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Whitehead Studios - The Whitehead Collection
F.A. (Francis Arnold) (born 31 January 1864), was the third child, and first son of, Samuel Francis Whitehead and Caroline Whitehead (nee Southerden), who emigrated from the Midlands of England in 1849.
The family lived in Brisbane Street, opposite Bell Street, where Mrs Whitehead operated a book store, stationery and newsagency that was attached to the dwelling.
'Frank' was educated at teh Pine Mountain School and then at Little Ipswich (later known as West Ipswich School). He then attended Ipswich Grammar School from 4th February 1879, being pupil number 369. He remained at the school for two years.
Next door to the Whitehead family was the business of Biggingee Sorabjee Pochee, an early photographer, who had started his business in September 1863. The Pochee's son, Serabga, would have been a friend of Frank living next door and also attending Ipswich Grammar School.
It is believed that young Frank learnt the art of photography through absorbing the wonders of watching the magical image appearing at Mr Poochee's establishment. This would have been very exciting for a young lad at the time and it is no wonder that this was the profession Frank chose for the rest of his life. Serabga also went on to become a photographer.
Pochee left Ipswich in 1878 and his vacated premises were taken over by another photographer, "Frisco Photo Company", with G.A. Tissington as manager.
By 1880 Tissington moved to new premises in Ellenborough Street, adjoining the Queensland Times office. They had reduced their price for cartes-de-visite to 7/6 per dozen. It would appear that the young Frank was now working for the company. Many of the carte-de0visite specimens can still be found in Ipswich family albums today, and many of these may have been produced by Francis Whitehead.
On 10 March 1883, The Queensland Times carried an advertisement which announced that F.A. Whitehead (late Manager of Frisco Photo Company, Ipswich) had taken over the business. At age 19 he purchased the studio, and this would be the beginning of a business that would continue for 120 years and beyond.
He remained in the Ellenborough Street premises for over five years and then in August 1888 advertised his new address as Brisbane Street. He announced that he had moved to Brisbane Street, adjoining the business of Joseph Rose. He had taken over the photographic studio of W. Deazely.
At this time he also had a traveling darkroom, and traveled around the district taking photographs of people who could not make it to his Studio in Ipswich.
This was the site which B.S. Pochee had occupied from late 1864 to 1873, and is the spot where the business remained until December 2004, when the studio was sold. The new owners kept the Whitehead name.
As the business expanded, the space in the small wooden building became inadequate. His landlord, F.J. Stephens, agreed to build new premises on the site. Local architect, George Brockwell Gill was employed to design the 'new brick business premises and photographic studio' in 1901. The work was carried out by Worley and Whitehead.
During the building of the new premises the temporary studio was located in the Building Society building on the corner of Limestone Street and East Street. He opened his new premises for business on Saturday 21 December 1901.
In 1929 Stephens extended the building on Brisbane Street. The whole of the first floor was occupied by F.A. Whitehead's photography business. A hole was cut through the dividing wall in order to connect up his other premises and a fire-door was installed for safety. This greatly increased the working area of the Whitehead business.
It was not all smooth sailing for Frank Whitehead: twice in 1893 his premises were flooded, although the equipment was saved by a hasty removal to the Town Hall. In later years he felt he had received some compensation, in having the opportunity to take those remarkable flood photographs, copies of which still remain as silent reminders of the devastation in Ipswich caused by the 1893 floods.
On 5 December 1888, Frank married Jeanie Wilson, the second daughter of Reverend Edward Wilson of North Ipswich Congregational Church. The ceremony took place at the residence of the bride's father, with Reverend John Walker officiating, and assisted by Reverend S.F. Whitehead of Gatton, Frank's father.
Frank and Jeanie had six children: Arnold Edward, Minnie Caroline, Arthur Henry, Henrietta Lightoller, Frederick Roberts and Edaward Wilson. The family of Frank and Jeanie made their home at "Karragaroo" at Eastern Heights.
Frank's father died in Gatton on 21 May 1890 and his remains were interred in the Ipswich Cemetery the following morning. Jeanie passed away in 1938 and Frank, a pioneer of photography in Queensland was in his 80th year when he passed away on Monday 17 August 1943.
Members of the family joined the business at an early age and the tradition was carried on by succeeding generations. F.A.'s sons, Arthur Henry and Edward Wilson continued after his death. On their retirement, Arthur's son, Kenneth, and Wilson's son John, managed the business. With Ken's retirement in 1993 and John's in 2001 the management of the business transferred to John's children, Gregory and Andra, the fourth generation.
Each generation worked with a new technology. F.A. produced photographs from glass plates, the second generation used black & white celluloid film and the thrid generation was one of the first in Australia to use direct colour, and established a colour processing laborarty - 'Video Color Prints'. The fourth generation saw the start of the digital era. In 2004 the studio was purchased by staff member Gordon Reeves, and Paul Fenn who have retained the studio's 'Whitehead' name.Read More At Ipswich LibrariesThe Whitehead Legacy
A staff member loading product onto a McKenzie and Jackson truck, Goodna store, Goodna, Ipswich, 1963
Faulkner Motors Showroom, 154 Brisbane Street, transport display for Ipswich Centenary celebrations, Ipswich, 1960
Falkiner Machinery Company's steel chain installations at Aberdare No. 8 Colliery, Bundamba, Ipswich, 1959
Series of images showing aftermath of car accident on corner Salisbury and Warwick Road, Ipswich, 1960
Framed illuminated "Welcome to the City" address presented to His Excellency Lord Northcote, Governor General of Australia, during his visit to Ipswich, 1906
Framed illuminated "Welcome to the City" address presented to His Excellency Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, Governor of Queensland, during his visit to Ipswich, 1932
Framed illuminated "Welcome to the City" address presented to His Excellency The Right Hon Lord Chelmsford, Governor of Queensland, during his visit to Ipswich, 1906