C.G. Greenham Photographer

In association with the National Gallery of Australia, research is being carried out to compile a biography of Charles George Greenham [1853-1925].
Greenham was a commercial photographer towards the end of the 19th century and early in the 20th century across southern Australia, based [chronologically] in Melbourne, Camperdown, Portland, Coolgardie, Perth, Sydney, Newcastle and Colac. For much of that time he worked with his wife Laura Greenham nee Evans, a photo-artist as well as a photographer.

Early in his career he operated a photographic business called ‘Herodotus Studios’. Herodotus, ancient Greek historian and philosopher, penned ‘Chances rule Men, not Men Chances’. Greenham lived that maxim; he did not create opportunity, but simply made the most of every prospect that presented itself.

Chance, and his reactions to it, meant his life was crammed with milestones, literally and metaphorically. Apart from the adventure of sailing from England to Australia as a child, Charles George Greenham: lived and worked in three states, married three times, had children, followed goldrushes and industrial booms, cultured a close friendship with explorer and politician Lord John Forrest , and won international prizes for his photography at the 1900 and 1908 Olympic Games Festivals.

Samples of his photographs are held by an array of international, national, state and regional public collection institutions and private archives, including: Cambridge University Library England, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, State Library of Victoria, Museum Victoria, Western Australian State Library, State Library of New South Wales, Hunter Regional Library Newcastle, J Ward Museum Ararat, History House Portland, Colac Historical Society, Dartmoor District Museum, BHP Billiton and Ford Australia Archives.

People with information on the Greenham and Evans families or with photographs attributable to the various studios operated by the partnership are invited to contact the Museum.

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4 thoughts on “C.G. Greenham Photographer

  1. I purchased a old framed photograph of 2 young girls from a Antique shop in Newcastle NSW. It has Greenham Studios marked on the front of the photograph. Could this possibly be a old photograph taken by Greenham/Evans? I would love to know more about the old photograph. The frame also appears to be original.

    • Hi Karen, thanks for the comment. Congratulations on your purchase! Most certainly the ‘Greenham Studios’ photo of the two girls was taken while Charles and Laura lived in Newcastle mid-1914 until late-1920. The studio was at 53 Hunter St, and a few years ago the building was still there. Greenham probably made most of his income from studio portraits, but did receive two ‘commissions’ – to photograph the development of the BHP steel mill, and record a series of important persons of the city. I cannot help with the identities of the two girls though! Is there anything on the back of the frame? Perhaps you would need to take the photo out of the frame to check the back of the print itself? I would be pleased to get a scanned image of the photo though…’for the record’. Keep in touch! (email might be best)

  2. Have a set of 4 Stereoviews taken by Greenham, “Collins St Melb”, “Gnotuk”, “Australian Cattle” and one featuring “botanical Gards” (not sure where as yet). If they’re of any interest can send scans for your files. All feature the Herodotus and C G Greenham, Photographer stamp on the verso.

  3. A few months ago, I took copies of a couple of photographs of what was thought to be the Kelly Homestead in Kelly Road, Virginia, Brisbane. One was clearly a photo of that house. However, the other one was a photo of a different house – and had on the back of it “The ‘Herodotus’ Studio, C.G. Greenham, Photographer, Hawthorn”.
    At the time, I was researching the Kelly family (because they were pioneers in our district) and the man who lent me the photos had purchased the homestead from the family.
    When I compiled the family tree, I discovered that the first born child of James and Pauline Kelly was a boy born in Kirkstall, Victoria in 1879. Sadly, he died in Victoria just seven months later. (All subsequent children were born in Brisbane.)
    I then discovered that there was another Kelly family living in Kirkstall at the same time. Children of James’ brother and sister-in-law (Martin and Mary Kelly) had been born in Tower Hill, Hawkesdale, and Moyne, and those born in 1878, 1880, and 1882 were also born in Kirkstall. (Martin also died in Kirkstall in 1915,) So, my guess is that the Greenham photo was of the Kelly house in Kirkstall. There are two adults and a small child in the foreground, possibly a boy. Martin and Mary had two boys, born in 1874 and 1880.

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