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Kodak Australasia closes manufacturing plant
Old 09-16-2004   #1
Laika
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Kodak Australasia closes manufacturing plant

650 jobs to go as Kodak closes Melbourne plant

Kodak Australasia has announced plans to close manufacturing operations at its plant at Coburg in Melbourne's north. Six hundred and fifty workers will lose their jobs as a result of the shutdown in November.

Kodak has blamed a major downturn in conventional photography for the closure the plant.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...9/s1200831.htm


Bad news for all us film users

Last edited by Laika : 09-16-2004 at 07:49.
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Old 09-16-2004   #2
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Bummer.
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Old 09-16-2004   #3
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Kodak Australian closedown
Old 09-19-2004   #4
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Kodak Australian closedown

It seems that the Coburg plant was engaged mainly in production of Kodak Gold, a 35 mm colour negative consumer product, and (I'm not sure of this) colour paper as used by minilabs. I haven't purchased any Kodak B/W materials of any sort which is manufactured in Australia, it's all imported, and that includes the chemistry and the B/W film and paper.

The unions have cast doubt on Kodak Australia's management statement of the rise of digital photography being the cause of the closure and the loss of 600 staff. They believe that it is a matter of moving production to a more favourable labour market.

Kodak retains 400 staff in Victoria.

Seems like globalisation to me.


Meantime I have as much Ilford and Agfa ias I can afford in the refrigerator, no room for Kodak Gold!

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Old 09-19-2004   #5
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Old 03-27-2019   #6
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I was going through the oldest threads on RFF for the heck of it, and I had to reanimate this one. It's like developing found film, haha.

It is now 2019. The old Kodak site in Coburg was completely demolished and turned into a residential area. Now it has scores of new houses and townhouses, and the streets have fantastic names like Snapshot Drive, Camera Walk, Cyan Way, Spectrum Way, Pixel Circuit, and much more. As a new suburban development it is really quite lovely, and is full of young families and couples. I know people who live there and visit them often.

https://www.domain.com.au/news/devel...0140727-zwrpa/

Unfortunately, this part of the past is becoming lost, even this soon after its demolition and redevelopment. A local auctioneer was heard to say, 'cuh-MEER-uh walk', and had no idea that it was the old Kodak site. Such a shame.

In my wanderings, I've met a 70something year old photographer who did a heap of commercial work back in the day. He said he was taken on a tour of the Kodak site and it was massive. Apparently, they did all the Kodachrome development for Australia in that location.

https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/plan...s/coburg-hill/

https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/6204
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Old 03-27-2019   #7
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I had no idea Kodak had any presence in Oz whatsoever anymore. 600 staff is a lot of overhead for any biz. No wonder. Re the Kodachrome: I recall that in the late 1990s the self addressed envelope had a mailing address in Moorebank NSW (near Liverpool where the M5 runs). Maybe they forwarded to Coburg, but I had always assumed they processed Kodachrome locally in Sydney also.
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Old 03-27-2019   #8
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Whoops. I just noticed the OP is 15 years old. Of course it is! Lol
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Old 03-28-2019   #9
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Whoops. I just noticed the OP is 15 years old. Of course it is! Lol

Yep, I brought it back from the dead because I just came back from visiting friends who live in what was once the old Kodak site. It's kind of funny how these things come around. If I was in the market for a house, I wouldn't mind living there, as it is both a nice area and has that cool history.
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Old 03-28-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
I was going through the oldest threads on RFF for the heck of it, and I had to reanimate this one. It's like developing found film, haha.

It is now 2019. The old Kodak site in Coburg was completely demolished and turned into a residential area. Now it has scores of new houses and townhouses, and the streets have fantastic names like Snapshot Drive, Camera Walk, Cyan Way, Spectrum Way, Pixel Circuit, and much more. As a new suburban development it is really quite lovely, and is full of young families and couples. I know people who live there and visit them often.

https://www.domain.com.au/news/devel...0140727-zwrpa/

Unfortunately, this part of the past is becoming lost, even this soon after its demolition and redevelopment. A local auctioneer was heard to say, 'cuh-MEER-uh walk', and had no idea that it was the old Kodak site. Such a shame.

