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Sir Albert Victor Jennings
, 1984

by Kate Gollings

gelatin silver photograph, selenium toned (sheet: 60.5 cm x 50.3 cm, image: 50.5 cm x 40.3 cm)

Sir Albert Victor Jennings (1897–1993) pioneered mass-produced and mass-marketed housing in Australia. Jennings began selling house and land ‘packages’ on housing estates in 1933. When domestic building was banned during the second world war, he won tenders for war-related structures. During the Menzies era he built government-funded estates in Victoria, Tasmania and Canberra, where his company had built 20% of the houses in place by 1965. Homeowners in Jennings’s ‘residential communities’ were easily satirised, with their uniform prefabricated homes, station wagons and electrical appliances. Nonetheless, Jennings had for the first time made modern luxuries like built-in wardrobes available to the average home buyer. By 1980 it was claimed that the AV Jennings Construction Co had built 80 000 Australian homes that offered ‘millionaire enjoyment for working-class value.’

Kate Gollings embarked on a project in the 1990s to take a 'national snapshot', photographing 100 people who had made a distinctive contribution to Australian society and culture. These photographs were published in the volume australians (1999) and seven of them were acquired by the NPG by gift of Marilyn Darling in 2001.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2001
Accession number: 2001.30