Townsend & Sanford Duryea were two American born brothers who immigrated to Australia for the gold rush of the 1850’s. Townsend arrived in 1852 and his brother followed him to Melbourne in 1854. But they quickly sold their mining equipment and went into the photographic business opening a number of studios in Melbourne, Geelong and Hobart. By 1855 they had sold up and moved to Adelaide while also making country visits.
Sanford moved to Perth and in October 1857, opened a studio under the Duryea Brothers name in St George’s Terrace, next to Mr Barnett’s store, claiming 15 years photographic experience and offering Daguerreotypes, Crayon Pictures, Halotypes and Stereoscopic Pictures.
Townsend stayed in Adelaide and went into business with Stephen Nixon, the father of C.M. Nixon, who later had a studio in Fremantle.
It’s not known if Sanford in using the name Duryea Brothers, expected Townsend to join him in Western Australia or if he felt it sounded more professional.
He briefly opened a pop-up studio in Fremantle, next to Mr Lodge’s hotel in January 1858, followed by 2 week long stays in York, Toodyay and Guildford. In May he was in Bunbury & Vasse. By June 1858 he was back in Fremantle for another short stint.
Between all this, he found time to marry Ellen Amelia Leeder, in March.
By August, Sanford had moved his studio to Hay Street where he charged 10s/6d per sitting.
Urging his patrons to send their likeness abroad to long seen friends, he mentioned a piece from the play, Comedy of Errors.
“Oh! Grief hath changed me since you saw me last. And careful hours with time’s deteriorated hand, have written strange defeatures in my face.”
In November 1858, he advertised his intention to leave the Swan River colony with reduced prices, photograph lessons offered and a large camera for sale. But for whatever reason, the move never eventuated.
In January 1859, the couple had their first child, Carlton, and by this time Sanford had also become a naturalised citizen.
In September he put out a last call to his patrons, citing his intention to leave the colony. By the end of the year, he had returned to Adelaide to work with his brother again.
In April 1863 the partnership dissolved and within a year Sanford had taken his family back to America. He ran his own studio in Brooklyn, New York until 1893 when he retired.
Sanford died in 1903.