Spotlight on Robert Harvie, 1868 – 1922

Spotlight on Robert Harvie, 1868 – 1922: A Family History of Vegetarianism, Art, Cinematography and Photography

Part of the History, Culture & Collections Seminar.

A Family History of Vegetarianism, Art, Cinematography and Photography

What do vegetarianism, spiritualism, horticulture, photography, cinematography, horse racing, art and architecture have in common? These cultural, vocational, sporting and spiritual pursuits link together the Harvie and Lang families, who were significant contributors to mid-late 19th and early 20th century life in Ballarat and Melbourne.

Museum Victoria is the custodian of the Harvie Collection which consists of almost 500 images featuring people and still life portraiture, taken largely by Robert Harvie. Harvie ran a commercial studio in Melbourne from 1898 to about 1909, and was also an enthusiastic photographer of his family. The Harvie Collection provides a lens through which we can trace the social and cultural history of Robert Harvie and his extended family.

The Collection also allows us to explore the evolution of Harvie’s photographic practice, in terms of the formats, techniques and content with which he worked.


Fiona Kinsey is a Senior Curator in the Humanities Department at Museum Victoria, where she has worked across various history and technology collections over the last 16 years. She currently curates the Image and Image Making Collections, and has a particular focus on studio photographers and the Kodak Heritage Collection.

Michelle Mountain is a Museum Victoria volunteer and former intern, who has recently graduated with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies. Her previous studies have focused on photography, including a Masters of Art History examining theories of photography. Michelle is currently working part-time as Assistant Gallery Manager at the Centre for Contemporary Photography.

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