howship Studios collection came to UMA following the closure of the Adams Studios in Benalla in 1964. Cecil Adams was the third proprietor of the photographic business established by William John Howship in 1904. 1,250 original Howship glass plate negatives remained in a trunk on the premises until 1964.

Frank Strahan — University Archivist, avid collector and raconteur — 'rescued' the negatives from someone intent on cleaning off the emulsion and using the glass plates to construct a greenhouse.

In 1985 the collection was the subject of Rodney Spark's student research into the Howship family and their business history. From primary sources, Spark traced the story of the family from the arrival of William's father Chas on the goldfields of Walhalla in the 1860s, to William's move to Benalla in 1904, where he became an integral part of the Benalla community, attending and photographing every sporting or social event that occurred as well as images of the landscape and portraits of local people.

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