Townsend Duryea 1823
on secondary sources)
Duryea was born 1823, Glencoe, Long Island, New York.
His father was Hewlett Duryea (b.1795) and his brother
was Sanford Duryea (b 1833).
It seems to have been a large family circle (1850
Townsend trained first as a mining engineer, but quickly
1852 Duryea applied for a patent #9018
Townsend Duryea, Williamsburg, Kings Co., machine for
1852, he moved to Melbourne, Australia, already a professional
photographer. Here he established a studio in partnership
with Archibald McDonald, McDonald & Duryea,
first in Bourke St East then in Collins St West. Duryea & McDonald
exhibited daguerrean portraits and views at the 1854
Duryea & McDonald
established the Skylight Gallery in Yarra Street
Geelong (1853- 1855). Charles Nettleton was one of
Duryea & McDonald
also operated in Tasmania in 1854-1855. They established
a (daguerreotypists) studio
Hobart in late 1854. They toured northern Tasmania
making ambrotypes portraits and views during 1854-55.
It seems that during
their work in Tasmania the partnership was dissolved.
Their hobart studio was then occupied by the photographer,
Alfred Bock. McDonald continued the mainland studio,
with Nettleton concentrating on views and Macdonald
on the studio work.
1855 Duryea moved to Adelaide and in February opened
daguerreotype rooms over Prince's store at the corner
of King William and Grenfell Streets. Later that year,
Townsend and his brother, Sanford, established a
name of The
Duryea Brothers, 66 & 68 King William Street Adelaide.
The studio was owned by Alexander Hay MP. Hay was a
businessman, a large land owner in and around the city,
and a member of the colony’s first Parliament. (Anthony Laube - paper for
2005 History Trust of SA's Duryea
first they produced Daguerreotypes but soon entered
trade and advertised 'all the new Processes on Glass
and Paper'. Duryea produced Crayon
advertised this process and caused a little controversy
and public debate particular with his competitors.
Duryeas are reported as being the first photographers
to have worked outside Adelaide. As travelling photographers
in 1856, they visited Auburn, Burra, Clare, Kapunda,
Strathalbyn, Mt barker, Goolwa, Milang, Port Elliot
and their near-by towns.
brothers' business lasted till 1857,
when Sanford moved to Perth
and established his own studio. He married in 1858.
Townsend Duryea entered a new photographic partnership
at 68 King William
Street, under the name Nixon & Duryea (William
Nixon and Townsend Duryea). Sanford
returned to Adelaide late in 1859 and they re-established
the partnership, although under Townsend's name - not
the former 'Duryea Brothers', till this was dissolved
in 1863. From 1863 to 1875, Townsend
on the corner of William and Grenfell Streets Adelaide.
had other interests. In 1857 he built a thirty-foot
cutter, the Coquette, behind the Maid and Magpie Hotel
in Magill. Though the cutter was said to be for the
River Murray trade, it was mainly used for racing;
with bets reported to be as high as £100. Another
of his interest was mining, with holdings in and around
Wallaroo. By 1861, Duryea Mining Association was reported
as owning fifteen mining sections in the area.
1862-63, Duryea advertised that his studio was now
offering the 'new' style cartes des visite. His photographer's
imprint on the reverse of these cards changes over
the next decade. He published landscape photographs
in the carte des visite format.
In the beginning of 1864, Duryea advertised that he
was offering sennotypes, later as life-size sennotypes
using Woodward's patent solar camera. He also hired
an artist from England to do his oil and water colour
portraits and to colour the sennotypes. The stuio was
improved with better lighting. All of this can be
seen in a picture page.59 of the Mechanical
the studio has been photographed from across the street.
The name of the studio is clear, 'Duryea Photographic
Gallery', an advertisment for 'Life Size Sennotypes,
and the solar camera can be seen protruding from the
Noye, Duryea specialised in gem portraits, adhesive
back miniatures used instead of signatures - sold at
the attractive price of 100 for 50 shillings. In 1866,
he published Duryea's Adelaide Album, with
seven street scenes and a photograph of drawing. This
with a gem portrait of Duryea instead of his signature.
The National Library of Australia has a copy of the
had become part of Adelaide's elite, a mixed group
based on the model of the English aristocracy, but
with many amongst them having moved up the financial
social ladder in recent years. The Adelaide elite,
governors, visiting dignitaries and the city's leading
citizens, clergy, army officers and high ranking civil
servants were the subject of many of his studio portraits.
In a set
of albums owned by the family of the then Chief Justice
of SA, the
Duryea and some of his family are placed
1865, Duryea produced the now famous panorama
His was not the first to produce a panorama of Adelaide,
but it was the most successful. Duryea climbed the
here took fourteen 10" x 12" plates. He
began in the morning, facing north, and worked his
the tower in an anti-clockwise direction to avoid
the sun shining into his camera lens. The resultant
is 4.3 metres in length and remains much celebrated
today and on a special web site.
Queen Victoria's son Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh visited
Adelaide in 1867, he chose Duryea to be his official
photographer. Hence the change in his label on the
back of his cartes-de-visite from this period. On
9th November, the Duke posed at Duryea's King William
for the first royal portraits made in Australia. Duryea
then accompanied the Duke and the official party on
the visit, travelling in a specially prepared photographer's
van. The Royal portrait was very popular and was reproduced
in the Illustrated London News.
also produced Mosaics of 'important' people of the
colony. See the link for more on the mosaics.
Duryea made a giant mosaic in 1871 of 520
men attending a banquet given in Adelaide by the merchant
E. Solomon. (Shades
of Light). In 1872 he photographed almost all the
old surviving colonists, making a mosaic of 675 cartes
1868, he won a medal for his exhibit at the South Australian
Agricultural and Horticultural Society show. In 1868,
a prize at the Society of Arts and a medal at the 1867
Paris Universal Exhibition. Duryea's
panoramas, royal portraits and the exhibition prizes
made him famous and more successful. Duryea also benefited
from employing skilled
operators. He was a short man,
but was extremely energetic, having a vigorous mind
and keen intellect. He was an entrepreneur and made
full use of advertising in newspapers and almanacs.
1875 a spectacular fire destroyed both the studio and
Duryea’s entire collection of 50,000 glass plate
negatives. One of the best records of early Adelaide
was lost. While the studio was being rebuilt, Duryea
continued business from a second studio at The Adelaide
School of Photography in Rundle Street. Duryea offered
to redo photographs for his customers.
soon sold the business to Nixon and left Adelaide.
gave up professional photography and took up farming
near Yanga Lake in the Riverina
area of south-west New
Wales. In his later years, he suffered a stroke which
largely crippled him, leaving him an invalid. On 13
December 1888, he died as a result of a buggy accident
and was buried at Parkside near Balranald.
four of his sons who went on to become photographers,
having been taught by their father, several others
in his studio had successful careers in photography.
These included Nicholas Caire, Henry Jones and John
on Duryea <<<<<<
of Light. Gael Newton 1988 -
Mechanical Eye in Australia. Photography 1841-1900.
Alan Davies and Peter Stanbury. 1985
Behind the Camera. Directory of Early Australian Photographers
1841 - 1945. Sandy Barrie. 2002
History of South Australia - Bob
Noye's web site; sadly Bob died in 2002 leaving the
web site incomplete - his site and material is now
owned by the Art Gallery of SA - soon to be upgraded
- it is available through the gallery site
and District Photographers:
Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Dictionary of Australian Artists. (to
1870) edited by Joan Kerr, 1992
story of the camera in Australia. Cato,
Melbourne: Institute of Australian Photographers.
Photographers 1840 - 1940, Chris Long, Hobart 1995
and many little snippets found on