Collection UQFL620 - Irene McCawley Photographs

Identity area

Reference code



Irene McCawley Photographs


  • 1939-2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 album

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Irene ‘Rena’ Deborah McCawley (nee Collas) was born on 22 June 1916 in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in Russia, to a Russian mother (Nadezhda) and a British father (Laurence Collas). The family fled to Riga in Latvia in 1918 and migrated to Australia in September 1927. Her father Laurence Collas established a photography business in Stanthorpe, Queensland, and from a young age Irene assisted him. In ca. 1939 she married Leo McCawley. The couple had two sons. McCawley took up photography again in the 1940s. After WWII she worked for The Courier Mail for a while, and then set up her photography business, Cameo Photos, at 46 Martha St in Camp Hill, Brisbane. In the 1960s she worked as a photographer in the foyer of Her Majesty’s Theatre. In the 1970s she documented women’s liberation demonstrations in Brisbane. In the early 1990s, she travelled the world after her husband’s death and moved to Canberra. She remained active into old age and in September 2016 a retrospective exhibition of her work was held at Canberra Artworks, in Phillip, Canberra. Irene McCawley died aged 101 on 21 February 2018.

Archival history

Collection previously titled as: Photographs, 1939-2002

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Photographic negatives and prints. Photographs, captioned. Supplied captions in square brackets. Photographs are of family, friends, Irene (as a child and an adult), various marches in the 1960s and 1970s in Brisbane such as May Day marches, banning uranium mining, peace marches, feminist marches.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright applies. Contact the Fryer Library.
Pre-1955 photographs: copyright expired.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

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Description control area

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Revised, Linda Justo, 14-Jun-2021.Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.




Accession area