Chemist Thomas Baker founded the Austral Plate Company in Melbourne in 1884, manufacturing early dry photographic plates, four years before the formation of The Eastman Kodak Company by George Eastman in Rochester NY, USA. Befriending George Eastman, Baker and his now partner John Rouse joined with UK based Eastman Kodak subsidiary Kodak Limited in 1908 to found what later became Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd, building a factory in Abbotsford. Baker was a visionary, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, founding what is now known as the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute at the Alfred Hospital. He gave most of his wealth away to medical research and charity. Thomas Baker was a Rotarian, the ninth president of The Rotary Club of Melbourne.
Thomas Baker, left, with partner John Rouse formed the Austral Plate Company, later Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd
Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute will deliver the annual Thomas Baker Oration at the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Sofitel on Collins, on April 19th 2023