The Hannan Photographics Story
(Compiled with the assistance of Paul and Carole Hannan and Chris Patterson)
The Hannan Photographic Archive is an archive of photographic negatives and related materials forming the creative output of Hannan Photographics Pty Ltd and its associated group of Hunter regional photographic companies.
The Archive spans over sixty years of professional photography and consists of approximately a million+ images.
You can view digitised images available online HERE
William and Lola Hannan, with son Paul, founded Hannan Photographics in 1965.
The Hannan group of companies also included a number of well established Newcastle and Hunter Regional photographic firms. William and Lola Hannan gradually acquired these firms from the 1950s onwards.
Hannan Photographics, in the main, consisted of three related entities:
(i) Hannan Photographics – specialising in commercial, industrial, aerial, public relations (PR), architectural, etc.
(ii) Maltfern Studio – specialising in candid weddings, portraits public relations (PR).
(iii) Green Leaves Studio – specialising in formal weddings and portraits.
Don McCririck, the third owner of the company, who purchased it in 1999, generously donated the Hannan Photographic Archive to the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (now Special Collections) in 2014.
After almost a decade, work officially began in 2023 on the conservation, documentation and digitisation of this important regional photographic treasure.
Mr. William Henry (Bill) Hannan A.I.A.P. (1915 – 1973), wife Lola Frances Hannan (1916-2011), and son Paul Hannan (1942-) founded the company.
William (Bill) Hannan trained for 6 years at Freeman Studios Sydney, Vice Regal Photographers, (established in 1875); the oldest continuously operating photographic studio in Australia.
He became manager of Howard Harris Studios for 20 years across Cessnock, Rockdale and Newcastle.
In 1938 he married Lola and in 1942, their son Paul was born. Lola, as Company Secretary, took over management of the firm Howard Harris Newcastle for 3½ years while Bill served in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
Bill left Howard Harris Newcastle in 1955 and became proprietor of the long established Maltfern Studios in Newcastle and Model Studios in Maitland and Kurri Kurri.
He established Green Leaves Studio at 106 lookout Rd New Lambton Heights in 1956, and in 1959 purchased the Hilton Wilkinson Studio, located at 105 Hunter St Newcastle, and renamed it Green Leaves City Studio.
Hannan Photographics Pty Ltd Incorporated
Hannan Photographics Pty Ltd was incorporated in 1965. Directors were Bill Hannan, Lola Hannan & Paul Hannan with a 33.3% shareholding each.
By 1972 the group of companies comprised; Hannan Photographics, Green Leaves Studios, Maltfern Studios, Model Studios Maitland and Kurri, and ProLab. The latter being a processing company for Professional Photographers.
All work for the group (including natural colour processing) was carried out by the companies’ own employees (13 full time and 16 part time).
In addition to natural colour portrait and candid weddings the company provided first class commercial photographs for Australia’s leading advertisers and industries.
What kind of commercial photography was done?
The photographic services embraced all kinds of colour and black and white photography for block-making, for salesmen’s albums, for TV graphics, for theatre slides – interior and exterior photographs of buildings; products; publicity portraits; fashion; aerial; composite and copy work for advertising layouts; colour transparencies; murals and line photography – full length films in colour or black and white with or without sound; and films for safety and works training.
The Mount Sugarloaf Colliery Film (Circa 1957)
The Mount Sugarloaf Colliery was a 16mm black and white film filmed circa 1957.
Title: Mount Sugarloaf Colliery
Production Date: (Circa 1957)
Media: Film B/W
Documentary about the Mount Sugarloaf Colliery, a coal mine located at Mount Sugarloaf in Newcastle, NSW. The promotional film “was made within eight years of the opening of the mine” in 1949, i.e, circa 1957. Contains opening scenes of Nobbys Beach, nearby Zaara Street Power Station, with Mt Sugarloaf Coal trucks delivering coal, scenes of Newcastle, Crown and Anchor Hotel, Wallsend Brickworks, then colliery with plant installations, the stables, the workers’ lockers and showers, and the extraction of coal using horse power, manual extraction and newly introduced mechanised procedures. The film follows with production line procedures for processing the coal following extraction.
“This film has been brought to you with the compliments of Mr Jack Freeman, Managing Director of Sugarloaf Collieries Pty Ltd” Bill Hannan, owner of Green Leaves” Studio, Newcastle, later pioneered the safe use of photography in underground mines.
- Producer and Photographer: Bill Hannan
- Production company: “Green Leaves” Studio, Newcastle
- Commentator: Bill King
- Country of Origin: Australia
Digital copy donated by Dulcie Hartley (through Greg and Sylvia Ray) to University of Newcastle Archives in Cultural Collections (now Special Collections) Auchmuty Library, 31 July 2014.
Due to copyright restrictions relating to the soundtrack, the entire film’s background scores have been muted, with only the narration audible. Prepared by Gionni Di Gravio, OAM 9 July 2021.
First Underground Coal Mining Colour & Sound Film
Some notable assignments included production of the first ever underground coal mining colour and sound feature film.
This film was ‘Coal Cliff 1960’ which was produced for Magazine Associates on behalf of their client Kemba Coal and Coke. A copy is in the National Library.
Another colour film was produced for Clutha Developments showing the company’s activities in Australia. This film involved over 3,500 miles of travel, mainly by light aircraft over NSW and the rugged mountain terrain of Queensland. The documentary was made for screening at Expo ’70 and the sound track was recorded in Japanese through the courtesy of the Japanese Consulate and a Radio Tokyo commentator on loan to Radio Australia.
Award for Photographic Excellence
Bill Hannan won a special award for photographic excellence in the Kodak International Colour Picture Competition, “The World And Its People” at the New York World’s Fair in 1964-65.
Bill Hannan was in the first group in Australia to be awarded Associate-ship in the Institute of Australian Photographers. He also served as Chairman of the Newcastle Regional Group of the Professional Photographers Association of Australia, of whom he had been a member of for 37 years up until his death in 1973.
The Next Generation: Paul Hannan A.I.A.P. (1942 –) and Carole Hannan (1943-)
Paul Hannan was born in 1942. Educated at Newcastle Boys High School, by 1959 he was Manager of Green Leaves City Studio, while studying at Newcastle University College.
In 1960 he married Carole Perry (1943-) and continued to work as a professional photographer, undertaking assignments for major companies throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea. Hannan Photographics Pty Ltd incorporated in 1965.
Focus on Commercial and Industrial Photography
After his father’s death in 1973 Paul became the major shareholder of the company. He closed Green Leaves City Studio and later sold Maltfern Studio to Mark Drinkwater, who was the manager at the time. Model Studio in Maitland had been sold to Luke and Jane Verhorst some years before.
In 1974, a love of portrait photography led him to New York to study under Joe Zeltsman, then the top portrait photographer in the U.S.
A professional colour processing laboratory (ProLab Ply Ltd) was formed in 1975.
In 1975 Paul and Carole built a house at 31 Mountainview Pde New Lambton Heights with a large studio and darkroom.
Paul’s main focus became commercial and industrial photography.
Hannan Photography became one of the leading industrial photographic companies in Australia during the 1970s and 1980s. Assignments were undertaken for major companies in N.S.W., Northern Territory, Queensland and Papua New Guinea.
In July 24 1981, the Financial Review featured Paul Hannan in a feature on the top five industrial photographers in Australia.
In 1978, Paul co-founded film and television production company Peach Productions, which became Peach Advertising after gaining National Accreditation in 1980.
Peach grew into largest regionally based agency and the 5th largest Australian owned. Peach’s National reputation rested on its expertise in social marketing and attitudinal change for clients such as N.S.W. Health, Dept. of Environment & Conservation, R.T.A., N.S.W. Maritime Authority, Cancer Institute, Motor Accident Authority, Sydney Water, Country Link/Railcorp, Australian Maritime Safety Authority and National Heart Foundation. Local clients included NIB Health Funds, Kloster Group and the Newcastle Knights.
Flameproof Flash Equipment Innovations
The company had a close association with the coal industry, with Bill and Paul producing the first colour film shot underground at Coal Cliff colliery in 1960. Paul Hannan and Roger Parker designed a flame proof flash that was approved by the Mines Department and used in underground coal mines in N.S.W. and Queensland for many years. The flameproof flash equipment is still in use today. During this time he also published a prestigious industry journal, “Mine and Quarry Mechanisation,” and produced a number of documentary films for the industry.
In 1985 Lola Hannan retired from Hannan Photographics Pty Ltd and Chris Patterson purchased a 25% share in the company. Chris and Carole Hannan relocated the main studio and processing laboratory to a purpose-built facility at 4 Hall St., Newcastle West. Other employees at this time were Jillian Coram-Parker, Sue Beaman and Karl Hofman. Carole managed the company until it was sold in 1990.
Paul also co-founded Bluetongue Brewery in 2002, and the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (co-founder and Commodore) and is a Past President of the Newcastle Club (2000-2002) and was instrumental in the introduction of female members to the Club in 2002.
Hannan Photographics Sold
Paul and Carole sold Hannan Photographics to Paul Raine (Karl’s brother in law) in 1990.
Paul Raine sold the company to Don McCririck, Joanne Fell and Andy Warren in 1999.
It was Don McCririck who donated the entire Archive to the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections in 2014.
Photographers of Note
Some well known photographers associated with the Hannan Group of Photographic Companies include:
- Mark Drinkwater, arguably Newcastle’s top wedding photographer at the time, worked for Hannan’s and Maltfern from 1978, purchased Maltfern in 1984 and operated it until 1990. Maltfern’s original negatives still reside with him.
