Born in Allora Queensland on the Darling Downs in 1941, Mal Lancaster enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 22nd October 1959. After graduating from recruit training at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria, he was sent to HMAS Albatross, the navy’s main naval air station, in Nowra, NSW for specialist training as a photographer.
Mal was transferred to Navy Headquarters in Canberra where he took on the role of Naval Public Affairs Press and Cine photographer, capturing the RAN in action all across the globe.
Mal produced news items of Australia’s Navy ships and their crews in the Indonesian Confrontation, Vietnam, Japan, the Antarctic, Egypt and Israel and in America.
During the Vietnam conflict, he brought images into Australia’s homes for the first time.
After he left active military service in 1969, he and his wife moved to Brisbane where he was appointed to the position of RAAF Public Affairs Officer, Queensland, pending the arrival of the F-111 Strike Force at RAAF Amberley. Mal held the position until he retired in 2000.
Mal Lancaster was been awarded the 1984 Nikon Press Photographer of the Year Award as well as multiple RAAF Heritage Awards. In 1994 he was awarded the Public Service Medal and received a Reserve Force Decoration for his service on the RAAF Reserve.
Selected images from this collection have also been included in the new digital installation at the state’s war memorial, Anzac Square in Brisbane, due to open mid 2019 .
Marg Powell | Specialist Library Technician | State Library of Queensland