Photographs of 1930s China by Stanley O. Gregory

Fisherman on punt

To coincide with the exhibition Celestial Empire at the National Library of Australia, the Australian Centre on China in the World (ANU) presents a selection of rarely seen photographs of 1930s China taken by Stanley O. Gregory, printed in large-format for the first time, from the original negatives now in the NLA collection.


联袂澳大利亚国家图书馆大清世相》展览,中华全球研究中心 (ANU) 呈献史丹利·奥·格雷戈里 (Stanley O. Gregory) 拍摄的30年代中国。这些罕见的照片是从澳大利亚国家图书馆馆藏之原版底片中精心挑选出来,并首次以大幅面印刷展现。

Curated by Dr Olivier Krischer (Australian Centre on China in the World).

Exhibition dates: 14 January–20 March, 2016

Gallery hours: 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday

Selected weekend viewings: 27–28 February and 19–20 March, 10am–4pm

Stanley O. Gregory (1902–1955)

Born in England in 1902, Gregory worked for the eminent publishers Kelly & Walsh, firstly in Hong Kong in the 1920s and then in Shanghai during the 1930s. Interned during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, Gregory arrived in Australia on Christmas Day, 1945, rejoining his wife Dorothy and their two children, Christopher and Ann, who had left wartime Shanghai in 1941, initially to join relatives in Queensland.

Working for one of the world’s foremost publishers of illustrated books on China, Gregory was an experienced amateur photographer, showing the influence of early twentieth-century Pictorialism, with a sympathetic eye for Chinese life. While family photo albums indicate he was already actively photographing in Hong Kong during the 1920s, the collection of images now in the National Library was probably produced in the mid- to late-1930s, during visits to the picturesque riverside towns surrounding Shanghai (Hangzhou, Suzhou and Ningbo for example), as well as at iconic sites in and around Beijing.

For further information the list of exhibited works and the biographical timeline for Stanley and Dorothy Gregory in the attachments.

Kelly & Walsh and the Shanghai Photographic Scene

by Gael Newton

From the late nineteenth century until the advent of World War Two, British firms in Asia provided proficient and ambitious young men with a means to advancement, adventure and service abroad. Quite how Stanley Gregory secured a position in 1924 in the Hong Kong branch of Kelly & Walsh Printers, Publishers, Booksellers, Stationers, General Commission Agents is unclear. His education, pleasant manner and appearance, and work in Russia, would have been significant factors; as was his experience with publishing and editing as a schoolboy in England. The move was a success. In time, Gregory was promoted and in 1933 became manager of Kelly & Walsh, Shanghai.

Australian Photographers of Early Twentieth-Century China in the NLA Collection

by Andrew Gosling

In addition to Stanley O. Gregory’s collection, the National Library of Australia houses photographs of China created by a few other Australians during the first half of the twentieth century. Read more about the photographs of Hermann J. Asmus, Harry Glathe and Hedda Morrison in the attachments.


The Australian Centre on China in the World gratefully acknowledges its principal exhibition partner, the National Library of Australia, as well as the Inkjet Research Facility (ANU School of Art). The Centre also acknowledges the research and writing contributions of Andrew Gosling and Gael Newton, and the generous assistance of Christopher Gregory, Ann Argyle and their families.

Gallery Opening

The exhibition was officially opened to the public on Thursday 14 January 2016 by Ms Margy Burn, Assistant Director-General of the Australian Collections & Reader Services at the National Library of Australia.

Latest News Articles

Curator and CIW Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Olivier Krischer is interviewed about the new CIW exhibition Photographs of 1930s China by Stanley O. Gregory printed in large-format for the first time, from the original negatives now in the National Library of Australia collection.

'1930s photographs by Stanley Gregory shed light on post-Qing Dynasty China'
Sally Pryor, Arts Editor, The Canberra Times, interviews Dr Olivier Krischer about the CIW exhibition.


Dr Olivier Krischer

Dates & times

Thursday, 14 January 2016

9.00am - 5.00pm


Updated:  6 October 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team