This listing of the photographers and studios operating in Brisbane from 1855 to 1901, is an abridged version of the print publication 'Capturing Brisbane'.
Galt, Halbert Hugh
Halbert (also known as Herbert) Galt arrived in Brisbane in December 1889 at the age of 14. He commenced work with Lomer & Co in Brisbane during 1890 remaining there until about March 1896 when he joined photographer and artist David Edward in Edward & Co at Ipswich.
Edward was suffering the effects of tuberculosis, and Galt took over the day-to-day work of the studio. A few days before he died in September 1896, David Edward took on Halbert Galt as his business partner. Edward & Galt was formed shortly after with Edward’s widow as partner. The business continued only to July 1897. Halbert Galt married Edward’s widow Amelia in February 1898 and the couple soon moved to Brisbane. Galt did not continue as a photographer, instead joining the tramways.
Reuben Gates arrived in Brisbane at the end of 1874, just 17 years old. He joined the Brisbane studio of Albert Lomer, probably before his marriage in June 1877. He stayed with Lomer into the early 1880s.
In July 1884 Gates opened the Cairns Photographic Studio in that north Queensland town, offering artistic portraiture and landscape photography. He took many photographs of Cairns which were for sale. He left Cairns in April 1885 and may have worked briefly as a photographer in Woolloongabba. Early in January 1886 he advertised for sale his photographic apparatus and lenses and left Brisbane, and photography, behind him.
Born at Sunnybank, Brisbane in 1879, George Gillespie started work with Poul Poulsen as a photographic assistant around 1900. He later moved to Mathewson & Co, rising to a management position. Gillespie became well known for his successful photographs of children.
In 1919 the firm became Regent Studios, and in 1924 George Gillespie bought into the business to become one of its managing directors. He was heavily involved in the Professional Photographers Association. He remained a senior partner in Regent Studios until his death in 1952.
Gilmore, John Alexander
John Gilmore was born in Brisbane in 1872 and went to work for Mathewson & Co around 1884 as a messenger boy. He was working for Mathewson in 1891 as a photographer when he gave evidence in the Shops, Factories and Workshop Commission. It is unclear how long Gilmore remained with Mathewson & Co, however he practised photography in Brisbane for the rest of his working life.
Glaister, Thomas Skelton Middleton
Thomas Glaister junior was born in Illinois, in the United States of America circa 1849. He was the son of Thomas Skelton Glaister an English mariner who became a professional photographer in the USA. Thomas senior moved to Melbourne circa 1854 and developed a significant photographic studio in Sydney until 1870, after which he returned to the USA.
Thomas junior was residing with his family in Sonoma, California when his older half-brother Daniel Metcalfe returned to America circa 1871. Metcalfe spent four years working in various American photographic studios and it is likely Glaister also developed his photographic skills at the same time.
Glaister and Metcalfe left San Francisco together in 1875, arriving in Sydney in April and then to Brisbane where they immediately acquired the Queen Street photographic business of John Watson. The new business operated under the name of Metcalfe & Glaister. The new American styles introduced by the firm were very popular and the business was parochially noted as equal to any in Australia. Thomas Glaister junior married in Brisbane in 1876, and a son was born in December of that year. Tragically he died in August 1877 from accidental poisoning. He was just 26 years old, and his young wife was pregnant.
Gove & Allen
The American photographic company Gove & Allen established its first Australian branch in Melbourne at the end of 1879. A local branch known as the American Studio, was opened at 7 Queen Street, Brisbane on 17 December 1881. The original photographer is not known. The firm’s first offer appears to have been Gems – ‘best and cheapest photographs ever made in the colony’ - and Christmas cards.
Poul Poulsen arrived from Adelaide to take up management of the studio in March 1882, but soon moved to Maryborough to set up the firm’s Flying Branch there. It ran until the end of November. The Brisbane studio continued operating in the meantime, but on Poulsens return in late November 1882 it was decided another branch would open in Toowoomba. To enable that to happen the Gove and Allen Studio in Brisbane closed early in December 1882.
The Toowoomba studio in East Street opened in January 1883 under Poulsen’s management and closed at the end of April. Gove & Allen also operated studios in Rockhampton and Charters Towers during 1883.
The firm returned to Brisbane in February 1885 and again leased 7 Queen Street. Poul Poulsen opened their studio on 7 March. The range of products had increased to include gems, carte de visite, cabinet portraits, and enlargements. Gove & Allen intended the studio would operate for only a few weeks, and Poulsen negotiated to acquire the American Studio as his own by August 1885.
Greenwood, James Warrington
James Greenwood was born in Oldham, England in 1869. He came to Brisbane where he married in March 1892. He commenced working for Brisbane Premium Tea Company and was managing their South Brisbane branch in 1894. The company collapsed at the end of 1894 though Greenwood continued as a tea merchant. He was politically active during the lead up to Australian Federation, opposing the formation of the Commonwealth. He was also a member of the Stonehenge Lodge of the United Ancient Order of Druids.
In 1900 Greenwood was listed in a local directory as a photographer, perhaps operating from his Stanley Street business address. Sadly, before he could progress far with the business he succumbed to rheumatic fever in June 1901. He was 33 years old. The Druids conducted a benefit to aid his widow and children.
Grosvenor Photographic Studio
The Grosvenor Photographic Studio in George Street, Brisbane was operating by September 1893. Its proprietor was photographer Samuel Duncalfe. From newspaper reports it seems the studio’s work in Brisbane was comparatively sedate, and perhaps followed Duncalfe’s interests. Grosvenor often supported draughts matches in Brisbane by donating photographs as prizes.
A news article at Christmas 1894 described the studio as unpretentious, though the vestibule held Japanese scenes and landscapes of north Queensland and the Cairns Railway. At the end of December 1894, the Grosvenor Studio moved to temporary premises in Roma Street. It had closed by May 1895, and the firm’s photographic negatives were acquired by Edward Hutchison.