Documenting socio-industrial change

George Westons Foods


In 2003 and 2004, renowned photographer Murray Fredericks and Peter Campbell initiated a project to document the last days of the Westons Biscuit Factory in inner-city Sydney's Camperdown.

Peter's striking images, all shot in low light on high-speed film, transformed the gritty, aging industrial machines into abstract works of art. Throughout, factory workers are photographed at work and in repose, showing both the physical and emotional relationships between the people, their work and their machines – a true insight into a community that has disappeared with the end of an industrial age.

Murray's approach was a counterpoint to Peter's. Away from the production lines, employees were sensitively photographed in brilliant colour, 'exactly as they were', endowing them with dignity and independence, as individuals not as anonymous workers on a production line.  

In 2004 the document was published by Creative Resources Management Pty Ltd as a commemorative book entitled The Biscuit Factory: Camperdown, and given to all members of staff who were being made redundant. It remains a moving memento of time and industry lost to NSW.

Following the success of the Camperdown project, George Westons Foods commissioned Peter and Murray to take a similar approach to documenting the closure of their biscuit factory in Melbourne and The Biscuit Factory: Abbotsford was the result. Images displayed in this project are a combination of the two books.

In 2007, the Museum of Sydney mounted a major exhibition based on photography from the Camperdown book. The exhibition, beautifully designed by inhouse designers at the Historic Houses Trust, was a dramatic mix of spectacular photography, intriguing content and contemporary design, making a compelling whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.

The exhibition dates — September 10 to December 2, 2007

Design Director: Lea Barnett
Creative Director: Peter Campbell
Photographers: Murray Fredericks & Peter Campbell