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November 13, 2020

Amazing Studio Portrait Photos of Australian People in the 1870s

The Freeman Brothers Studio lays claim to being the longest running studio in Australia. It was established as the ‘Freeman Brothers and Wheeler’ by William Freeman and his brother James in George Street in 1854; it was still running nearly 150 years later.

Portraits of Australian people taken by the Freeman Brother Studio circa the 1870s


James was the more experienced of the two having worked in Richard Beard’s gallery in Bath, England, before coming to Australia and was certainly instrumental in the success with which they plied their trade in Sydney.

One of the keys to their success was their continual upgrading of equipment and premises to deliver the latest techniques. As a result they attracted the cultural elite of Sydney to their studios where they were photographed using the techniques of the day. Thus surviving examples can be found as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, collodion glass plates, flexible sheet negatives all of which were then used to make albumen, gelatin and platinum prints on card, glass, and paper.

These amazing photos were acquired from Freeman Brothers Studio by Powerhouse Museum in 1969. They show portraits of Australian people circa the 1870s.

Rev. W. B. Clarke, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1865-1875

Miss Munro, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Miss Munro, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr Munro, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr Solomon, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr York, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr. Bell, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr. Foster, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr. Hume, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr. Peters, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mr. William Moore, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mrs Jenkins, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mrs Moore, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mrs Solomon, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mrs York, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Mrs. Davis, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Portrait of an unidentified man, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Portrait of an unidentified woman, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Portrait of an unidentified woman, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Portrait of unidentified woman, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Portrait of unknown woman, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Reverend Pollard, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1871-1880

Sir Hercules Robinson, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1872-1879

Master Munro, Freeman Brothers Studio, circa 1975

Eduardo Majeroni in “The OLd Corporal”, 1876

Charles James Roberts, Mayor of Sydney, Freeman Brothers Studio, 1878-1879




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