Ray Bean, Photographer

Many years ago I came across some old photos by my Grandfather Ray Bean. I had known that he was a photographer and he used to tell me some of the stories that he had of travelling all around Australia and taking photographs for Walk About Magazine. Many years later I finally saw some of the photos that he took and also got hold of some editions of Walk About Magazine. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to tell which photographs are his compared to which ones belong to other people. There is an occasional photograph that has the photographer name. More often than not the only mention is “Our Camera Man”

Over the years I have gathered together a very small collection of some of my Grandfathers work. There are many more photos then the few that I have managed to get hold of, but here are a few of the ones that I do have.

These bring back a number of memories. Not least of which is my grandfathers glass eye. The stories that he told me about it were quite confusing and contradictory. I think he told them to keep a small child entertained. The one thing that I do know for sure is that his glass eye meant that he was unable to fight in WW2. So he used his talent for other things. But that is for another day as I think I need to find out a lot more about what he did in WW2 before I actually start writing about it.


Ray Bean

Hunter Street, Newcastle, 1949 Prudential Building, Martin Place SA, Maree- The Mosque 1947 AWA Building and Wynyard Park Canonbury, No 159 Darling Pt Rd, Darling Pt (2) Canonbury, No 159 Darling Pt Rd, Darling Pt Harborside Houses 1 Harborside Houses 2 Dandenongs russ2 tony2


Ray Bean, Photographer — 12 Comments

  1. Just by chance I found a Ray Bean shot in my collection. Looks like circa 1960 taken from where I used to live at that time. It’s about 8×4 inches. and it comes from his studios at 39 seville street lane cove. The shot is a seascape from Lurline bay across to Bondi.

  2. Just by chance I found a Ray Bean shot in my collection. Looks like circa 1960 taken from where I used to live at that time. It’s about 8×4 inches. and it comes from his studios at 39 seville street lane cove. The shot is a seascape from Lurline bay across to Bondi. And the photo has a number: 13864 on it hand written.

  3. Hi,
    I’ve just found a photograph taken by Ray Bean – it is a shot of a residential house, marked with a reference number, handwritten on the front left hand side. I think perhaps Ray Bean may have been contracted by a real estate agent to take shots of properties for sale.
    Stamped on the back is “Ray Bean / EAC ACCREDITED PHOTOGRAPHER / 39 SEVILLE STREET, LANE COVE. 42-4491”.

    Kind regards,
    Allison, Collections Manager, Orange Regional Museum, Orange NSW

    • Hi Alison,
      yes, Ray Bean was contracted by a number of Real Estate Agents to take shots of properties for sale. Thank you for letting me know you have this in your collection. Is it possible to obtain a copy?

  4. Hi, I have a ‘Street Photo’ of my Uncle & Aunt with ‘RAY BEAN, H.M. ARCADE’ stamped on the back & the number 139139 hand written. I’m assuming it was taken in Sydney, (Her Majesty’s Arcade), before 1940 as my cousin was born then & she’s not with them. I’ve dated the taxi reflected in the glass window in the background as a 1939 model. Curious to know if Ray was in Sydney before 1940.

    • Hi Debby,
      Ray was certainly in Sydney before 1940. He grew up in Sydney and was taking photographs as a hobby from the mid 1930’s. the first time I have his occupation officially listed as commercial photographer is 1942. However, he was working in the area, usually doing the backroom work and amateur work from much earlier than that.

  5. I query the suggestion that Ray Bean came to Sydney before 1940. Just today my wife and I have been sorting old photographs, one of which was taken by Ray of my family and Ray’s family at a picnic near Melbourne. The two photos prompted me to look up your grandfather on the Net. I would guess my age in the picture was eleven or twelve. As I was born in 1941, this would date the picture as around 1950. As to how Ray and my father became acquainted I have no idea and I do not recollect other socialising between our two families.

  6. Ray was the official photographer for about 20 years for The Estate Agents Co Operative… EAC.. The publisher also of the Realtor magazine. Ray and his staff photographed thousands of houses, early years in black and white and in the eighties in colour.
    Ray would tell wonderful stories of his time at Walkabout magazine. He was to photograph the Ayres Rock while it was raining and also the pink lake in WA.
    A privelage to know him. A great friend.

  7. I worked with Ray Bean from 1970 to 1980. He led a team of photographers that took all the photos for Estate Agents Co-Operative (EAC) multiple listings and also the realtor magazine. At the time EAC was the second largest multiple listing organisation in the world. About mid way through the 70s Ray switched to colour photography and purchased a huge machine to process his own colour photos. I still have some cartoons I drew of Ray and his team. I remember my long chats with Ray and his wife Helen. His tales of his exploits at the Walkabaout Magazine were also very interesting. I clearly remember his description and wonder at the Ayres Rock (Uluru) being drenched by rain with water spouts of water gushing off its face. His trip to the Pink Lake in WA was a very pioneering visit in the 1950s. How fortunate I was to have been a friend of Ray. I often think about him.

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