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This listing of the photographers and studios operating in Brisbane from 1855 to 1901, is an abridged version of the print publication 'Capturing Brisbane'.


Dana Studio

The Dana Studio opened on 5 April 1897, in the studio formerly used by Seavey and Keys, at 181a Queen Street, Brisbane. It was launched with three days of free photographs; the first two days for babies and the third for children under 12. Its proprietors have not been identified, though advertisements noted Dana as ‘the New American Photographer’.  The studio was advertised only to the beginning of June 1897, after which it disappears from records. The studio and fittings were auctioned in March 1898.  


No connection has been found with a Dana Studio that was established in Mt Gambier, South Australia in 1897.  


Davidson, [unknown]

Little has been found to identify this photographer. He was in a business partnership with George Robson in Elizabeth Street, Brisbane from 1886-87, and no more is known of him.


de Fraine, William

William de Fraine was likely a partner of the merchant firm Kennedy, de Fraine, & Co which was declared insolvent in 1878. He was associated with the Imperial Photo Company in March 1880, when it was in the ownership of Daniel Metcalf. He remained with the Imperial Photo Company until it was sold in July 1880.


His pursuit of later business interests was less successful. Around 1899 de Frain finally established himself as a photographer in the gold-mining town of Croydon, remaining there until his death in 1914.

Deazeley and Blake

William Deazeley and Henry Blake formed the partnership of Deazeley and Blake to open a photographic studio at Charters Towers in early 1883. William and Henry had known each other since small children and their families emigrated together to Australia and co-habited in Brisbane.   For a short time, they worked in Townsville with Robert Cremer as Cremer, Deazeley & Blake.


Early in 1885 while still in Charters Towers, they announced the purchase of the photographic business of John Deazeley in Brisbane. Returning south they opened a studio in Beenleigh in August 1885 while entering negotiations with Tuttle & Co Sydney for the sale of John Deazeley’s Queen Street studio. By November 1885 the sale was complete. Deazeley and Blake opened a short-term gallery in Warwick in March 1886, and after that the business arrangement lapsed.

de Fraine
Deazeley & Blake

Deazeley, John

John Deazeley was working as a photographic artist In 1861 and living in the English village of Holton. He moved his business to Stowbridge around 1864 and remained there until 1872. Deazeley emigrated to Australia in 1873 with his wife, four children, a niece, and three Blake children who were in his care. The family moved from Melbourne to Brisbane where John Deazeley opened a photographic studio by September 1873 in Suffolk House, Queen Street, adjacent to the drapery run by the young Misses Blake.

Deazeley soon established a reputation as a good photographer, and was prepared to travel in search of views, claiming to have been the first photographer to visit Cooktown. Late in 1874 Deazeley published two series of “Photographic Views of the City of Brisbane,” consisting of twelve landscapes. On New Year’s Eve 1875 a fire  destroyed Deazeley’s studio and Blake’s drapery.  Only the drapery reopened in June 1875, with Deazeley assisting to run that business for a few years.

The availability of Metcalfe and Bennett’s former Queen Street studio may have enticed Deazeley to consider a new photographic enterprise. Assembling experienced staff he opened on Friday 13th August 1880. Deazeley prospered over the next 12 months and moved into new premises at 67 Queen Street, Brisbane, opening on 16 December 1881. Around March 1882 a second studio was opened in Brisbane Street, Ipswich which his son William Deazeley operated until 1883.

As a curious advertising gimmick in 1883, Deazeley replaced the glass plates in the gas lamp outside his premises with plates on which were printed photographs of prominent Queenslanders. The foray into illuminated advertising was comparatively unique at the time and attracted crowds at night to his studio.


In October John Deazeley embarked on a journey photographing the unique north Queensland scenery. This may have been part of a contract entered into with the Queensland government to provide 150 photographic transparencies and prints of the colony for the use of immigration lecturers in England. It also provided the studio with Christmas stock of new and unique albums.


