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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'.


Farrell, William Thomas

William Farrell is believed to have trained as a photographer in Sydney during the 1880s. He was working in Grafton in August 1888 when the shed he was using as a photographic studio was destroyed by fire. Farrell moved to Brisbane and established a studio at his residence in Hope Street, near Vulture Street, in South Brisbane. He was not there for long however and the house and all its furniture were auctioned in March 1889. Although his photographic equipment was not auctioned, he did sell approximately 2000 glass negatives relating to his short time in Brisbane.

He was in Hobart in 1893 photographing houses with the aim of selling photographs to householders. Farrell returned to Sydney and by 1895 was involved in the revamped Jay’s Studio with Ernest Brown. Both were curiously listed as manager by the end of 1895. That studio ceased operations in January 1896 and Farrell moved on to Brisbane where he took a lease on 67 Queen Street. In February he registered the trademark ‘Tosca’ and developed the premises as the Tosca Studio. This venture was initially quite successful with branches established in Charters Towers, Gympie, Rockhampton, Townsville, and Sydney.

Tosca Studio went into liquidation in 1905 and the Brisbane branch was auctioned in July. William Farrell remained in Brisbane for a couple of years before moving to Newcastle where he continued to work as a photographer.


Federal Portrait Enlarging Company

This company was operating from Linton Street, Kangaroo Point from early 1889. It was under the management of Michael Somers. It may have continued in business until 1892.


Fegan, John James William Rolling

Jack Fegan arrived in South Australia when just 18.  He received training as a photographer, possibly with Arthur Francis in Port Pirie. He worked in Port Pirie from 1892 to 1899, which included the partnership Ball & Fegan with George Ball. He moved to Brisbane at the beginning of 1900 and was employed by Tosca Studio until June 1900.  He then joined Geoffrey Fellows in the Melba Studio. As the Melba representative of the professional photographers in Brisbane, Fegan was directly involved in the implementation of the provisions of the Early-closing Act, and a half-holiday for employees.  His time at Melba was short as that company ceased work in early 1901.

Fegan partnered with RA Ruddle in Fortitude Valley from 1902 to 1904, and then worked for himself in George Street before founding the Strand Studio. He engaged in the program by the Queenslander newspaper to photograph soldiers enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force during WWI. He fell ill in 1916 and his wife Gertrude took over the business aided by the studio staff.


Fellows, Geoffry

Fellows came to Australia with his parents and siblings in 1886. He worked in the Falk and Talma Studios in Sydney and Melbourne before moving to Brisbane in early 1900 to establish the Melba Studio. He returned to Sydney in October that year leaving Melba in the hands of John Fegan. Fellows joined the Mars Studio in Dubbo and operated the Wellington studio. He remained in that district as a photographer for some years.


Forbes, George Ernest

Born in Oxley, Brisbane in 1879, George Forbes was a nephew of John Hogg. Forbes was working for Hogg in the George Street studio from at least 1901, probably earlier, until the studio closed in mid-1902. He did not continue with photography, instead opening a general store in Fernvale.

Forster, Edward Hartshorne

Edward Forster emigrated from Ireland to Sydney around 1866. No evidence has yet emerged as to where he learned his trade as a photographer. He joined the American & Australian Photographic Company sometime after the company established in Sydney in 1870. He arrived in Brisbane in June 1871 to establish a branch of the American & Australian Photographic Company. Forster commenced the business from his residence in Hampton Cottage on Wickham Terrace, Brisbane in early August 1871. His photographic work, largely landscapes, were on view at Watson & Co’s in Queen Street, and later at the photographic studio of John Watson, also in Queen Street.

In January 1872 he journeyed to Gympie and then Maryborough where he briefly established a studio for the Company. He left the American & Australian Photographic Company and opened his own studio in Maryborough in late 1872. Forster established a studio in Gympie in 1875 which he sold in 1879 to move back to Maryborough.

