“Ladies Only” Bench at St Paul’s c. 1957


Registration number





“Ladies Only” Bench at St Paul’s

Production date

c. 1957


gold toned silver gelatin print

Dimensions (H x W x D)

53.8 x 36 cm (image)

Credit line

City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
© Estate of Mark Strizic


Mark Strizic, St Paul's Cathedral, Swanston Street, 1957, ladies benches, women


Mark Strizic (1928–2012) arrived in Australia in 1951, part of the wave of postwar migrants arriving from Eastern Europe. This renowned Australian photographer studied not his chosen art form but rather physics and geology in Zagreb, in the former Yugoslavia. Strizic picked up the camera after arriving in Melbourne, purchasing this from a pharmacy as a means to explore his new home environment. He became a commercial photographer in 1957, building his reputation primarily as an architectural and industrial photographer in an era of intense urban development. He soon became associated with a coterie of Melbourne modernists, including Robin Boyd, Schulim Krimper and fellow photographers Athol Shmith and Wolfgang Sievers. Often framed by his progressive social and political concerns, his work is overwhelmingly sympathetic with modernist ideals: humanist, rational, spare.

The Art and Heritage Collection holds around 40 photographic works by Strizic, almost all of which document the streets, river and life of mid-century Melbourne in expressive monochrome. Many of these works came into the collection through direct engagement with the artist in 2005. This gold-toned silver gelatin photograph was taken in 1958 and printed in 1987. The image depicts four women seated on the "ladies only" benches, located outside St Paul's Cathedral, corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets. "LADIES ONLY" is tiled in mosaic on the pavement.