Australian cinematographers of the silent period

The "silent cin'ers".

(And yes – the exhibition of "silent" films was anything but silent.)

This is only a start: there is much more to be done. I have more information on most of the persons named below. Contact me if you would like or can provide further details.


Following is an index to information on most of the cinematographers who worked in Australia in the three and a half decades prior to the introduction of sound to motion pictures. It includes details of persons who lived all or much of their lives in Australia as well as of those who only visited the country.

There is a cut-off date of about 1930; i.e. anyone who shot motion picture film before the end of that year is likely to be included. Amateur filmmakers (e.g. those making "home movies") are eligible for listing, though in general they are harder to identify.

All those listed were men. Whether there were any women who shot films in Australia in this period is not known; two possibilities are Senora Spencer [Mary Stuart SPENCER née HUNTLY] (wife of Cosens SPENCER) and Rita PUGLIESE: as both were projectionists they would also have been able to take motion pictures. (Mary S. Spencer even said that she had filmed a bullfight in Spain – see 2 July 1906, Theatre (Sydney), pp.8, 9a – but there are various dubious claims in this article.)

A link to an entry in the online edition of the Australian Dictionary of Biography is indicated by "[ADB]".

Cinematographer Date of birth Date of death
David BARKER    
Franklyn BARRETT [ADB]
[Walter BROWN]
1874-07-11 1964-07-16
Charles BARTON    
John Watt BEATTIE [ADB] 1859-08-15 1930-06-24
[Professor] BENSON
[Alfred Ernest BENSON?]
 
[1886
 
1915-05-07]
Maurice BERTEL
[Jean Antoine Maurice BERTEL]
1871-05-14 1930-05-17
Francis BIRTLES [ADB]
[Francis Edwin BIRTLES]
1881-11-07 1941-07-01
Frederick Scott BISSETT c.1883 1919-03-30
Mark BLOW 1858-02-17 1942-08-07
Georges BOIVIN c.1863 1940-03-11
Stephen BOND 1858 1915-12-09
Stuart Bertram BOOTY 1890 1971-05-13
Ernest BRANDON-CREMER
[Ernest Gustav Brandon CREMER]
1895 1957-03-01
Jack BRUCE
[John Aylwin Seves BRUCE]
1900 1972-08-31
Howard Decimus BULMER 1883 1950-02-06
Al BURNE
[Alfred William BURNE]
1885 1975-06-25
James Pinkerton CAMPBELL 1865-07-04 1935-09-05
Thomas Draper CAMPBELL    
"Scoop" CARTER
[Claud Callaghan CARTER]
1900 1956-11-07
Bill CARTY
[William Montague CARTY]
1908 2006-03-15
Charles Byers COATES 1875-02-17 1933
Sidney COOK 1873 1937-03-23
Charles Alfred CORNWELL 1877 1943-08-24
Leonard CORRICK
[Henry John Leonard CORRICK]
1886-10-26 1967-11-19
Bert CROSS
[Arthur Ernest CROSS]
1886 1978-11-24
Peter DAWSON
[Theodore Wesley Garland DAWSON]
1897 1973-10-19
Denis Browne DEASE 1869-04-16 1959
Robert James DEXTER
[Gayne DEXTER]
1895 1966-06-20
Robert Vernon DOERRER 1890-08-14  
Albert DRYSDALE    
Reg EDWARDS    
Charles ELLIS    
Herbert Vere EVATT [ADB] 1894-04-30 1965-11-02
Arthur Lascelles FARRANT 1888 >1971
Bert FINLAY
[Herbert Cecil FINLAY]
1878 1954-10-31
Jack FLETCHER
[John Smethurst FLETCHER]
1903 1960-06-21
Abe FREID    
Arthur Charles FROST
= Arthur Charles TINSDALE
   