Forster EH

Fox, Henry William

Henry Fox emigrated to Brisbane with his parents and siblings in 1853, where they settled in New Farm. Henry had a photographic studio in Ann Street, Fortitude Valley by September 1866 and was likely still in the business in 1868. In 1869 he commenced work as a lithographic draftsman in the Surveyor-General’s Office, a career he continued until retirement.

Frisco Photographic Company

This company was first established by George Tissington in Singleton, New South Wales in July 1875, though it only operated for a few months. When Tissington commenced a new photographic business in Brisbane in late 1877 he again named it the Frisco Photo Company.


He moved the company to Ipswich early in 1878, to Dalby, Roma, Surat and St George in 1879, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Allora, Leyburn, and Ipswich again the following year, and to Toowoomba and Roma again in 1881. Some of the studios operated concurrently. In Maryborough the Frisco Photo Company bought the gallery previously operated by Daniel Metcalfe.

JW Wilder’s Studio in Rockhampton was acquired by Frisco in 1882. JH Ludenager was running the Rockhampton Studio and Tissington was also there when he fell ill at the end of 1882. Tissington died at Gladstone in January 1883, and the network of temporary Frisco Photographic Studios across the colony was soon dismantled.


Fristrom, Clas Edvard

Edward Fristrom, as he was also known, was born in Sweden in 1864. He emigrated to Brisbane presumably to join his brother Oscar Fristrom circa 1884. A talented amateur artist Edward Fristrom also worked for the firm Hutchison, Fristrom & Co formed by his brother and Edward Hutchison in December 1884. He described himself, and was described by Hutchison as a photographic artist, a term most often applied to photographers, though whether he worked behind the camera has not been confirmed. Like his brother he was a colourist and portraitist. He continued to work at the Elite Studio after Hutchison, Fristrom & Co was dissolved in September 1885, and even continued to work for Hutchison’s successors, J Brame & Co and John Wiley into the early 1890s.

When his brother left Brisbane in 1893, Edward Fristrom took on his art studio and began to forge a career as a professional artist. He moved his family to New Zealand in 1903 and exhibited and taught art there. In 1915 he emigrated to the United States to join his children who lived there.

Fristrom E

Fristrom, Carl Magnus Oscar

Born in Sweden in 1856 Oscar Fristrom is believed to have come to Brisbane in 1883, perhaps as a sailor. An untrained artist with considerable natural talent he displayed his art at the 1884 Brisbane Exhibition, where he likely came to the notice of photographer Edward Hutchison. He began to work with Hutchison and from 9 December 1884 was made a partner of the firm Hutchison, Fristrom & Co at the Elite Studio, 8 Queen Street, Brisbane. Fristrom was engaged in colouring portraits and producing oil paintings. In May 1885 an exhibition held to commemorate the first anniversary of the photographic business, included oil paintings and water colours likely produced by Fristrom. With local recognition of his growing skills Fristrom remained with Hutchison only until September 1885 when he ended the partnership to pursue his own business.  He is known to have also coloured photographs produced by other photographers, presumably as contract work.

Fristrom remained on good terms with Hutchison and may also have done piece work for him. In 1887 Hutchison exhibited more of Fristrom’s crayon, water, and oil paintings at his Anniversary Exhibition in Brisbane. In late 1893 Oscar Fristrom left for Adelaide, intending to travel on to Europe. There he again encountered Eddie Hutchison and joined him in the Fritz Photographing Company. After a year in Adelaide Fristrom returned to Brisbane in September 1894 accompanied by Hutchison, and both returned to their prospective professions. Oscar Fristrom remained in Brisbane where he enjoyed a reputation as a fine portraitist.

Fristrom O

Funnell, John Barnes

John Funnell and his family emigrated to Brisbane in August 1862. His occupation during his earliest years in the city is unknown, however in November 1865 he opened a photographic studio. Assisted by photographer William Smith he set up in Cockerell’s Buildings in Ann Street, Fortitude Valley. There they offered carte de visite and glass pictures. Funnell advertised only twice in the local newspapers, the last being in early December 1865. His time as a photographer was brief and the business may not have lasted long into 1866. He later moved to South Australia.

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