Many of the photos feature in the book were from glass negatives, salvaged from the town dump some 20 years ago.
Many of the photos feature in the book were from glass negatives, salvaged from the town dump some 20 years ago. hervey bay historical village

Never seen before images of the region revealed in new book

A MUSEUM historian, volunteer and pioneering Hervey Bay resident has put his heart and soul into producing a historic 200-page book to ensure the region's rich history won't be forgotten.

Moments in Time - funded by the Fraser Coast Regional Council and the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum - took nine months to complete and features many photos, panagrams and postcards that date back to the 1890s.

Many have never been seen before.

There are 20 chapters, including a section by Fraser Coast Chronicle chief photographer Alistair Brightman titled Hervey Bay Today.

"The book is a real-life look into the Fraser Coast of yesteryear," said Mr Andersen, whose family links to the region date back to 1863.

"With 200 pages, hard-bound and commercially produced, it is unique for a number of reasons ... including the fact that many of the photos came into the museum's possession by pure fate."

EXCITED: Hervey Bay Historian John Andersen and museum president Harold Collins show some of the rare postcards featured in the new book, Moments in Time.
EXCITED: Hervey Bay Historian John Andersen and museum president Harold Collins show some of the rare postcards featured in the new book, Moments in Time. Cody Fox

Mr Andersen said the incredible story started with the 82 glass negatives from the late 1800s to early 1900s - donated by three different Fraser Coast families - that had all found their way to the museum.

A pioneering family called the Hendersons discovered the first lot of glass negatives under an old home in Pialba and donated the small collection to the museum about eight years ago.

The second historic collection of glass negatives and the actual antique camera and equipment were gifted to the museum by the pioneering Hervey Bay Kaminski family.

The third and final piece of the pie is remarkable.

Eight boxes of glass negatives, still in their original 1890 cardboard cases, were found by a local at the rubbish tip 20 years ago, salvaged and given to his friend Bob Winnett, who had a special interest in photography.

Bob kept the historic artefacts safe for all these years until recently when he decided they were in better hands with Mr Andersen, alongside whom he had taught at a school in Nanango many years ago.

While digitising the collection, Mr Andersen made a phenomenal discovery.

The collection of negatives donated by Bob were all of the Burrum District, Nikenbah, Craignish, River Heads, Hervey Bay and Maryborough area and some included photographs of the same people that were in the Kaminski collection.

"Had it not been for Bob's friend seeing that, rescuing them and giving them to me, they would have been landfill and gone forever," Mr Andersen said.

"The odds of that happening you can only put down to fate.

"When I did all the glass negatives they turned out to be all of this area from 1890 through to about 1905, which is an absolute treasure trove of life in Hervey Bay.

"To get a photographic collection like this is beyond comprehension."

Some 17 panagrams (panoramic views) of Hervey Bay in 1950, many of which have not been previously reproduced, are also a priceless feature of the book, as well as a number of postcards that are close to Mr Andersen's heart.

"In 1950 I was about 10 years old and Bob Belbin arrived in Hervey Bay and he was a photographer in Mackay.

"He had a unique panoramic camera that took pictures with 360-degree views on one roll of negative and he did a whole series on Hervey Bay and they were sold at my uncle's, George Haddows, news agency at Scarness.

"The family kept a collection of those originals and I have located others over the years that I didn't have so now the museum has a complete set of these 1950 panograms and each one of those is an absolute glimpse of life here in the Bay through the 1950s."

Priced at $30, Mr Andersen said the book had already been met with an overwhelming response, including being nominated by an independent body for the prestigious John Oxley Library Literary Award.

"The interest in the book has been nothing short of spectacular," he said.

"There has never been, I don't think, a similar book produced in this area, with the history virtually from the start of photography as we know it to Hervey Bay now."

The official launch of the book will be held on Friday, April 5 at the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum from 9am, with free admission for the morning.

There will be 100 numbered souvenir copies of the book available for $40, which includes signatures by MP Ted Sorensen, Mayor George Seymour, museum president Harold Collins and John Andersen.

A signed first day of issue certificate of authenticity will be included.

A number of books will also be presented as a gift to representatives of local schools on the day.

Books can be bought at the launch or pre-ordered by phoning the museum on 41284804.

During the week of April 1-6, there will also be a number of displays relating to the publication at Stockland Shopping Centre.

There will be another opportunity to buy the book at the Stockland stall on Saturday, April 6.