The Cycling Wedding Photographer
- Maryborough-Midlands Historical Society
- Malcolm McKinnon
Wal Richards loved weddings. Given a box brownie camera as a young man in 1946, he started cycling on his blue and white bike to weddings in Maryborough and surrounding towns. Uninvited, he would position himself up close to the action and record events in his candid and unorthodox style.
Wal’s physical and mental disabilities meant that he was an easy person to underestimate and many people assumed that he didn’t have film in his camera. But in 1996, when Wal passed away, his family found more than 20,000 unsorted wedding photographs stored in shoe boxes in his house.
The collection was donated to the Maryborough-Midlands Historical Society. In 1998 the Central Goldfields Regional Art Gallery held an exhibition of Wal’s work. His striking photos and remarkable story generated broad interest and was written up in Time Magazine.
Whilst only a small portion of the weddings in Wal’s photographs have been identified so far, the collection is a remarkable and unusual social history of Maryborough spanning almost half a century.
The collection is housed at the Maryborough-Midlands Historical Society, which is located in the Worsley Cottage Complex.