By 1879, a noted landscape photographer by the name of Fred Kruger had established himself in Skene St, Newtown and was rapidly becoming known about Geelong. In November he was invited to photograph the opening of the new Corio Bay Rowing Club boat shed, located near the Yarra Street Pier (Geelong Advertiser, 29th November, 1879). The following month, he was commissioned to photograph both the exhibits and the building when the newly-erected Geelong Exhibition Building hosted an Industrial and Juvenile Exhibition, boasting some 30,000 exhibits.
|Geelong Exhibition Building, Fred Kruger (1882), Image held by the|
State Library of Victoria
Johan Friedrich Carl Kruger was born in Berlin, Germany on 18th April, 1831 to a working-class family and as a young man, went into business as an upholsterer. By April, 1863 when his wife Auguste Wilhelmine Elisabeth Bauman and their three year old son Hans arrived in Victoria on the ship Macassar, Kruger had already settled in Rutherglen where he was a partner in his brother's furniture business which had operated since 1854. Soon after their arrival, a daughter was born to the couple and Kruger became the sole owner of the business which he sold before moving to Taradale where he established himself as a cabinet maker.
The births of two sons were registered at Taradale in 1866 and 1867 but the family did not remain long in the area, instead moving to Melbourne where Fred established a photography business in Carlton, later moving to Prahran then Preston. He soon developed a reputation as a landscape photographer, winning awards both internationally and in Australia as well as receiving acclaim for his photos of indigenous Australians.
Auguste and Fred went on to have a further six children, all born in Melbourne however at least five of their nine Australian-born children died as infants in their first year of life. Then, some time during the late 1870s or early 1880s Kruger and his remaining family moved to Geelong where they lived in Skene St, Newtown.
During his time in Geelong he took numerous photos of local scenes, travelling also to surrounding towns including Queenscliff, Point Lonsdale, Ballarat, Werribee, Winchelsea, the Otways and many places in between.
|The Leigh River, near Inverleigh, Fred Kruger, 1882. Image held by the State|
Library of Victoria
|Kruger's 1881 Photograph of the paper mill at Fyansford. Image held by the|
National Gallery of Victoria
|A similar view of the paper mill taken May, 2016. At the time, I had no idea|
I was standing so close to the spot where Kruger stood some 135 years
ago to take his photograph
|The Moorabool Falls on the Moorabool River near Lal Lal, as seen by Kruger|
in 1882. Image held by the State Library of Victoria
|Moorabool Falls, April, 2012|