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Recycling the Galleries

By far the greatest concentration of photographers at any one time in Brisbane was in the main thoroughfare, Queen Street. George Street was a close second. Ann or Wickham Streets were popular in Fortitude Valley, and Stanley Street in South Brisbane was a prime location.

Few but the wealthiest of photographers were able to purpose-build a gallery or studio for their business during the nineteenth century. Many chose to adapt the shop over which they took a lease, but if an option existed to take a building that had already been adapted for purpose, it could represent a significant cost-saving.  What has become obvious in this study of Brisbane photographers is that some addresses were re-used repeatedly. Some of them are identified here:


Rosetta’s Store, Albert Street

John Wheeler was the first to use Rosetta’s store as his gallery between August and December 1855. Edwin Brissenden found it a suitable premises when he set up there between November 1857 and January 1858.


George Street, opposite the Immigration Depot

When Edward Brissenden moved from Rosetta’s Store, he established the Excelsior Photo Gallery in January 1858 in a George Street building opposite the Immigration Depot. He remained there until March 1858. William T Bennett moved in around July 1858 staying for a few months to about December 1858.


Queen Street, opposite the Court House

BL Stiebel worked at this address from July to August 1860. Lawson Insley followed in March 1861, staying to around June 1862. Robert Leck was the longest occupant, operating his studio from September 1862 to March 1864.


Bulcock’s Building, Queen Street

Bingingee Poochee leased part of Bulcock’s Building in Queen Street for his temporary Brisbane studio. He was working there from January to March 1864. Robert Leck moved in during March 1864 only to fall victim of the Queen Street fire in April that saw Bulcock’s Building destroyed.


Hughes premises, Queen Street (near Edward Street)

Michael Hughes, a grocer in Queen Street, had three of four rooms to let above his store early in 1866. Daniel Metcalfe fitted out a photographic gallery above premises in Queen Street around May 1866. He operated from there until December 1868. Alfred Wright took the lease on the rooms in January 1869, using them until May 1871. His father George Wright and one of Alfred’s brothers continued the lease as Wright & Son until December 1872. Samuel Duesbury established his studio there between January 1873 and about December 1876. George Tissington arrived in September 1877 to establish the Frisco Photo Company, remaining there until around March 1878.


Smith’s Building, 7 Queen Street

Erected during late 1877, the two-story Smith’s Buildings at 7 Queen Street, was located between George Street and North Quay. It was located on the land now occupied by Reddacliff Place and Brisbane Square.   

How much space was taken up by the various studios is unknown, and it is likely there were at time other businesses occupying parts of the building. Metcalfe & Bennett had built ‘a new and spacious gallery’ in the building by October 1878 and worked there until the firm’s dissolution in March 1879. William Bennett stayed in possession of the studio until March 1880. John Deazeley ran his business at that address from August 1880 to December 1881, after which it was immediately taken by Gove & Allen until December 1882. Martin Roggenkamp used the premises from September 1883 to January 1884. Ellis Sutton arrived around September 1884, occupying the gallery until February 1885. Gove and Allen returned in March 1885, until their manager Poul Poulsen, acquired the lease in his own name from August that year. Ellis Sutton appears to have returned to take a room just for October 1887 before he moved on again. Poul Poulsen remained at 7 Queen Street into the 20th century.


8 Queen Street

Edward Hutchison opened his Elite Studio at 8 Queen Street in May 1884, operating from there until he sold the business to John Brame & Co in September 1889. Brame was there only to February 1890, when he sold to John Wiley. Wiley’s studio remained at 8 Queen Street until 1917.


91 George Street (opposite John Hicks)

91 George Street was located near Ann Street and between Ann and Turbot streets. It was most often described as being opposite John Hicks’s warehouse.  Henry Overlack established the Imperial Photo Company at that address from October 1889. The Company was still there in March 1891 when the building was destroyed by fire. The New York Photographic Studio was presumably in the building from October to November 1891. By February 1892 Wah Sing was operating his photographic establishment in the building. He may have remained there only a few months. By July 1892 the New Photo Company had taken residence, remaining there until about April 1893.  Samuel Duncalfe’s Grosvenor Studio was present from about September 1893 to December 1894 Francis Keogh operated from the building from about January 1895 to August 1896. Thomas Mathews followed with his studio from about September 1896 to June 1899. From August 1899 to around May 1903 the building was used by the Dora Studio.

© Brian Rough 2022

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