PRIZED PASTIME: Jessica Darke with the Kodak Box camera and the photos printed from the film.
PRIZED PASTIME: Jessica Darke with the Kodak Box camera and the photos printed from the film.

Classic Kodak moments come to life

WHEN Jessica Stuckey first fumbled with her great-grandmother's box brownie camera, she had no knowledge of the memoirs hidden inside.

The leather casing of the camera is inscribed with her great-grandmother's initials and surname, and her town of residence, Glenreagh, in cursive print.

An instruction manual at the bottom of the case read the date 1928, so when Jessica discovered a roll of film inside the camera, she had no idea what to expect.

"I was down in Grafton recently visiting my grandparents, Betty and Sam Darke, and they gave me a collection of their antique cameras as family heirlooms," Jessica said.

"I really had no idea what the date frame for the pictures was going to be," she said.

"It was a real mystery."

Jessica set about getting the images developed.

She tracked down a company that specialised in vintage camera development, but given the age of the film, Jessica was apprehensive about telling her family.

"They'd just had the cameras sitting there for so long... I didn't want to tell anyone in case the developing didn't work," she said.

Having become accustomed to the world of digital cameras, where an image can be viewed instantly, the week-long wait for the photographs to be developed seemed like an eternity.

"I was really excited, but so anxious as well."

"The prints were from either the very late 70's or early 80's, there's a photo of my parents when they were in their early 20's," Mrs Stuckey said.

She emailed copies of the photographs to her dad, Dennis Darke, and mailed prints to her grandparents Betty and Sam Darke.

Mrs Stuckey grew up in Tucabia and is now a graphic and web designer.

"I'm interested in photography so Nan and Pop gave me a collection of old cameras," she said.

Glimpse into the past.

"We started to piece together who the other people in the pictures were... One was of my great grandmother and a couple of others were of her brother and friends who would drive up to Grafton from Sydney especially for the Jacaranda festival."


An inexpensive but effective and reliable camera.

Designed to encourage people to take up photography.

In turn, increase future film sales.

Kodak started selling the Brownie Camera in February 1900. The name Brownie was synonymous with popular photography for the next 80 years.

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