Whether Harry Beresford "Berry" Fowler knew his photos would carry historical significance or not when he took them is unclear.
What he did know is that the buildings of Launceston were beautiful, and they deserved documenting.
Now, around 100 years later, the photographic collection of H. B. Fowler, taken from the 1920's until his death in 1996, holds some of the final memories of places around Launceston.
Images of what was once an even more architecturally significant town show streets bursting with colonial building fronts, the gothic style of worldwide renowned Alexander North and a spattering of art-deco structures.
Who was Berry Fowler?
Berry Fowler worked at his family garage on Charles Street, but the social circles he kept and an inclination towards photography meant he archived many Launceston buildings before their demolition or alteration.
Fowler was friends with Eddie Jack and Harry Lewis, the Launceston demolition men at the time, and they would tell Mr Fowler when a building was due to be knocked down.
He was a keen and well-known amateur photographer as well.
Fowler would run down to the building, take a snap, then add it to his personal collection.
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He did this for his own satisfaction, but granddaughter Wendy Fowler, who now lives in St Marys in the states East, believes he was aware he was potentially taking the photo of particular buildings for the last time.
"He certainly had an awareness of what was an historical event," she said.
"Because his interest in history was what it was, he'd go himself to those places before they came down and take a photo."
Now, as a byproduct of his interests, a finely curated though slightly obscure collection of befallen and famous buildings around Launceston exists.
In hindsight, Fowler's propensity for taking photos of seemingly insignificant Launceston buildings proved to be entirely significant.
Throughout the years, a number of his photos have appeared in local history collections around Launceston at the state library and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.
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The Fowler family had a long history in Launceston, and Fowler lived his childhood life on Charles Street.
Fowler believes living, operating, and socialising in and around the city offered him insight and awareness about what was going on around him.
When historical buildings started being demolished in the way of development, Fowler chose to capture the surroundings that had become second nature to him.
"He was a fellow who was interested in what was going on around him," Ms Fowler said.
He was a man that was very interested in Launceston's colonial history, so it is very possible that he was aware of the changing face of the city.Wendy Fowler, granddaughter of H. B. Fowler
"He was a man that was very interested in Launceston's colonial history, so it is very possible that he was aware of the changing face of the city and the change of that colonial history.
"It is very intentional, so I suspect it was an awareness of the changes to the city."
"I do think that he was troubled by the disregard for Launceston's built history."
Ms Fowler thought the archive was significant and decided to digitise the images, in part on Facebook.
Her decision to do so resulted in hundreds of comments and 500 shares as the snaps circulated among those that had a connection to the city.
An inauspicious snap of a couple of miner's cottages with a Datsun and a phone booth out the front was taken on Charles Street.
The cottages would make way for a carpark from Jimmy's Supermarket, built by former Launceston mayor Jimmy Tsinoglou, which is now Charles Street Coles.
Launceston woman Rowena Crocker was trawling through the photographs and spotted the cottages which, to her amazement, she identified as her mother's childhood home.
"[My mother] always reminded us when driving in the car park that we were driving over her bedroom," Ms Crocker said.
Launceston man Rod Bracken, who grew up with Ms Fowler but never knew she had access to the photographic archive, learnt of the collection when she uploaded it to Facebook.
Mr Bracken worked as a telegram boy in 1973 and could accurately identify a number of the buildings along with a description of what they looked like inside.
He knew because he would run into the buildings to drop off the day's telegrams.
Two photos particularly caught his eye. One being a grainy, slanted and slightly concentrated image of the Commercial Travellers Club, an establishment at 78 Charles Street.
The building was demolished in 1975 and is now Target.
The second image that caught Mr Bracken's attention was of the then Wilcox Mossin building, demolished in 1982 to make way for the Launceston Council car park next to the council chambers on St John Street.
Alongside that building was the Postmaster General's mail room where Mr Bracken picked up telegrams before running them around town.
"They were part of day-to-day life. I used to go into all of those buildings," Mr Bracken said.
Some of the demolished buildings Mr Fowler photographed include the corner building that stood at the intersection of Brisbane and St John Streets where Myer now sits.
A rough red-brick and glass building that was once a child health and chest clinic has since made way for the brutalist and impressive Henty House.
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The Metropol Hotel at 75 Brisbane Street stood for almost 100 years until 1977 and was captured by Fowler just before it fell. It is now Westpac.
One of Launceston's better known buildings to have been demolished was the Mechanics' Institute which stood on St John Street, in front of the Launceston library.
Fowler's photo of the building is from 1973, two years after the building was deemed unsafe and just prior to it being demolished.
Perhaps the closest look into the mind of Fowler is a trio of images he took of Launceston's famous Macquarie House.
Evidently, his inside knowledge indicated to him that changes were afoot at the iconic site, so again Fowler whipped out his camera and snapped a photo of the building with an old facade that extended a few metres out from the existing building that now stands in Civic Square.
The images show the building in a state of near disrepair with shattered windows and crumbling mortar.
The next photo in the series shows a restored Macquarie House with the lower facade removed, and the original building remaining. It has had a paint job on the exterior, and to the famous "Macquarie House", and reinforcement steel has been inserted into the second floor.
Although the majority of the photos captured buildings in their finals days, Fowler documented several facades before they fell.
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These included St John, Wellington and Charles Streets.
A photo taken of the corner of Charles and York Street shows the "Launceston Bank for Savings", which has come and gone, alongside what was once the Enfield Hotel and Fitzgerald's Department Store.
Upon seeing the photo showing the Bank for Savings Ann Moyle, who grew up in Launceston, recognised the building as the one her great-great-grandfather Richard Newey built in about 1879.
"I knew the top straight away," Ms Moyle said.
Ms Moyle had done research on the building herself, such was her connection, and worked out it was built in 1879. She said, when her Mr Newey was in the building it was a seed and grain merchant before it was altered into a shoe store.
Whether Fowler sighed as he captured the last image of a building from his youth, or smiled in the face of the future will remain unknown since he died 25 years ago.
Regardless, the collection serves as a reminder of Launceston's rich architectural past and points to the cross-section of current styles that are blotted among the "day-to-day" buildings in Launceston.
Launceston Historical Society president Marion Sargent said she knew of the extensive collection and remarked on nonchalant significance.
"It's significant and great because they're photos of things that aren't necessarily done by professional photographers," she said.
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"They're really good and they show a period that isn't represented all that often either.
"It's a great series of photos and there are things in it that I haven't seen before and it does document the Launceston that was."
The candidness of the photos stood out to Ms Sargent and she said the amateur nature of the collection somehow encourages viewers to immerse themselves in the image and reimagine themselves at the time.
A seemingly rushed snap of the corner of Wellington and Elizabeth Streets exemplifies the feeling. A blue Volkswagen Beetle is scurrying along the road, blurred by its speed, and the main focus of the photo is "Huxtable's TV and Radio Service".
Ms Sargent also said having the photos of the buildings that had since been pulled down was important in strengthening an understanding of the history of Launceston.
"Especially as he was taking photos of the buildings before they were demolished, it is really good to have that record so we know what we've lost," she said.
Ms Sargent said the fact that the photos had been catalogued on Facebook was an asset to anybody that was interested.
"It's good to have collections like this in the public domain because that way they are kept ... luckily the significance of them has been recognised and they're being shared with everyone," she said.
The Examiner photographer Phillip Biggs took on the challenge of recreating some of Mr Fowler's images with the background of current day Launceston, a collection of these photos can be viewed at examiner.com.au.
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