This listing of the photographers and studios operating in Brisbane from 1855 to 1901, is an abridged version of the print publication 'Capturing Brisbane'.
Bain Studio Ltd
Bain Studio Ltd was formed in March 1901 to operate the Toowoomba studio of James Bain and to also open a branch in Brisbane. The new branch opened at 102 Queen Street, Brisbane on 6 April 1901. The business was restructured as Bain & Co Limited in June 1903. It appears to have closed suddenly at the end of December 1903. Bain & Co changed its name to Lorne Limited around April 1904, and the Lorne Limited Studios opened at the same Queen Street address in June 1904.
Bain, James Oakden
James Bain, an enthusiastic amateur photographer in Toowoomba, gained local recognition in early 1890 for his landscape photographs. He began to accept commissioned work from his residence in Taylor Street, Toowoomba around November 1890. At the end of 1893 Bain named his workrooms the Vita Studio, and in 1895 he partnered with photographer JT Ball to open the Trilby Studio in Ruthven Street, Toowoomba. The Trilby Studio was replaced with the Bain Studio in December 1898.
James Bain and photographer William Beit created Bain Studio Ltd in April 1901 with Beit in charge of the Toowoomba branch and Bain at a new studio at 102 Queen Street, Brisbane. The new studio shone brightly but briefly and Bain appears to have severed connection with the both studios after the Brisbane branch closed at the end of 1903.
J Bennett was reportedly a photographer residing in Vulture Street, South Brisbane during March 1886. No further evidence has yet come to light on his work in the industry.
Bennett, William True
William Bennett, an American photographer, arrived in Brisbane from Sydney in June 1857. He initially established a photographic gallery in the house of Henry Good, in South Brisbane, then erected a skylight gallery in Stanley Street, South Brisbane. Bennett left Brisbane around September 1857 returning in July 1858 having travelled to many other parts of the colony. He set up in the former gallery of Edwin Brissenden in George Street opposite the Immigration Depot. Bennett left Brisbane around January 1859 and was back in the United States of America by 1862.
He returned to Australia in 1871 to pursue interests in the mining industry in Queensland and other colonies. After some financial difficulties he moved to Mackay taking work briefly as a photographer again. He joined the photographic firm of Metcalfe & Glaister, in August 1877 in flying studios in Toowoomba and then Dalby, then at the firm’s Brisbane studio by July 1878. His wife Mary also worked there as an artist and colourist.
Metcalfe & Bennett was a new partnership which opened in October 1878 in a new Brisbane studio in Smith’s Building, 7 Queen Street, near the Victoria Bridge. The partnership lasted only six months, though Bennett stayed there trading as WT Bennett & Co. His business appears to have been in some financial difficulties by the beginning of 1880, and in March it was sold. Bennett rejoined Daniel Metcalfe in Maryborough opening a studio there in March 1880. He moved around Queensland for some years and did not return to Brisbane.
Benson, Percy George
Percy Benson was living at Wynnum in 1899 where he was recorded as a photographer. There is no indication where or with whom he worked. He enlisted in a Queensland military contingent for service for the war in South Africa in 1901 and was accidentally injured while there. After discharge from service in March 1902 he returned to Brisbane but did not continue a career in photography.
Bernays, Frederick Watson
Frederick Bernays came to Australia as a teenager and trained with photographic firms in in both Sydney and Melbourne. He managed the Buderus Studio in Rockhampton from 1884 until 1887, then purchased the Elite studio in Mosman Street, Charters Towers. He worked with WT Shaw & Co in Mackay from 1888 and opened the Vita Studio there around 1892. He moved the Vita Studio to Bundaberg in 1895.
By 1899 Bernays was in West End, Brisbane, and in April that year became insolvent. He resided in Banks Street, West End until early 1902, presumably practising as a photographer, though whether he worked for himself or another photographer is unclear. Bernays purchased Muller’s photographic business in Toowoomba which he ran from 1902 to 1905, then moved to Maryborough in 1906.
Thomas Bevan was working as a photographer in Melbourne from the 1850s. He had established a photographic business in Brisbane by May 1865, taking a house on Edward Street near the corner of Elizabeth Street. It is likely his photographic studio was located at his premises which was in operation until at least mid-1869. Bevan had moved to the Gympie goldfields by March 1870, operating his studio there until 1891, when it passed to his son.
George Billingham established a photographic business in Boundary Street, Fortitude Valley around August 1880, and had moved to a studio at 27 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley by July 1882. He remained in Fortitude Valley until early 1884 when he moved to Toowoomba and then to Bundaberg. Billingham was back in Brisbane by 1903, though working as a tailor at Stones Corner. After the death of his wife in 1908 he returned to photography at a Wickham Street address, near, or perhaps the same premises he had taken in 1882.
Samuel Blackburn emigrated to Moreton Bay in February 1863 and opened the London Photographic Saloon in Edward Street, Brisbane on the 26 March 1863. He appears to have renamed his studio the Queensland Photographic Saloon by April, after which there are no further records of his business.
