Historic photos of Mandurah being exhibited in Roy Whitehead Collection

Passionate photographer and collector Roy Whitehead.
Passionate photographer and collector Roy Whitehead.

A COLLECTION of historic photographs in the foyer of Mandurah Performing Arts Centre this month reveals much of Mandurah’s history and would not have been possible without the efforts of the late Roy Whitehead.

The keen photographer, who died in 2001, was responsible for preserving much of Mandurah’s historic photography.

Roy started holidaying in Mandurah in 1957.

His weekender housed three families and their guests and was the base from which numerous crabbing and fishing exploits were planned.

The walls were covered with the records of huge catches and fortunately in those days, bag limits did not exist.

And it was his persistent doorknocking every house that resulted in power being supplied to the area now known as Falcon.

Sometime later he bought a small shack in Mistral Street and with his usual zeal, remodelled and expanded it into the home where his wife Joy still lives.

But his main interest was photography to which his father introduced him as a child.

In those days it was an expensive hobby and as food was always more important, there are few photos of the time.

When he moved to Mandurah, he joined the Mandurah Camera Club of which he was a life member and involved for more than 20 years. It was there that he developed an interest in preserving old photos of Mandurah, the earliest taken in 1878.

These photos record the development of the region and include some of the people after whom some of the town’s famous landmarks are named – Tuckeys, Dawes and Halls.

Roy’s love of photography was contagious and he was always willing to help budding photographers.

It was also his drive and ingenuity that started the Shelley Sailing Club.

Legend has it that he and his sons built a barge out of 44-gallon drums that they floated onto the river one moonlit night and removed some of the historic posts in the Canning River, resulting in a significant enlargement of the river for sailing and a break in the fence line that became known as Whitehead’s Gap.

WHAT: The Roy Whitehead Collection.

WHERE: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

When: Until the end of August.