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18 April 1875 Townsend Duryea

 18 April 1875   Townsend Duryea

On 18 April 1875 fire destroyed the photographic studio of Townsend Duryea. His entire collection of 50,000 negatives was destroyed - a tragic loss for him and for South Australia. 

Duryea was born in America in 1823 and emigrated to Melbourne in 1852. In 1854 he moved to Adelaide and opened a daguerrotype studio over Prince's store, on the corner of King William and Grenfell Streets, where he worked in partnership with his brother, Sanford. Within a couple of years the brothers had visited and photographed Auburn, Burra, Clare, Kapunda, Goolwa, Milang, Port Elliot and their near-by villages. By 1863 Duryea's studio was the most popular in Adelaide and was patronised by the Governor and leading citizens. He was the official photographer when the Duke of Edinburgh visited in 1867, accompanying the vice-regal party in a horse-drawn, mobile dark room.

After the disastrous fire Duryea moved to New South Wales where he took up a selection. He was later crippled by a stroke and died after a buggy accident in December 1888. His panoramic view of Adelaide was a feature exhibit at Old Parliament House Museum on North Terrace.

Douglas Pike (ed), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4,
p. 120.

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