In August 1884 Elizabeth Deazeley, John’s wife, passed away. At Christmas John married his ward and business partner, Charlotte Blake. At the previous Christmas John’s son William had married Charlotte’s younger sister Emily. John and Charlotte travelled to Sydney in April 1885 and upon return Deazeley’s studio began to advertise a new range of photographs including panels and boudoirs. Despite, or perhaps because his business remained popular, John Deazeley decided to sell up in 1885. The actual arrangements may have been more complex than recorded, however it appears his studio was acquired by Deazeley & Blake who then sold to Tuttle & Co later that year.

Deazeley J

Deazeley, William John

William Deazeley, the eldest son of photographer John Deazeley, emigrated with his family to Australia in 1873, settling in Brisbane. His father set up a photographic studio in Queen Street not long after arriving, and William appears to have entered the trade as soon as he finished school. By March 1882 William Deazeley was operating Deazeley’s Photographic Studio in Brisbane Street, Ipswich as part of Deazeley & Co, which also operated the studio at 67 Queen Street, Brisbane. The Ipswich studio closed around March 1883 and, with his soon-to-be brother-in-law Herbert Blake, William Deazeley moved to Charters Towers in June to open another studio under the name of Deazeley and Blake. He married Emily Blake in Brisbane in December 1883 and they returned to Charters Towers to work with her brother, and later moved to Townsville.

William returned to Brisbane with his brother-in-law in 1885 to acquire his father’s Queen Street studio. It was on-sold to Tuttle and Co by the end of that year. William Deazeley then spent some months in Sydney working in Tuttle & Co’s Studio. On return to Brisbane he and Herbert Blake opened a studio in Warwick for a few weeks in March 1886. William opened his own studio in Ipswich in April 1886, taking the former studio of Bingingee Poochee in Brisbane Street.

Around July 1887 Deazeley’s family moved to Brisbane, and by the end of the year he had sold his photographic business in Ipswich and followed them to reside in Twine Street, Wickham Terrace.  In June 1890 William Deazeley was hired by John Wiley to work in his Queen Street studio and may have stayed there for around twelve months.


He was operating as a photographer from premises in Manning Street, Milton in August 1893 when he became insolvent. A few months later, in November 1893, the Excelsior Studio commenced operation in Stanley Street, South Brisbane. William Deazeley likely established the studio, but it was some time before he was publicised as it’s manager. During January 1895 Deazeley worked with photographer Edward Hutchison although the Excelsior Studio continued to operate until around June 1895. Another engagement with Eddie Hutchinson from December 1895 to January 1896 suggests it was for the seasonal market. William Deazeley remained in Brisbane for another two years, but with little evidence he was pursuing photography professionally.  He returned to Ipswich around April 1898 to open a photographic studio with his wife Emily, then moved on to Toowoomba and Dalby.

Deazeley WJ
Deazeley background.jpg

Deazeley & Co

See John Deazeley

Diggles, Sylvester

Sylvester Diggles emigrated to Sydney with his family in 1853. He arrived in Brisbane in 1854 as a piano repairer and tuner for a Sydney firm, but before leaving the town publicly announced his intent to return as an art teacher, photographer, and piano tuner. He arrived back in Brisbane with his family in January 1855, and by February was operating a photographic gallery from Elizabeth Street, taking miniature portraits by daguerreotype and collodion process. The profitability of his photographic business can only be surmised however, and Diggles had ceased business by July 1855.

Dimond Brothers

Dimond Brothers was established in Melbourne in 1886 as picture framers, though expanded quickly into the photographic enlargement business.  Its model was to send canvassers out to businesses and homes to solicit orders for photographic enlargements and frames. A Brisbane agent acted from 1890 until June 1893 when the firm opened its own premises in Reinhold’s Buildings, at the corner of Edward and Leichhardt Streets, Spring Hill. All photographic work, including enlargements, was then carried out on-site by employees.