Edwin GEACH 1867 1940-07-19
William Alfred GIBSON [ADB] 1869 1929-10-06
Gordon GIDNEY    
George Louis GOUDAY
[Georges Louis DE GOUDAY]
1896-07-16 1928-03-08
E. T. GRANT    
James GRANT    
King GRAY    
Arthur James GUEST c.1857-08 1937-01-13
Alfred Cort HADDON [ADB] 1855-05-24 1940-04-20
Herbert M. HALE    
Edward J. HARDY    
Thomas Charles HARGRAVES 1884 1945-10-27
Frederick William HARRIS c.1870-04 1923-06-07
Robert William HARVIE 1868 1922-10-05
George HEATH    
Gustave HENSCHEN    
Henri HERAULT 1883-02-04 1915-02-28
Charles Richard HERSCHELL 1877 1962-05-25
John W. HICKS, jun. c.1887 1945
Arthur Embery HIGGINS [ADB] 1891-10-25 1963-09-22
Ernest Henry HIGGINS [ADB] 1871-10-09 1945-11-28
Tasman George HIGGINS [ADB] 1888-04-08 1953-06-04
Frank HURLEY [ADB]
[James Francis HURLEY]
1885-10-15 1962-01-16
Bert IVE
[Albert Sewell IVE]
1874-11-29 1939-07-25
William J. JACKSON    
Frederick Albany JEFFERY 1893-11-12  
Ernest Roy JEFFREE 1895-06-29 1968-09-20
Millard JOHNSON 1860 1946-01-16
F. H. JONES    
Arthur JORDAN    
William Henry JOYCE 1890 1949-07-31
Leslie John KEAST 1886-08-04 1957-10-27
Charles Henry KERRY 1857-04-03 1928-05-26
Bert KIRWAN
[Herbert Dominic Patrick KIRWAN]
1883-07-27 1953-10-09
Harry KRISCHOCK [ADB]
[Henry Ludwig Frank KRISCHOCK]
1875-09-01 1940-10-25
"Lafayette"
[George Austin BREWSTER?]
   
Kevin LANE    
Merl LA VOY    
R. T. LITTLEJOHNS    
John M. and Frank W. LIVINGSTON    
Harry LLOYD    
Monte LUKE
[Charles Robert Montague LUKE]
1885-09-25 1962-11-03
Colonel LUMARE
[?]
   
John MACKENZIE 1861-10-30 1944-04-05
Henry Alfred MAINSBRIDGE 1868-01-14 1924-09-22
George MALCOLM    
Frank MARDEN
[Charles Frank MARDEN]
1888 1984-08-28
Phil MARKHAM    
Clement George MASON c.1871-03-19 1917-06-01
Hugh Carlisle McCLUNG 1874-12-16 1946-01-05
John Stephen McCULLAGH 1863-12-24 1951-05-17
T. McGREGOR    
Tom McLERIE
[Thomas McLERIE]
c.1867-02 1953-09-04
Harry Francis MICHELL 1881-01-11 1965
John D. MILGROVE    
Alexander Marshall MILLER c.1874 1929-06-12
Henry William MOBSBY [ADB] 1860-08-17 1933-04-09
John Tennant MORTLOCK    
Alf MOULTON
[Alfred John MOULTON]
1870-08-06 1924-07-11
Fred MURPHY
[Frederick Edwin MURPHY]
1894-09 1971-10-03
Charles NEWHAM    
Edward Dunham Brooke NICHOLLS 1877 1937-11-23
William James NICHOLSON 1881 1919-05-18
Joseph Whiting PECKHAM 1892-10-02  
Stan PENTREATH
[Albert Stanley PENTREATH]
1898-05-06 1967
Lacey PERCIVAL
[Edgar Charles Lacey PERCIVAL]
1885 1968-08-07
"Mons" PERIER
[Albert James PERIER]
1871-04-22 1964-01-08
Joseph Henry PERRY [ADB] 1863-08-05 1943-04-29
Orrie PERRY [ADB]
[Orizaba George PERRY]
1888-09-14 1950-12-29
Auguste PLANE 1867 1929
Ernest POND    
Dick PRIMMER
[Richard Henry Charles PRIMMER]
c.1888-02 1936-02-27
Doug RATTRAY    
T. Edward RICHARDS    
Reg ROBINSON    
Len ROOS
[Leonard Hally ROOS]
1896-06-05 1961-10-28
Joseph ROSENTHAL 1864-04-07 1946-03-05
Ted SACRE
[Edgar Thomas SACRE]
1880-04-21 1959-06-16
Robert SANDALL c.1873-05  
George SCOTT    
Albert SCULTHORPE c.1862-02 1946-09-15
Bert SEGERBERG
[Albert Oscar SEGERBERG]
  1941-07-13
Marius SESTIER
[Marius Ely Joseph SESTIER]
1861-09-08 1928-11-08
Cyril John Crutchfield SHARPE 1896-05-23 1979-08-10
Cosens SPENCER [ADB]
[Spencer COSENS]
1874-02-12 1930-09-10
Walter Baldwin SPENCER [ADB] 1860-06-23 1929-07-14
Stephen SPURLING    
Edward Archibald STACEY 1864-01-05 1955-02-17
Joe STAFFORD    
A. G. STEWART    
Frank STEWART    
Wally SULLY
[Walter Harold Blennerhassett SULLY]
1896 1970-03-15
Syd TAYLOR    
Hans THEYER 1884 1955
Cliff THOMAS
[Clifton THOMAS]
1894-03-04 1965-02-25
Ernest Jardine THWAITES 1873 1933-06-12
Norman B. TINDALE    
Arthur Charles TINSDALE
[Arthur Charles FROST]
   
