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Biographical entry Baker, Thomas (1854 - 1928)

23 June 1854
Montacute, Somerset, England
4 December 1928
Mornington, Victoria, Australia


Thomas Baker manufactured photographic materials using 'dry' plate methods of manufacture. In 1908 he and his partner, J.J. Rouse, amalgamated with the London Kodak company to form Kodak (Australasia) Pty. Ltd., which manufactured photographic materials and sold Eastman's Kodak cameras.


Born Montacute, Somerset, England, 23 June 1854. Died Mornington, 4 December 1928. Arrived Adelaide 1865; joined his father as blacksmith, wheelwright and coachbuilder; pharmaceutical chemist, Maryborough, Queensland 1876-81; studied medicine at the University of Melbourne 1882-83; went into business manufacturing photographic materials and developing photographs 1884; partnership with J.J. Rouse as importers and producers of photographic material 1887; branches opened in other colonies 1890-92; amalgamated with London Kodak company to form Kodak (Australasia) 1908, with Baker and Rouse as joint managing directors; manufactured the first X-ray film in Australia 1924. Donated large sums of money to the Alfred Hospital and is commemorated by the Baker Institute there. President, Melbourne Rotary club at the time of his death.


Life event - Arrived in Australia (Adelaide)
1876 - 1881
Career position - Pharmaceutical Chemist in Maryborough, Queensland
1882 - 1883
Education - Started a medical degree at the University of Melbourne, but did not complete it
1884 - 1887
Career position - Ran a photographic business manufacturing materials and developing photographs
1887 -
Career position - Partnership with J.J. Rouse as importers and producers of photographic material
Career position - Kodak Australia founded as an amalgamation with London Kodak
Career position - First X-ray film in Australia manufactured


Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources


  • Cato, J., The Story of the Camera in Australia (Melbourne: 1955). Details
  • Lowe, Thomas E., The Thomas Baker, Alice Baker and Eleanor Shaw Medical Research Institute: the First Fifty Years (Melbourne: Trustees of the Baker Medical Research Institute, 1977), 144 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • DeServille, P. H., 'Baker, Thomas (1854-1928), photographic scientist and philanthropist' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle, eds, vol. 7 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1979), pp. 156-157. Details


See also

  • Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Technology in Australia 1788-1988, Online edn, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, Melbourne, 3 May 2000, Details
  • Korner, Paul I., 'The Baker Medical Research Institute', Medical Journal of Australia, 143 (1985), 294-299. Details

McCarthy, G.J.