The business expanded rapidly, so that by 1895 the company had operations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Adelaide and was opening another office in Rockhampton. Warwick followed in 1897. Brisbane photographer Frederick West was employed as a manager for the business in 1900, one of the few employees whose name is recorded. The number of operators, retouchers, and artists must have been considerable as the work also included enlargements on porcelain and painted portraits.  


Dora Studio

Albert Toppin opened the Dora Studio at 91 George St, Brisbane, around August 1899. A photograph taken by Toppin of the presentation of medals to German military veterans appeared in the Queenslander in that month, under the studio’s name. Newsworthy events obviously held an interest, and the use of flashlight photography to record an interior night-time sporting event was one of his early attempts to show a difference in approach. The tried and true however also brought in an income and the Dora Studio offered highly burnished cabinet portraits at competitive rates. The enlargement and reproduction of old photographs was also on offer. Dora Studio operated until about May 1903, and the photographic equipment and studio furniture was auctioned on the premises in July.


Duesbury, Horace Wolfe

The eldest son of photographer Samuel Duesbury, Horace emigrated to Brisbane with his parents in 1865. At an early age he was assisting his father in the studio and developed a considerable talent as an artist. After his father acquired a photographic studio in Queen Street in 1873, Edward used the previous premises in Edward Street as his art studio. He was particularly noted for his oil paintings of enlarged portraits, including one of John Petrie.

Horace left Brisbane around 1876 to pursue a career as an artist in the United States, settling in California.

Duesbury HW

Duesbury, Samuel

Samuel Duesbury was working in Yorkshire, England as a wood carver, though there is some evidence he may have worked for photographer GC Lewis before leaving England in 1865. He arrived in Brisbane with his family in October that year, and in April 1867 opened a photographic studio in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley opposite the London Tavern, offering carte de visite.

Duesbury put his house and business up for sale in February 1870, intending to leave the colony, but did not sell. In September he opened photographic rooms in Edward Street, Brisbane, offering a new style of enlarged collodion print, which could also be painted in oils. This artwork was being undertaken by his teenage son Horace Duesbury. Samuel Duesbury took over and refitted the studio of Wright & Son, Queen Street around January 1873. Horace Duesbury used the Edward Street premises as an art studio associated with the business.

At the end of 1876 Duesbury sold his business and travelled to England with some of his family. He returned to Brisbane in April 1881 and immediately re-established himself in a new photographic studio in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. He sold the business around August the same year and moved to Quay Street.  While he continued to give his occupation as photographer there is no evidence that he ran an active commercial business.

Duesbury S

Duncalfe, Samuel

Samuel Duncalfe learned the hatter’s trade in London.  He emigrated to Australia and worked for Mountcastle in Sydney, before moving to Brisbane where he ran a clothing store. He became insolvent in 1887, losing everything the following year to meet his debts. By September 1889 he had joined Brisbane photographer Edward Hutchison promoting a travelling show to publicly exhibit twin dwarf boys in Brisbane. Hutchison was half-brother of the twins, and the show was taken to Maryborough billed as the ‘Dore Art Gallery, Polytechnic and Industrial Exhibition’. It featured the singing twins, Hutchison’s photographs, an art exhibition, and Duncalfe lecturing on hat-making.   


Hutchison and Duncalfe journeyed north and in the process Duncalfe gained an interest in photography, despite falling out with Hutchison in Rockhampton. He worked there with photographer Burrow Child for a few months from June 1890, and then set up a partnership with Child in Charters Towers, moving to Cairns in 1891. Duncalfe went to Geraldton (now Innisfail) by 1892 to operate his own photographic business.


He returned to Brisbane in 1893 and opened the Grosvenor Studio. Some of his photographs were featured in the Queenslander. After disposing of his studio in 1895, Duncalfe returned to his trade as a hatter and ran a successful business in New South Wales.

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