The ‘Possum’ Greene Collection

The Alfred ‘Possum’ Greene Collection is a remarkable personal record of over 3000 photographic prints and negatives, most of which document Greene’s surroundings during his life in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains region during the 1950s and 1960s.

Including the areas of Tumut, Adelong, Batlow, Jounama, Yarrangobilly and Goobarragandra (to name just a few), the collection is very important to the district since many of the areas and buildings pictured in the photographs are now submerged under the dams which form the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme (which was commenced in 1949 and finally completed in 1974). Other cottages, huts and sheds in the photos have also since been destroyed by fire, the elements and the passing of time.

Wooden hut leaning to the side.
“Accommodation at Learmont’s saw mill. At present disused, hut is still habitable. Had dinner here today. May 26, 1957.” [from the Possum Greene Collection, RW1247/3/633].
Photography appears to have been a lasting passion with Greene. The entire collection dates from 1923, just before his arrival in Australia the following year as a seventeen year old. He began working on properties in central Queensland before moving to the Tumut region in the 1930s.

He was meticulous in the documentation of his photographs. On the reverse side of nearly every print Greene wrote a description of the scene, the date, time, weather conditions and sometimes even the aperture of his camera.

The Archives is indeed lucky to have this collection as when Greene died in Boorowa in 1981, he had no immediate family and for many years the boxes of photographs were kept at the Boorowa Court House before Archives staff became aware of the collection.

Service station, Talbingo
“Jack Bridles’ Service Station – Talbingo. Wed. 23rd April 1958. 12.45 p.m. Sun/50X16/F.50½ – with Stan Norris”. [from the Possum Greene Collection, RW1247/1624].

A small selection of photographs from the Possum Greene collection can be viewed at our Digital Gallery.

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