In my wanderings, I've met a 70something year old photographer who did a heap of commercial work back in the day. He said he was taken on a tour of the Kodak site and it was massive. Apparently, they did all the Kodachrome development for Australia in that location.

https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/plan...s/coburg-hill/

https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/6204
Give that man a Camira. Preferably a JB, if possible. He deserves it.
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Old 03-28-2019   #11
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Kodak also had a large shop in Collins Street, Melbourne's premier shopping street (jewellers, gentlemen's outfitters, furriers, upmarket women's clothing etc). I went in there one day in the 1970s to ask if a roll of 16mm Kodachrome movie film that had an expiry date in the 1950s would be ok. In those days it was 10ASA! (not as bad as it sounds for home movies because of the fairly slow shutter speed) They told me to give 1/2 stop extra exposure. I took it back for processing and they said it would have to go to the USA for processing (its age and type) which they did under the prepaid system. Film came back excellent. They could also answer technical questions.
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Old 03-28-2019   #12
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Kodachrome was also processed in Sydney by a lab that completely changed and simplified the old process. It was seen by some US Kodak guys and the processing was adopted by Rochester. The lab still exists but no longer processes Kodachrome.
The owner of the lab had children at the same school as my kids, so I used his lab all the time.
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Old 03-28-2019   #13
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P.S. The lab is Vision Image Lab in Redfern.
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Old 03-28-2019   #14
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I used to live around the corner from the old Kodak plant in Coburg. I remember it being demolished and then the houses going up. The did nothing to rehabilitate the land or to clean up the chemical waste in the ground. It runs down to a creek that flows into the Yarra and then into the bay and then the ocean. An environmental travesty, and an indication of the power the developers have (had?) over the government at the time.
Early residents were told not to consume anything they grew on the land as it was so contaminated.
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Old 03-28-2019   #15
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I worked there for a while, and did my E6 QA/QC course there. I think about it most days, in one way or another.

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Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Give that man a Camira. Preferably a JB, if possible. He deserves it.
Awesome.



A fate worse than a fate worse than death.

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Old 03-28-2019   #16
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I used to live around the corner from the old Kodak plant in Coburg. I remember it being demolished and then the houses going up. The did nothing to rehabilitate the land or to clean up the chemical waste in the ground. It runs down to a creek that flows into the Yarra and then into the bay and then the ocean. An environmental travesty, and an indication of the power the developers have (had?) over the government at the time.
Early residents were told not to consume anything they grew on the land as it was so contaminated.

Holy cow, I never knew that. Thank you for telling me this, I'll let my friends know.
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Old 03-28-2019   #17
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I had no idea Kodak were ever in Australia.
Has there even been an Australian made camera?
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Old 03-28-2019   #18
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Old Kodak story as told to me by an old-school photographer who was selling his studio in about 2016:


As a young man, he worked either in a store or at Kodak (I don't quite recall, but Kodak was involved). A customer came in, very irate, as he had purchased a brand new film camcorder for a round the world trip, and all of his Kodak film came back black. He was demanding that Kodak (or the store?) do something about it.


Our hero was standing by watching all of this, and he asked the customer if he could show how he loaded the film. The customer did so. Then he asked the customer how he shot with the camera. The customer demonstrated.



Our hero said, 'the lens cap is still on'.
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Old 03-28-2019   #19
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I worked there for a while, and did my E6 QA/QC course there. I think about it most days, in one way or another.

What was it like there? How big was the property of the Kodak site? Do you have any old pictures?
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Old 03-28-2019   #20
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I lived in East Brunswick in the '80s and '90s and often went exploring Merri Creek and the old cemetery near the Kodak site. I remember a snow storm in July, 1986 (the year I moved to Melbourne from Sydney) with snow everywhere and Kodak staff playing with snowballs in the car parking lot. I may even have one or two color slides I shot of this. Now all that seems to me like it happened many centuries ago.

I've not been back to Preston for a long time. This thread has rekindled my interest in Kodak in Australia and I should revisit soon.

Someone told me a lot of Kodak information of interest to history buffs is in the State Library of Victoria archives. This may be worth a search.

When Andrew Brown was with customer relations at Kodak Australasia (I'm thinking 1980s here), everything was truly wonderful. Andrew would always go the extra distance to help his customers and many times when I contacted KA with my usual fiddly-bits queries, he happily did all the research and got back to me with timely, ever useful information.

Time passed and in the 1990s I ran into Andrew at Michael's Photo Centre in CBD Melbourne. We had a brief chat (I made sure to thank him for his years of good service to me and so many others) and he told me he had been more or less put out to the pasture in a reorganization.

He left Michael's not long afterwards - not surprised given that store's heavy-handed approach to selling high-profit prosumer camera kits in the '90s and early '00s. So Fred also went, having managed the camera sections (new and used) for the same shop for more years than anyone can recall, except I'm sure, Fred, if he is still with us.

In the early '90s I returned an item to Michael's for a refund. They held it for checking and I then forgot all about the item and money.

About two years later I went back into Michael's and bought an item. To my amazement, Fred came out and told me he still had a credit on account in my name and he would apply it to my purchase.

Not many shops in Melbourne would have done that at the time.

