Tag Archives: 20th century Australia

Street photographs – a gift from the past

1940s, Brisbane – you’re walking along a city street and suddenly a smiling photographer in a suit and tie hands you a card that reads: Your photograph has just been taken. Then he moves away to find his next mark. The following day you hand over the card at a photo kiosk to see your image and maybe order a copy…

And most did. From the 1930s to the 1950s especially, city street photography was a big craze when personal cameras were rare, with these inexpensive photographs bought by thousands of people each week.

You may recognise the fellow in this photograph – Nonno Anni – taken in the Brisbane CBD circa late 1940s. Considering he spent most daylight (and night-time) hours, 7 days a week, working at he and Nanna Francesca’s fruit shop and milk bar, my guess is she’s minding it while he’s ducked out to get something. (I’m wondering if he’s cutting through ANZAC Square returning from the main Queen Street area back toward their shop in Ann Street.) Would love to know what was in the parcel!

I only recently found out this photograph existed with Dad discovering it in an old box. It’s such a gift from the past when someone you love, long gone, suddenly appears going about their everyday life in a way you’ve never seen before. What a wonderful practice street photographers had in capturing that era. Wish I could credit the photographer. If anyone knows of Brisbane street photographers of that time, I’d love to know. Zoë xx


Filed under art + photographs

from Abruzzo to Australia…

Joe’s Fruit Shop and Milk Bar continues each weeknight on ABC Nightlife – thank you to all who’ve sent messages upon discovering the book – lovely to hear from you!

By chance, I came across this photograph when looking for something else for the next book and realised it might be the only one to show the family unit of Maddalena and Vitale and their two sons Elia (left) and Annibale/Joe (right) taken not long after they were reunited in Australia.

Financial hardship, separate migration, the Depression and WW2 forced Vitale and Maddalena apart for all but about three of their first 26 years of marriage, the boys without their father, and then Maddalena and Annibale apart for a decade after he migrated at 15. So lovely to see them reunited here. They remained close for the rest of their lives in Australia with Maddalena and Vitale even living with Annibale and his family for many years.



Filed under italy