Frederick William Ledgar (1916–1995) was born in Macclesfield, England, and educated at the King’s School, Macclesfield, and the University of Manchester. For several years he was a town-planning consultant in various counties in northern England. In 1949 he was appointed a lecturer in town and country planning at the University of Manchester. In 1956 he emigrated to Australia to take up the position of Director of the Department of Town and Regional Planning at Melbourne University. In 1970 he became the first Professor of Town and Regional Planning at Melbourne University and in 1973 the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Building. He retired in 1980. Ledgar was a member of the National Capital Planning Committee in 1958–64 and President of the Royal Australian Planning Institute in 1970–72.
In his lectures Ledgar made extensive use of photographs to show how Australian cities and towns had changed over a century or more. He assembled an important collection of early photographs, particularly of Victoria, taken by such photographers as Nicholas Caire, J.W. Beattie and Charles Nettleton.
The Ledgar Collection was donated by Ledgar’s wife, Irene Ledgar, and their son, Richard Ledgar, in 1999.
The Ledgar Collection comprises 421 photographs, including many albumen prints, taken in the period 1858–1910 in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia. Most of the photographs are of public buildings and street scenes in cities and towns, but there are also rural scenes and photographs of country roads, bridges, mine works, picnickers, a cricket team, ship passengers, the Federation decorations in Melbourne in 1901 and the Eight Hour Day celebrations in Melbourne in 1902. There is a large number of views photographed by the Melbourne photographer Charles Nettleton (1826–1902). Other photographers represented in the collection are J.W. Beattie, Nicholas Caire, Charles Bayliss, Antoine Fauchery, E.G. Amos, Samuel Sweet, Donald McDonald and John Noone.
The following albums are included in the collection:
PIC/3313. J.W. Beattie. Album of 60 photographs of Tasmania
PIC/3315. Nicholas Caire. Album of 82 views of Victoria
PIC/3317. Charles Nettleton. Album of 55 photo-views of Melbourne and suburbs, c. 1890
PIC Album 222. Charles Nettleton. Album of 32 photographs of Melbourne
PIC/3320. Charles Nettleton. Album of 55 views of Victoria
PIC/3321. Nicholas Caire. Album of 22 views of New South Wales, c. 1879–80
PIC/3322. Nicholas Caire. Album of 15 views of Bendigo, 1875
PIC/3323. Bardwell’s Royal Studio. Album of 24 photographic views of Ballarat, 1882
PIC/3364. Johnstone, O’Shaughnessy & Co. Two albums of 12 photographs from original designs by Australian artists, 1875–76.
Among the subjects of the loose photographs are Melbourne, Geelong, Queenscliff, Ballarat, Hamilton, Maryborough, Gippsland, the Ovens Valley, the Australian Alps, Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Launceston, the Huon Valley and Adelaide.
The Ledgar Collection is housed in the Pictures Collection at PIC/3313–40, 3356–64 and 3368–73. Most of the photographs have been catalogued individually and digitised.