I ran into Fred who was happily retired and enjoying life, at Aldi's in Preston in 2009 or 2010. We had a long chat and for the first time I saw the gregarious, natural, very personable man behind the at times hard Germanic store manager.

I no longer deal with Kodak now as many years ago they basically stopped providing any products or services I want or need. Ditto Michael's altho their store windows are ever full of luscious secondhand gear and the sales staff now seem to have time to actually chat to would-be customers.

Both Andrew (Kodak) and Fred (Michael's) appear to have vanished into the mists of 'tempoe doloe' (tempus fugits).

I could go on about Leon Splitter, but it's best to save him for another time and another thread.

Has anyone who reads this kept in contact with either? It would be good to know how they are doing. To be sure I (and I'm sure many others) wish them both well and happy retirements.
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The past is a foreign country
Old 03-28-2019   #21
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The past is a foreign country

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
Holy cow, I never knew that. Thank you for telling me this, I'll let my friends know.
In terms of the site contamination, if your friends live there now, the risk is reduced. The site was decontaminated - the top 1-2m of soil removed and replaced with clean material before the current estates were built. If I lived there and I wanted a vegetable garden I'd still test the soil and/or buy new clean soil and put it in raised beds with an impervious underlayer, but I would do that anywhere in a city (I did it at my house in Adelaide).

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What was it like there?
It was excellent. The management were good, there was a lot of activity, and the courses were well run. In the 1990s I am sure Kodak were unaware that they had invented their own demise in the 1970s. But I was also young, out on my own for the first time, with more resources than I ever expected to have, and with no real stresses. So it was a great time for me.

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Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
How big was the property of the Kodak site?
The site was enormous: https://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/glob...sis-report.pdf

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Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
Do you have any old pictures?
Some of my photos are in here:
https://collections.museumvictoria.c...ch?query=kodak

Marty
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Old 03-28-2019   #22
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@Freakscene @ozmoose and everyone else who is on this thread, thank you so much for the glimpses into a history that is unfortunately being forgotten.

I'll definitely look through the Museum Victoria site for anything of interest. At least they are being preserved there. If only I could convince them that my work is of historical value, too, hahaha.
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Old 03-28-2019   #23
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Small world. I was an MCV staffer for a couple of years in the 90s. We've just had a reunion and another is on shortly. I've asked, and will let you know. I remember both fondly.
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Old 03-29-2019   #24
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There was once a Citroen factory in Melbourne assembling Ds's. Where was it?
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Old 03-29-2019   #25
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There was once a Citroen factory in Melbourne assembling Ds's. Where was it?
Heidelberg West. They assembled Peugeot and Renault cars there too. My father collected a Peugot from there in 1956 and drove it home to Brisbane.

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Old 03-29-2019   #26
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Spent months working in Melbourne, many happy memories. Loved that bunch of guys rebuilding a Liberator in a shed in Werribee!
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Old 03-29-2019   #27
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I had no idea Kodak were ever in Australia.
Has there even been an Australian made camera?
Yes, there was a short-lived Australian designed and made camera called the "Kanga". It didn't really sell too well in The US or Europe as the photos always came out upside down and no-one made albums that could take them.
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Old 03-29-2019   #28
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There was once a Citroen factory in Melbourne assembling Ds's. Where was it?
ID-19 models were locally assembled in Melbourne but not the DS models with their more complex hydraulic spec. From memory they may have assembled some in South Africa too. And a couple of other places, Slough, obviously. There is a lovely light green Aussie assembled ID-19 resident in Tasmania that's well known to club members. Might possibly have an old photo or two of it somewhere.
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Old 03-29-2019   #29
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I worked there for a while, and did my E6 QA/QC course there. I think about it most days, in one way or another.



Awesome.



A fate worse than a fate worse than death.

Marty

!!!

A fate worse than a fate worse than death.

!!!

I just cannot wait to use this wonderful invention.


My grandfather was a fitter and turner and 'engineer' and installed the temperature controlled baths at Kodak in Coburg. Wish I'd asked him more about it, back in the '70s. This might have been in the '50s that he did that.
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Old 03-29-2019   #30
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!!!
A fate worse than a fate worse than death.
!!!
I just cannot wait to use this wonderful invention.
To provide fair attribution, it’s from The Princess Bride: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_...ss_Bride_(film)

But to be consigned to drive a JB Camira really is a fate worse than a fate worse than death. Brett really picked a choice punishment for the mispronouncing auctioneer/real estate sales person.

Marty
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Old 03-29-2019   #31
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To provide fair attribution, itís from The Princess Bride: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_...ss_Bride_(film)

But to be consigned to drive a JB Camira really is a fate worse than a fate worse than death. Nick really picked a choice punishment for the mispronouncing auctioneer/real estate sales person.

Marty
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