Photographic Forensics – a Kogarah Photo

     How much information there can be in a photograph!  This photo from our collection (LHP 525) shows Regent Street, Kogarah, but is undated.  Is it possible to find out the date from the information in the photo?  There are several business names visible or partly visible which might help.

     Occupying the site of no 7 Regent Street is the dental surgery of Albert Campling.  He was born in 1873, and was a Boer War veteran, having served in 1900 as a private with the NSW Imperial Bushmen.  When the First World War began, he enlisted again, and served as a Second Lieutenant.  He was killed in action in France in 1916 when his dugout was blown in by enemy shelling.  His widow Mary later lived in Wolseley Street, Bexley, in a house she named ‘Bois-Grenier’ in his memory.

     A going-away function was held when Mr Campling left for the front, at which the master of ceremonies was Mr Frank Stark – whose provision store is shown on the corner with Montgomery Street.  Mr Stark was an Alderman for North Ward of Kogarah Council for a few months in 1907, and was held in high regard locally.  He has a good stock of brooms for sale.  That may be him, bringing in a delivery

     Between Stark’s store and Campling’s dentist is the produce store of W E Browne, who was in business there up to 1919.  To the left of Campling’s are the Regent Buildings, very new in construction.  W T Folbigg, mercer, advertised at this Regent Street location in the St George Call for a few months in 1913, but did not make a go of it, for by 1916 he had moved to Nowra.  Adjacent to Folbigg’s is the furniture auction business of Woolnough & Co, which opened for business in Kogarah in early 1913, advertising in the Call from 18 January onwards.  They could furnish a four-roomed house in solid oak for £60, if that was your fancy, and why not?  Next door to Woolnough’s is the boot store of J English.  He advertised in the Call of 7 December 1912 that he would shortly open his store “in one of those commodious shops in Regent Street, Kogarah, recently erected by Mr Stroud.”  This happily dates the Regent Buildings (nos 7-13) to 1912, something not recorded in the Kogarah Heritage Study of 1993, which suggested they were circa 1910, remarking that they were ‘a well-proportioned group.’  The Mr Stroud referred to would have been Frank Stroud, licensee of the Railway Hotel, Kogarah.  A bit of digging around in Trove reveals that Stroud chose the architect of Regent Buildings to be Charles Halstead, who tendered successfully in March 1912 (see Sydney Morning Herald 5 March 1912, p6).  Halstead was the most significant architect in the St George area, responsible for, among other buildings, the Friendly Societies’ Dispensary in MacMahon Street, Hurstville; the grand house West Malling in King Georges Road; and St George Cottage Hospital.

     On the opposite corner of Regent Street is the dental surgery of S H Rodgers, LDS, who opened for business in about 1906.  Picture the rival dentists, pliers in hand, emerging onto their balconies and smiling a dental smile at one another.

By way of contrast, this was the scene in 1995 (photo LHP 754).

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