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Johnstone, O'Shannessy and Co (fl. 1865-1909) (photographers)



  • Existence: fl. 1865 - 1909


Henry James Johnstone was born in Birmingham, England, in 1835. He arrived in Melbourne in 1853 (Cato 1955, p.57). He was an active Anglican (Cato 1955, p.34). In 1862 he bought out the Duryea and MacDonald Studio, based at 3 Bourke Street, and started work as Johnstone and Co.. During the 1870s and 80s Johnstone was Melbourne's leading portrait photographer. He was also a prominent artist and exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy in London (Cato 1955, p.57). In 1865 the firm became Johnstone, O'Shannessy and Co.. Johnstone's partner O'Shannessy was an ardent Catholic (Cato 1955, p.35). Johnstone impressed the Duke of Edinburgh and, during his visit to Victoria, Johnstone was appointed to his staff (Cato 1955, p.57). In 1867 Johnstone joined Louis Buvelot's painting school. In 1871 he became a member of the Victorian Academy of Arts (Cato 1955, p.106). Johnstone, O'Shannessy and Co. occupied a variety of buildings on Collins Street, Melbourne, until the 1890s (Davies and Stanbury 1985, p.184). Johnstone returned to London in 1880. He died in 1907 (Cato 1955, p.106).


Cato, Jack (1955), 'The story of the camera in Australia'. Melbourne : Institute of Australian Photographers.

Davies, Alan and Stanbury, Peter (1985), 'The mechanical eye in Australia: photography 1841-1900'. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Souvenir of New South Wales Court, Centennial International Exhibition, Melbourne

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3087J
Scope and Contents

An album containing nineteen mounted prints measuring approximately 290 x 225 mm., photographed by Johnston and O'Shannessy, and showing scenes in, and exhibits from, the New South Wales Court. Prints are uncaptioned apart from 'Johnstone and O'Shannessy, 55 and 57 Collins Street, Melbourne,' written beneath each print.

Dates: 1888 - 1889
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