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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Krischock, Henry Ludwig Frank (Harry) (1875–1940)

by Joyce Gibberd

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Henry Ludwig Frank (Harry) Krischock (1875-1940), photographer, was born on 1 September 1875 in Adelaide, sixth child of Carl Ludwig Daniel Franz Krischock, a bootmaker from Germany, and his English-born wife Mary, née Richardson. In his boyhood Harry sold his textbooks and bought a camera, thus ending his education at Pulteney Street School. By 1897 he was working for Hutchison, Craker & Smith, publishers of Quiz and the Lantern. He gave his occupation as clerk when he married Ethelinda Cornelius on 20 July 1899 at the Primitive Methodist manse, Norwood. Four years later he advertised himself as H. Krischock, photographer, of Gresham Street; carrying a camera on his back, he cycled to many locations for his assignments. On 7 March 1903 the Critic published a page of his photographs of a race-meeting in Melbourne and his work remained prominent in that weekly until 1907. South Australian photographer (1906-09) for the Australasian and Garden and Field, Krischock worked under contract, supplying, developing and processing his own film.

In 1911 the Wondergraph Co. began making local news and feature films. Krischock's first cinematographic film, Adelaide in a Hurry, showed city people in their daily activities. He was Wondergraph's contract cameraman in 1912 and his film of the Melbourne Cup that year was shown in Adelaide one night after the race was run. The Wondergraph Picture Pavilion opened in Hindley Street, Adelaide, in 1913; Krischock was commissioned to make a documentary film, From Pasture to Table, on how Adelaidians obtained their meat. Competition between film companies increased after 1914 and he sold his films of horse-racing to Wondergraph, West's Pictures, and the Empire and Star theatres.

Krischock continued shooting newsreels and documentaries for Wondergraph until the 1920s. He was photographer for four South Australian feature films: Remorse, a Story of the Red Plague (1917), Our Friends, the Hayseeds (1917), What Happened to Jean (1918) and Why Men Go Wrong (1922). The National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, holds eight examples of his work. The Mortlock Library of South Australiana has more than one hundred of Krischock's photographs: some of them are aerial shots, others panoramas, and a number feature floods, fires, soldiers and royalty. His contract with the Advertiser lasted thirty years; it included work for the Express and Journal and the Chronicle; and it involved travel throughout South Australia. In the 1920s his sons Keith and Bill joined Krischock Studios. The Advertiser took over their business in 1950.

A stocky man with piercing eyes, Krischock was kind and generous, but also quick tempered, garrulous and extroverted. He was best-known for his photographs of sport and twice fell foul of football umpires by intruding on the ground and querying their decisions. Whereas other press photographers were sparing in their use of reels, Krischock sat high in the stand at Adelaide Oval during cricket matches and snapped incessantly with a telescopic lens. Survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters, he died on 25 October 1940 at Kingswood and was cremated. His profession was more a 'ruling passion' than a means of livelihood and he enjoyed the hurly-burly of photographing the unexpected. To him, 'a chance missed was a picture lost'.

Select Bibliography

  • A. Pike and R. Cooper, Australian Film, 1900-1977 (Melb, 1980)
  • A. D. McCredie (ed), From Colonel Light into the Footlights (Adel, 1988)
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 26 Oct 1940
  • News (Adelaide), 27 Sept 1924
  • Personalities Remembered (radio talk, 5CL, 8 Aug 1971, State Library of South Australia)
  • private information.

Citation details

Joyce Gibberd, 'Krischock, Henry Ludwig Frank (Harry) (1875–1940)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 29 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

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