Nearly 50 years of work from one of the Port's most prolific photographers will go on display at the Tomaree Museum Association (TMA) to be preserved for future generations.
The Ray Alley lifetime photographic collection was this week donated to the TMA by the late photographer's son and daughter, Matthew and Jordyn Alley.
Association spokesman John Clarke said he was thrilled to accept the thousands of prints and negatives to be displayed at the museum once it becomes operational.
"As an organisation we feel very privileged to be entrusted with such a magnificent reflection of Port Stephens. Ray was a much loved and unique character who left us way too soon," he said.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Matthew Alley, of Anna Bay, said that he hoped the photo collection would be seen as a reflection of the passion and care his father chronicled over nearly five decades of photography work.
"There are photos of the construction of the Tomaree Aquatic Centre and other landmark events, as well as hundreds of wedding photos. Dad attended many Bay weddings not only as a photographer but also as the local DJ. He would be booked to perform both duties," he said.
Mr Alley said that his father had been a close associate and good friend of Mr Clarke "so it was an easy decision to donate the photos to the museum".
"We hope this display will honour our father in a way that celebrates the many memories he created over nearly 50 years as a Bay photographer," Mr Alley said.
Mr Clarke said that TMA membership had continued to grow since its formation in February this year, currently numbering close to 100 members.
"We are based in the Progress Hall at Bobs Farm where storage of artifacts and cataloguing of pieces is taking place."
Mr Clarke said that the Ray Alley collection would complement the Carroll family collection of artifacts, which was recently gifted to the museum, and the complete works of former resident and newspaper editor Arthur Renforth.
The Tomaree Museum Project aims to develop a brand-new multi-use regional museum for Port Stephens, supporting history, arts, and sustainability themes, with conference centre, shop and café, plus an outdoor community space for events and daily use, estimated at $20 million in capital cost alone.
"We are confident that the museum will be a great community asset," Mr Clarke said.