He was operating Blackburn’s Oyster Saloon in Queen-street by March 1864, but perhaps as early as August 1863. Samuel Blackburn had established another oyster saloon in East Street, Ipswich by March 1865, at which time he advertised for sale an extensive set of photographic apparatus.
Blake, Herbert Peebles
Herbert Blake arrived in Brisbane in 1873 with his two sisters and the family of John Deazeley. Blake joined William Deazeley, son of John Deazeley, in establishing a photographic gallery in Charters Towers in June 1883. As Deazeley and Blake they were in Charters Towers and Townsville until 1885, before journeying south to work in Brisbane, Beenleigh, and Warwick. After the partnership ended in 1886, Herbert Blake spent some further time in north Queensland, though there is no evidence he continued with photography.
John Blyde was a teacher who emigrated to Brisbane in 1885 with his family. He was employed as a teacher on the Darling Downs and in Mackay. He left teaching in July 1890 and moved to South Brisbane where by 1892 he was recorded as a photographer. Blyde does not appear to have operated his own studio and was presumably employed by a local photographic company until his death in Brisbane in July 1897.
Travelling photographer William Boag entered Queensland in late 1871, working his way around Cleveland, Redland Bay and the Coomera, Nerang, Logan, and Pimpama districts. On reaching Yatala he worked with his brother Robert in the first two months of 1872, photographing nearby coastal areas. William Boag visited Brisbane around March and April to take photographs of local residences. Returning to Yatala he was joined in business by John Henry Mills. He and Mills returned to Brisbane to take more photographs of public buildings and private residences around July 1872. It was perhaps at this time Boag and Mills formed their association with the Australian Photographic Company.
Mills was in Stanthorpe by September 1872 acting as an agent of the company and supplying copies of Boag’s photographs. From Stanthorpe Boag and Mills travelled to Warwick, and then Mackay in 1873. They were also at St Lawrence, Cooktown, Copperfield, and Clermont over the next few years, until the partnership ended in 1877. William Boag was working alone when he died in Clermont in June 1878.
Boon, Henry George
After arrival in Australia Henry Boon found work as a travelling photographer, and was in Brisbane in 1889 in partnership with Pearse Creagh in the South Brisbane firm of Boon and Creagh. Boon was in Toowoomba by 1891, working with a new partner working as Boon and Baldry, travelling photographers. They were noted in Sydney and Goulburn in 1892, and Boon moved to Bendigo the following year. What became of him is unknown.
John Brame, a printer, was also a well-known evangelist in New Zealand, and eventually travelled with his family to Australia in that role. He arrived in Brisbane in 1888 and soon after was appointed Baptist minister in Charters Towers. After a few months in the north he resigned due to poor health, he returned to Brisbane where he took up his original trade as a printer.
Although there is no evidence of any prior experience in photography, Brame acquired Edward Hutchison’s ‘Elite Studio’ at 8 Queen Street, Brisbane when it was auctioned in September 1889. He operated it under the company name of J Brame & Co. For reasons unknown he suddenly sold the studio to photographer John Wiley around February 1890, and Brame soon left the colony.
Brisbane Photographic Copying and Enlarging Company
This company advertised for just two months during January and February 1879. The Brisbane agent for the company was Colin McLennan, a surgical instrument maker in Edward Street, Brisbane. McLennan appears to have been an amateur photographer who briefly tried his hand at professional photography.
Brisbane Photographic Gallery
See Edward Brissenden
Brissenden, Edwin Torrens
Edwin Brissenden was an American photographer who worked in Victoria from the mid-1850s, before moving to Sydney to work for Thomas Glaister. He arrived in Brisbane in early November 1857 and established the Brisbane Photographic Gallery at Rosetta’s shop in Albert Street. He moved premises in January 1858 opening the Excelsior Photographic Gallery in George Street opposite the Immigration Depot, which he claimed to have built and fitted out. The Excelsior Photographic Gallery remained open until 10 March 1858. Brissenden moved to Ipswich where he opened a new gallery in Nicholas Street. He continued through the Darling Downs from mid-1859, but by 1860 had given up photography.
Brown, James Ernest
James Brown, also known as Ernest Brown, claimed to have been the head operator at the Ideal Photo Company in Sydney prior to 1895. He and William Farrell were both noted as manager of the Jay Studio in George Street, Sydney at the end of 1895. Brown joined Farrell at the Tosca Studio in Brisbane in 1896 and took charge of the studio for a time. He was manager of the Charters Towers branch from late 1896 for 12 months, and then of the Townsville branch early in 1898. He does not appear to have remained as a photographer.
Albert Nineham established the Brunswick Studio in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley around September 1893. During 1895-96 Arthur Pumfray was also employed in the business. The Brunswick Studio was advertised until August 1896, and it was likely wound down in preparation for Albert Nineham’s departure from Brisbane in January 1897.
The owner operator of Burlington Studio remains yet unknown, though was likely a travelling photographer. The studio commenced business around January 1895 in Stanley Street, South Brisbane. By March 1895 the studio had relocated to Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, near Brunswick Street. It appears the business had ceased by April 1895.