Harold Aubrey Tregellas (1898–1969) was born at Mitiamo, a small town west of Echuca in Victoria. He was educated at Bendigo High School and the Bendigo School of Mines, where he studied pharmacy. In about 1924 he moved to Melbourne, where he lived for the rest of his life. For about 20 years he was in charge of the dispensary at Footscray Hospital. He retired in 1963. He was an active member of the Victorian Ski Club and the Melbourne Walking Club.
Tregellas became interested in stereo photography as a schoolboy. His father, who was a schoolteacher, bought a stereoscopic viewer and had a collection of stereoscopic views. Tregellas joined the Australian section of the Stereoscopic Society in 1924 and was secretary from 1927 until his death. A bachelor who lived in a small council flat, he scoured bookshops and photographic shops and assembled a remarkable collection of stereoscopic equipment and a huge number of stereo view cards. Keith Hutchings of the Sydney Stereo Camera Club wrote that Tregellas ‘laid the foundations of post World War II stereo photography in Australia’.
The Tregellas Collection was donated to the Library in 1971–72 by R.G. Robertson of Sydney. Keast Burke acted as the intermediary between the Library and Robertson.
The Tregellas Collection contains a number of fine editions of photographic books and substantial runs of photographic journals. The books include:
Dolty, Robert, Photo-secession, Photography as Fine Art (1960)
Hunt, Robert, A Manual of Photography (1857)
Thompson, S., Swiss Scenery (1866)
Wilson, George Washington, Photographs of English and Scottish Scenery (1866)
Among the journals in the collection are:
Bromide Monthly (1901–05)
Photography Annual (1951–59)
Practical Photographer (1896–99)
Process Photogram and Illustrator (1897–1905)
Year Book of Photography (1868–94)
The Tregellas Collection contains about 10 000 stereoscopic view cards produced by both commercial and amateur photographers in all parts of the world. They mostly date from the end of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century. The Australian photographs include scenes of Melbourne, the Dandenongs, Geelong, Ballarat, the Grampians, Gippsland, Beechworth, Mount Buffalo, Hobart, Launceston, Queenstown, Sydney, Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, people such as state governors, and events such as the Federation celebrations (1901), the visit of the American Fleet (1908) and the Melbourne Cup (1908). Among the photographers represented are A.W. Dobbie, J.H. Harvey, Charles Kerry and George Rose.
The non-Australian photographs, which make up the bulk of the collection, include scenes of Britain, Ireland, Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, India, China, Japan, the United States, Canada, South America and New Zealand. There are many depictions of the South African War (1899–1902), the Russo–Japanese War (1904–05) and World War I.
A remarkable feature of the Tregellas Collection is the photographic equipment that he assembled, one of the finest collections of its kind in Australia. It includes several stereoscopes, an Ives stereo photochromoscope, glass plates and developing kit, lenses, view finders, camera cases, Kodak No. 4 panoramic camera, a stereo timber camera, several other stereo cameras, stereo graphoscopes, several Holmes and Tru-view viewers, a movie camera and a projector.
The books and journals in the Tregellas Collection have been integrated in the Australian and general collections. The stereoscopic view cards and photographic equipment are held in the Pictures Collection. The cameras, stereoscopes and other equipment have been catalogued individually. The stereoscopic view cards, which are contained in 124 boxes, are currently being catalogued, and a 27-page summary listing is available in the Pictures Reading Room.
Hutchings, Keith, Harold Aubrey Tregellas, 3-D Window (Sydney Stereo Camera Club), no.136, January 1998.