René TOURNOUER
[René Raoul Marie TOURNOUËR]
1887-01-16 1916-07-20
J. TRAVELER    
Billy TRERISE
[John William TRERISE]
1898 1987-07-10
Ray VAUGHAN
[George Raymond P. VAUGHAN]
1902-06-23 1974-05-27
Philip VICTORSEN 1895 1962-06-04
WALLEN    
J. E. WARD    
T. J. WEST
[Thomas James WEST]
1855-04-01 1916-11-30
George Hubert WILKINS [ADB] 1888-10-31 1958-11-30
Eric WILKINSON    
WILLIAMS    
Sydney Wentworth WILLIAMSON    
Frederick Charles WILLS [ADB] 1870-11-14 1955-08-08
WOOLLEY    
Herbert WYNDHAM
[Herbert Arthur WADHAM]
1866-03-23 1953-01-08
Reginald YOUNG    


The following list is of the names of persons who applied for, or wrote regarding, the position of Commonwealth Photographer and Cinematograph Operator, which was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette of 30 September 1911, the appointment being made to James Pinkerton CAMPBELL. It is not known if the named persons ever shot motion pictures.

Some of the writing in the original document is unclear so some spelling errors are likely.

  • John Aitken
  • Thomas Barnes
  • Franklyn Barrett
  • Louis Batt
  • A. E. Benson
  • Alf. L. Bowden
  • A. S. Bransgrove
  • H. H. Bray
  • Ernest Bugg
  • James Pinkerton Campbell
  • Stanley Chidley
  • Bert Cross
  • J. ?T. Cumming[s]
  • G. Earney
  • Edgar Evans
  • Stanley H. Fletcher
  • William J. Ford
  • Frank Foxcroft
  • E. A. Ginder
  • W. J. Hall
  • Frederick William Harris
  • Edwin J. Hart
  • K. J. Jannum [or Jarmun]
  • A. D. Johnson
  • Haydyn Lamont
  • J. W. Liddy
  • N. Lykke
  • H. S. Mawle
  • W. J. McNeill
  • Alf Moulton
  • Arthur W. Piper
  • C. P. Ray
  • H. Lancelot Ricketson
  • Algy C. T. Sharp
  • ?T.F. Stewart
  • Harry Swete
  • A. H. [?U]loors
  • John Vine
  • Albert E. Walcott
  • C. W. Ward
  • E. B. Warren
  • Leslie Weeding
  • John F. Woolstencroft
  • Harrie Wright

The list below is of the names of persons who applied for the position of Commonwealth Photographer and Cinematograph Operator, advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette of 12 April 1913, which went to Bert IVE. This time there was more stress laid on the need for experience in cinemato­graphy, so it is likely these persons could operate a movie camera.

Again, the spelling of some of the names may not be accurate.

  • G. W. Barker
  • H. H. Barrass
  • Franklyn Barrett
  • H. C. Beavis
  • A. Beck
  • H. Bellington
  • A. E. Benson
  • W. S. Best
  • A. Boyd
  • A. S. Bransgrove
  • L. W. Burford
  • E. E. Burrett
  • R. M. Cale
  • J. Carrick
  • V. E. Charnley
  • Fred Coombs
  • Bert Cross
  • J. C. Dwyer
  • A. R. Edwards
  • Herbert Cecil Finlay
  • H. Francois
  • A. Fraser
  • J. Gazard
  • H. E. Golding
  • S. A. Hanscombe
  • Frederick William Harris
  • Robert William Harvie
  • W. S. Hawkins
  • Tasman George Higgins
  • W. Howieson
  • G. Hughes
  • Frank Hurley
  • Bert Ive
  • Jackson
  • K. J. Jannum [or Jarmun]
  • W. Kimbel
  • J. W. Liddy
  • H. Maddicks
  • F. W. Marks
  • C. A. McEvoy
  • Thos. McMahon
  • [E. L.] Mitchell
  • Henry William Mobsby
  • Alf Moulton
  • L. A. Nagel
  • H. L. Orr
  • A. J. Parker
  • Lacey Percival
  • W. A. Robjohns
  • Bert Segerberg
  • R. F. Shaw
  • H. Sherwood
  • W. B. Simpson
  • H. J. Style
  • F. E. Tomlinson
  • W. W. Watson
  • E. R. Wheeler
  • H. J. Wilkes
  • H. B. Williams
  • Frederick Charles Wills
  • Yule


Filming the filmers

The early cinematographers at work were sometimes caught on camera by their confederates (or rivals) or even themselves. Some known instances are listed below.


Martha Ansara has written Shadowcatchers, a profusely illustrated, large-format coffee table book with information about and superb photo­graphs of some of the cinematographers identified above. It is not limited to the filmers of the silent period and includes details of those working up to current times.

Copyright © 2013 - 2019 Tony Martin-Jones Edition 3·5  (2019-08-30)