John T Collins (1907–2001) was an art teacher and honorary photographer for the Victorian division of the National Trust of Australia for many years. His collection of almost 20,000 black-and-white negatives has been digitised and is available online via our catalogue.
Collins accompanied the former Classification Committee of the National Trust on its many excursions to view buildings of historic interest in Melbourne and country Victoria. Ranging in date from 1950 to 1988, the photographs provides a unique visual record of Victoria’s architectural heritage.
The photographs provide varied views of each building or collection of buildings on a site. The many images of homesteads and their associated out-buildings, such as shearing sheds, barns, stables, piggeries, butcheries and dairies, provide an excellent record of the agricultural and pastoral industries of 19th-century Victoria.
Collins also focused on architectural details, both the exterior and interior, of mansions and commercial and public buildings. Interior views often show decorative details such as wallpaper and stencilling. There are examples of vernacular architecture, including slab and bark huts and pisé de terre and adobe structures.
Collins worked with the National Trust for over four decades, so he often visited the same site more than once. This is reflected in the visual record, which may show changes over time.