Mark Austin-Zande of Towen Mountain found an old camera in a junk shop and developed the film and found old photos, possibly from the 1970's. He would love to track down the former owner of the photos and  camera.
Mark Austin-Zande of Towen Mountain found an old camera in a junk shop and developed the film and found old photos, possibly from the 1970's. He would love to track down the former owner of the photos and camera. Brett Wortman

Mystery photos from a camera left on shelf for 40 years

THE camera could have ended up in landfill.

Instead it sat, encased in brown leather and completely forgotten, in a second-hand store on Woombye's main street.

For more than 40 years the camera's roll of Kodachrome film remained hidden, with eight mystery photos just waiting to be developed.

It was only by chance professional photographer Marc Austin-Zande bought the Yashica YK camera four months ago.

The Towen Mountain man was out shopping with his wife Kristen looking for props for photo shoots when he stumbled across the rare find.

"I picked it up in the shop and foolishly opened the back," Mr Austin-Zande said.

"I say foolishly because you should never open the back of a second-hand camera. There might be film in it and you would expose it to light and ruin it.

"So I saw the film and slammed it shut again.

"I gave them their asking price of $10, took the camera home, sat it on a shelf and forgot about it."

Last week Mr Austin-Zande picked up the camera, this time with the intention of trying to develop the film inside.

He said Kodachrome was probably the first colour transparency film used to make slides and the development process was complex.

There are no commercial labs in the world still developing Kodachrome film.

"This was a film I had accidentally exposed to the light and could well be ruined, a film impossible to process and I just thought to myself 'I have nothing to lose'," he said.

So using a black-and-white chemistry process, Mr Austin-Zande tried his luck and was stunned with the images that emerged.

The photos show a young couple holding their baby in front of a home; house renovation shots; what Mr Austin-Zande assumes is one of the young couple's older relatives and a Chrysler Valiant car.

"Looking at the car and looking at the clothing, I'm guessing they're from 1971-72," he said.

Mr Austin-Zande would like to solve the mystery and return the camera and family snaps to their owners.

If anyone knows any information about the people in the photos, contact him on 0412 878 852.