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Rest in Peace: KEN NOBBS

Ken Nobbs, Norfolk Island’s highly-respected photo retailing legend, died suddenly at his home on October 20, aged 79.

Ken Nobbs in Sydney for coffee with another photo industry veteran, Adrian Tamplin recently.

Ken was in the photographic business on Norfolk Island for 50 years. He travelled extensively to Photokina, and PMA in the US and to Australia. He remained life-long friends with many of the industry who attended those expos. Cameralines adopted the PMA logo: ‘Photos are fun, take some’.

According to his wife, Barbara Elliot, his passion was for everyone to own a camera and take photographs. He remained intensely interested in his previous customers and their photographic pursuits, as well as other camera store owners across Australia right to the end. He was an avid reader of PhotoCounter. ‘He read each one, and commented and discussed the new releases and photographic “politics”,’ she wrote.

Ken loved to keep in touch with ‘old’ photographic salesmen, managers, owners and kept up to date with anyone he socialised with at PMA expos.

His Cameralines shop serviced the photographic needs of Norfolk Island for 60 years.
He also had a huge mail order business to Australia, as Norfolk Island was tax free and duty free.

His buying trips to Sydney, the US, Europe were legendary and just recently a German company made contact with an order!

Cameralines last day of trading was June 30, 2016, allowing Ken only a relatively brief enjoyment of retirement.

Ken was adamant he would not trade in the Australian tax environment which became law in Norfolk Island on July 1, 2016.

‘There have been many condolences received from the photographic family,’ said Barbara. ‘It’s a small pond, really, and a close one.

‘They have been warmly received and appreciated by the family.’


  1. Peter Charles Rose Peter Charles Rose November 15, 2017

    Ken was a real gentleman and a pleasure to do business with.His memory and friendships will live on. Rest well Ken

  2. PG PG November 15, 2017

    I will miss Ken meeting him first at the 1977 SPPC conference in Surfers Paradise. For years he always called on us when in Brisbane and we caught up at all PMA events in Australia and in the US. A real gentleman I always said that I would visit Norfolk if only just to catch up with him. The Nobbs family have been on Norfolk since 1856. Our condolences go to all his family.

  3. John Atkins John Atkins November 15, 2017

    I was one of the distant friends to Ken, his presence lifted my PMA experience. Always a gentleman he had a mischievous story to tell each year. This was the side of PMA I enjoyed the most.

    As we changed to digital, business got pretty intense and we met fewer and fewer times, and never made that promised trip to Norfolk Island.

    rest in peace my friend.

    John Atkins.

  4. Lincoln Gray Lincoln Gray November 24, 2017

    Sad to hear of Ken’s passing. I have very fond memories of him, his beautiful island and the wonderful hospitality he would always show visitors from our industry. He was held in high regard by his friends and colleagues. My condolences and best wishes to Barbara.
    Lincoln Gray

  5. Stan Kessanis Stan Kessanis February 26, 2018

    I only just saw this post and was shocked to her of Kens passing. I took up Kens offer to visit Norfolk and he was a great host, showing me and my family around his ancestral home. He WAS a gentleman in the true sense of the word and it always surprised me when I saw him bob up at the many Photo Industry events around th eworld, given the remoteness of Norfolk Island. Condolences to Barbara and the family.

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