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The Astra was probably the only professional studio camera manufactured in quantity in Australia and was designed and made by Jack Ellis.
Model 1 was made in 1948-49 and less than 25 were built. It was a monorail camera of similar design to the Kodak Master View and the later Calumet and had various sized spring backs for sheet film holders. The one pictured has backs for whole-plate (6½×8½) half-plate (4¾×6½) and 4×5 inches. There may have been an 8×10 inch back made also. The address for Astra Cameras as printed on the camera label was 411 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Model 2 was patented in 1952 and was quite different in style with a large circular lensboard and came only in 4×5 inch size. Approx 40 were manufactured.[1]


  1. Article by Brian Woodward in Professional Photography in Australia magazine, March 1993.