- John Freund. 1974 -1980
- Lloyd Hissey 1978-1985
- Karl Hofman (who had been head of the Photographic Department at BHP Central Research Laboratories) 1982- 1998.
- Carol Jones, who had been a BOAC air hostess, emigrated to Australia, gained employment at Green Leaves as a printer and worked her way up to becoming a top portrait photographer. She was with Green Leaves for 6 years, specialising in child portraiture. After leaving Hannan’s she set up her own successful business.
- Andrew Monger 1974-1980
- Jillian Parker (then Jillian Coram) worked in the laboratory at Green Leaves, then at Hannan Photography in Hall Street Newcastle as workroom manager from 1987 to 1997. Jill left Hannan’s to work for Peach in print production, then video production and finally as Agency Producer. She retired from Peach in 2004 and became a freelance producer.
- Chris Patterson 1979-1990.
- Ann Robertshaw worked at Maltfern Studio in the City Arcade for 20 years, starting as a junior and becoming the retail manager within a relatively short time. Maltfern was Newcastle’s largest candid wedding studio for many years, photographing up to 12 weddings a week, plus engagement parties, balls, funerals, official openings etc. Many well known amateur photographers of the time worked for Maltfern at weekends and after hours.
The Company ledgers
Lola Hannan maintained the original company ledgers documenting the photographic clients, assignments, locations, photographers assigned and costs. Lola’s work was mainly clerical and financial. Photographic jobs were assigned by either William Hannan, Paul Hannan or Carole Hannan, who continued the documentation of the ledgers.
Twenty (20) ledgers (have so far) survived and accompany the boxes and folders of film negatives with details of the jobs undertaken.
Two ledgers document specifically the “Green Leaves” Studio.
Eighteen others (presumably) document the work of Hannan Photographics and its related firms in an unbroken chain from 8/4/1958 to 7/9/2011.
The latter ledgers record no company entries, so there is a problem in reconciling the entries between the Green Leaves Ledgers and the succeeding ones. The issue will hopefully be resolved in due course.
HANNAN “GREEN LEAVES” STUDIO – 106 LOOKOUT ROAD, NEW LAMBTON HEIGHTS (1955-1963)
• B17800 LEDGER: 4/1955 (No. A101) to 12/1960 (No. 1888)
• B17801 LEDGER: 23/12/1960 (No. 1889) to 12/9/1963 (No.3392)
[UNIDENTIFIED FIRM(S) – HANNAN PHOTOGRAPHICS] (1958-2011)
• B17802 LEDGER: 8/4/1958 (No. 11882) to 21/1/1962 (No. 11970)
• B17803 LEDGER: 13/1/1962 (No. 2696) to 30/7/1965 (No. 4985)
• B17804 LEDGER: 30/9/1965 (No. 4986) to 18/10/1967 (No. 6611)
• B17805 LEDGER: 24/10/1967 (No. 6612) to 17/10/1970 (No. 8879)
• B17806 LEDGER: 17/10/1970 (No. 8880) to 26/10/1973 (No. 1255)
[When 10,000 was reached, number restarted at “101”.
• B17807 LEDGER: 24/10/1973 (No. 1256) to 25/3/1976 (No. 3925)
• B17808 LEDGER: 25/3/1976 (No. 3926) to 11/4/1978 (No. 6808)
• B17809 LEDGER: 11/4/1978 (No. 6809) to 23/3/1979 (No. 8391)
• B17810 LEDGER: 23/3/1979 (No. 8392) to 7/10/1981 (No. 2737)
[When 10,000 was reached, numbers restarted]
• B17811 LEDGER: 7/10/1981 (No. 2738) to 28/1/1984 (No. 6001)
• B17812 LEDGER: 28/11/1984 (No. 6002) to 23/3/1985 (No. 6320)
• B17813 LEDGER: 28/3/1985 (No. 6321) to 9/5/1990 (No. 9567)
• B17814 LEDGER: Index to 5/1990 (No. 9586) to 6/1995 (No. 3410)
• B17815 LEDGER: 5/1990 (No. 9586) to 6/1995 (No. 3410)
• B17816 LEDGER: Index to 7/3/1995 (No. 3423) to 16/1/2004 (No. 5585)
• B17817 LEDGER: 7/3/1995 (No. 3423) to 16/1/2004 (No. 5585)
• B17818 LEDGER: Index to 23/1/2004 (No. 5586) to 7/9/2011 (No. 6900)
• B17819 LEDGER: 23/1/2004 (No. 5586) to 7/9/2011 (No. 6900)
For a chance to meet the Hannan founders, photographers and University people involved with this project, and learn more, please come along to the Hunter Living Histories August 7 Showcase “All Things Hannan” from 1pm to 2:30pm at the Auchmuty Library, University of Newcastle.
Compiled by Gionni Di Gravio with the assistance of Paul and Carole Hannan and Chris Patterson.