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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Frances Perry, c. 1863

Batchelder & O'Neill

albumen paper carte de visite (support: 10.4 cm x 6.4 cm, image: 9.0 cm x 5.8 cm)

More images of this artwork

Frances Perry (1814–1892), welfare worker, came to Victoria in 1847 when her husband Charles was appointed Anglican Bishop of Melbourne. As one historian has explained, this effectively meant that the diocese got ‘two workers for the price of one’, with Frances Perry not only exemplifying the role of helpmeet and arbiter of morality but contributing substantially to the establishment of essential social services. She worked for the Melbourne Orphan Asylum, the Carlton Refuge and the Melbourne Home for Governesses and Needlewomen, and was founding president of the Melbourne Lying-In Hospital and Infirmary for Diseases of Women and Children. Now the Royal Women’s Hospital, it opened in 1856 to provide care for patients otherwise unable to afford it, the exodus of men to the goldfields having left many women as good as destitute. On occasion, however, the hospital’s management was accused of lacking charity for their ‘moral inquisitions’ into prospective patients, and for ‘excluding … a class of unfortunate women who are oftentimes more to be pitied than condemned.’ Prostitutes, in other words, and single women who had been seduced and abandoned. Despite this, the hospital admitted almost 3000 women in its first decade. During the same period it became the first hospital in Australia to offer nursing training and in 1865 instituted teaching in obstetrics and gynaecology. Frances served as president of the hospital until her departure from Melbourne in April 1874. Frances Perry House opened as a private wing of the Royal Women’s Hospital in 1970 and since 2005 has operated as an independent private hospital.

The firm comprised of the American-born photographers Batchelder & O’Neill became one of Melbourne’s leading studios following its formation in the late 1850s. It had its origins in the business started by Perez Mann Batchelder in 1854. His brothers Benjamin, Nathaniel and Freeman joined him in the business in 1856. Another American, Daniel O’Neill became a partner in 1857, when Perez Batchelder left Victoria. In 1863 they advertised for an ‘experienced operator, for country travelling.’ By 1864 O’Neill was running the Melbourne side of the business outright, Benjamin Batchelder having opened a branch of the firm in Bendigo. O’Neill relocated to Sydney in the late 1860s but by 1871 had returned to Melbourne, working from premises on Swanston Street as a dealer in photographic supplies and equipment. Other photographers continued to trade under the Batchelder name until the mid-1890s though the original proprietors had either died or long since ceased their association with the business.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

Accession number: 2012.26

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Batchelder & O'Neill

Frances Perry (age 49 in 1863)

Subject professions

Migration and colonisation

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill
Lady Barkly, 1863 Batchelder & O'Neill

Carte-o-mania!

Previous exhibition, 2018

Drawn from the NPG’s burgeoning collection of cartes de visite, Carte-o-mania! celebrates the wit, style and substance of the pocket-sized portraits that were taken and collected like crazy in post-goldrush Australia.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.