Early Queensland photography – Poulsen Studios

In 1885 (130 years ago), Poul C. Poulsen opened his photographic studio at No.7 Queen Street in Brisbane and over time established himself as an important and longstanding early Queensland photographer. State Library of Queensland is fortunate to hold a large collection of photographs taken by the Poulsen Studios.

Interior of Poulsen Studios. undated. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123091

Interior of Poulsen Studios. undated. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123091

Polsen was born in Denmark in 1857 and travelled to Sydney in 1876. In 1882 he travelled to Brisbane and in 1885 opened the studio in Queen Street, previously occupied by Gove and Allen, photographers. Via advertisements in local newspapers that year Poulsen proclaimed himself “the people’s favourite photographer” and offered “high class work at moderate charges”.

Poul C. Poulsen. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123080

Poul C. Poulsen. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123080

Poulsen’s success enabled him to expanded his business, opening studios in regional centres including Gympie, Maryborough and Laidley as well as additional studios in Brisbane. Poulsen retired to Cooran in 1915, passing away in 1925. He is interred at Bulimba Cemetery. His sons and grandsons continued the family business after his death.

Caricature of photographer William Christian Poulsen, Brisbane ca. 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 164104

Caricature of photographer William Christian Poulsen, Brisbane ca. 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 164104

Taken from The people, products, and industries of West Moreton, Queensland : being a brief account of the progress and resources of the district Ipswich : Parkinson & Co. for B. Taylor , 1899. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Taken from The people, products, and industries of West Moreton, Queensland : being a brief account of the progress and resources of the district Ipswich, 1899. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Taken from Holiday resorts for exhibition visitors, 1920. SLQ collection

Taken from Holiday resorts for exhibition visitors, 1920. SLQ collection

Hundreds of images taken by Poulsen Studios have been digitised and can be viewed online. These photographs range from individual or group portraits to external street views. The quality of these images are superb, most likely due to Poulsen’s desire to use the latest photographic equipment available at the time. Below is a sample of his studio’s work. You can also peruse a digital collection of Poulsen Studios photographs via SLQ’s One Search catalogue.

Living room of the Poulsen family home, Dutton Park, Brisbane, ca. 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123083

Living room of the Poulsen family home, Dutton Park, Brisbane, ca. 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123083

View of flooded street at Breakfast Creek, Brisbane 1890. Neg 60383

View of flooded street at Breakfast Creek, Brisbane 1890. Neg 60383

West End Brewery during the 1890 flood. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 63235

West End Brewery during the 1890 flood. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 63235

Logan Road at Woolloongabba, Brisbane during the 1890 flood. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 17651

Logan Road at Woolloongabba, Brisbane during the 1890 flood. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 17651

Apollonian Vale, Gympie ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image  API-057-01-0014

Apollonian Vale, Gympie ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image API-057-01-0014

Corner of Creek and Elizabeth, Steet Brisbane ca. 1895. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-031-0001-0002

Corner of Creek and Elizabeth, Steet Brisbane ca. 1895. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-031-0001-0002

Looking across the Botanic Gardens, Brisbane ca. 1891. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123301

Looking across the Botanic Gardens, Brisbane ca. 1891. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123301

Intersection of Queen and Creek Streets, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123299

Intersection of Queen and Creek Streets, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123299

Outing at Gold Creek Brookfield, Brisbane ca. 1890. Neg 23974

Outing at Gold Creek Brookfield, Brisbane ca. 1890. Neg 23974

Baptist Church and surrounding area Sandgate, Brisbane ca. 1891. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 13765

Baptist Church and surrounding area Sandgate, Brisbane ca. 1891. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 13765

Looking towards Kangaroo Point from the city ca. 1908. taken from the roof of the Commercial Travellers Association Building, 277 Elizabeth Street. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123129

Looking towards Kangaroo Point from the city ca. 1908. taken from the roof of the Commercial Travellers Association Building, 277 Elizabeth Street. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123129

New volunteers on parade at Enoggera Army Camp ca 1914. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123288

New volunteers on parade at Enoggera Army Camp ca 1914. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123288

Supreme Court building, Brisbane ca. 1891. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 109151

Supreme Court building, Brisbane ca. 1891. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 109151

Flooded Edward Street, Brisbane Queensland 1893. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123115

Flooded Edward Street, Brisbane Queensland 1893. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123115

Flood damage to Indooroopilly Rail Bridge 1893. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123120

Flood damage to Indooroopilly Rail Bridge 1893. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123120

Vessel taking on water in the Brisbane River c.1895. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-031-0001-0003

Vessel taking on water in the Brisbane River c.1895. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-031-0001-0003

Henry Turley and his family 1895. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 171960

Henry Turley and his family 1895. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 171960

Wickham Terrace, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123140

Wickham Terrace, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 123140

Prince George, Duke of Wales visited Brisbane in May 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 188890

Prince George, Duke of Wales visited Brisbane in May 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 188890

Procession with the Imperial Troops Queen Street, Brisbane, Queensland 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 150545

Procession with the Imperial Troops Queen Street, Brisbane, Queensland 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 150545

Players and officials of the Fortitude Valley Electorate Football Club, Brisbane ca. 1904. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 179282

Players and officials of the Fortitude Valley Electorate Football Club, Brisbane ca. 1904. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 179282

Moreton Bay Hotel in Redcliffe, Queensland 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 6696-0001-0001

Moreton Bay Hotel in Redcliffe, Queensland 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 6696-0001-0001

Clubroom of the Queensland Irish Association, Brisbane ca 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 36148

Clubroom of the Queensland Irish Association, Brisbane ca 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 36148

Poulsen Studios portrait of a bride, Brisbane ca. 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 40863

Poulsen Studios portrait of a bride, Brisbane ca. 1929. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 40863

Empire Hotel. Fortitude Valley, Brisbane ca. 1934. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg  1865

Empire Hotel. Fortitude Valley, Brisbane ca. 1934. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 1865

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland