Contact UsPrice & ConditionCare & CleaningBook Sales

The Great War in Stereoviews

Australia—Rose Stereograph Company

As a teenager, George Rose worked in his father's shoe store in a Melbourne suburb while he studied photography. In 1880 at the age of 19, he founded the Rose Stereograph Company. During his career, he is said to have taken about 9,000 stereographs in at least 38 countries as well as Australia. Besides the main office in Melbourne, Rose Great War stereoviews listed offices in Sydney, New South Wales; Wellington, New Zealand; and London. George's son Herbert, a noted artist in his own right, helped in the business until his untimely death at the age of 47 in 1936. As stereoviews declined in popularity, Rose switched to production of postcards and decorative cards. The company stopped manufacturing stereoviews in the 1920s, and George Rose died in 1942. Rose Stereograph Company kept the original name and remains in business today as a manufacturer of postcards and tourist memorabilia in Glen Waverly, a suburb of Melbourne.

Rose produced 56 stereoviews showing World War I subjects; they bear image numbers 12,904-12,959. The views were probably marketed in boxed sets of 20-40, with composition changing as more images became available. The quality of the images and finished stereographs was good, but as was the case with most manufacturers, the images were tame and included no action shots. Half of the images were taken in Australia before the deployment of the Australian Expeditionary Force. Most of the rest showed scenes behind the lines and ruins on the Western Front.

Rose used two sizes of mounts for his stereographs during the World War I period. Both were curved with rounded corners and made of good quality dark cardboard. The earlier mount was the standard size of 3½ x 7 inches. Later cards were 3⅞ x 7 inches. In the declining years of stereograph production, Rose returned to mounts of the standard size; they may be distinguished from the early mounts by their squared corners.

One thing that sets Rose stereographs apart from those of any other manufacturer is the integration of the captions with both halves of the stereo images. Placing captions on the negatives eliminated the need for a separate step in production. The captions tended to be lengthy since Rose did put any explanatory text on the reverse of the cards.

12,917 THE FAREWELL PARADE OF THE AUSTRALIAN  EXPEDITIONARY FORCE. Infantry Marching along Collins St., Melbourne, Vic.

Before the war, Rose sold Keystone View Company at least one image of the Great White Fleet's visit to Australia, which found its way into early Keystone sets as image number 19103 (follow this link for more information). After the war, Rose sold several thousand stereo negatives to Keystone, which selected a few for its definitive 1932 World War set. Some Rose negatives are in the Keystone-Mast collection of the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside.

Title List    Images

Thanks to Ron Blum of Australia for providing historical information about Rose Stereograph Company and for completing the title list. Ron is the leading expert on Rose stereographs and author of the article "George Rose: Stereograph Photographer and Publisher 1861-1942," Stereo World, March-April 1978, Vol. 5, No. 1, National Stereoscopic Association. Messages for Ron can be sent to for forwarding.

Copyright © 2007 Great War Photos. All rights reserved