International award winning photographer Henry Winkelmann who settled in Swanson in 1917, was a notable figure in the community. English-born Winkelmann’s credentials included the grand prize at the Panam-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. His photographs covered a wide range of topics, well-known individuals and their families and residences, workers and their work-places, and significant events.
In 1917 Winkelmann bought his first land in Swanson and by 1927 had purchased properties totalling about 100 acres. The land he bought was mainly in Christian Road with some on Tram Valley Road, next to the railway lines. He came to Swanson at weekends by train. With help from Mr Perris he established an orchard, built a bunkhouse, a shed and fowl house, all painted brick red. Eventually he had a few hundred laying hens.
He bought mash from the Petersen family in Tram Valley Road and his milk from Watson-Green, who lived in Christian Road, and who had also sold him some land. They knew about Winkelmann’s reputation as a photographer and asked him to take family portraits and pictures of their farm to send home. He offered to teach Mrs Petersen how to use a camera. It was very much because of Winkelmann’s influence that Olaf, the Petersen’s son, became a prize-winning photographer in his own right.
In 1928, he retired to Swanson. Twenty acres of Winkelmann’s land on the corner of O’Neills and Christian Roads later belonged to Tom Guy. George Guy, another brother, first met Winkelmann in the 1920s when he was a student of mathematics and was assisting as chainman and doing the calculations for a land survey in Swanson. The surveyor he was working with was Sidney Springall, the husband of Winkelmann’s sister, Gussie. The Springalls lived in O’Neills Road.
In Swanson, Winkelmann photographed the local football club and the houses belonging to the Whites, the Cottrells and the Russells. He died in 1931.
Rugged Determination, p124