T.R.G. Williams
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T.R.G. Williams was a photographer in Scottsdale from 1898 to about 1910, and in Ararat, Victoria from 1912 to 1917.  He worked as a general commercial photographer taking b&w photographs, some of which were printed as postcards.


T.R.G. Williams was born on 25 January 1878 at Scottsdale [Note 1]. His father, Edward Thomas Williams, was an established merchant in Scottsdale, owning a general store, timber yard and joinery works [Note 2]


The photographic career of T.R.G. Williams began in 1896, when he was aged 18. The Tasmanian State Archives holds what was most likely his first account book, covering his photographic work from 1896 to 1900. In informal and sometimes scrappy style he recorded those he photographed, at which town, and the amount due.  This account book recorded a trip to southern Tasmania in 1899, where he worked in Geeveston on 10-22 March, Port Esperance on 28 April, and then a few days each at Southport, Hastings, Dover and Snake Plains. He commenced the return trip north on May 29, taking photographs at Waterloo, Franklin, Castle Forbes Bay and Surges Bay. He returned to Campbell Town on 18 July and then back to Scottsdale on 3 December. We can see from his record that  his photographic work was not restricted to the north-east of the state, and we can expect to see his photographs from the south and other regions.


Following in his father’s style as an enterprising businessman, T.R.G. Williams’ activities were not restricted to photography. A newspaper article in 1909 [Note 3] said that he owned a block of five shops, rented out to various businesses. Williams himself had his photographic premises in one of the shops. The article described his photographic operation in some detail:


Mr Williams jnr is the local photographer, and does a wide trade  by travelling through the immediate districts. His business embraces photography in all its branches, slide making, stereoscopic pictures, picture frames, and enlargements as a specialty. In addition to these items, Mr Williams gives considerable attention to kinematograph exhibitions, and has a complete set of the requisite apparatus, including thousands  of feet of film pictures. 


Williams is listed in the The Tasmanian Post Office Directory (Wise’s) from 1905 to 1910 as a Photographer at Scottsdale [Note 4]. But by 1912 he had left Tasmania and moved to Ararat in Victoria, where he set up a photographic business in Barkly Street [Note 5]. He returned to Scottsdale frequently, no doubt because of family connections, and placed advertisements announcing his availability to take photographs. The notice below was in the North-Eastern Advertiser of 27 August 1912:



There is little information about Williams’ activities in Ararat.  In 1915 he advertised to print photos to send as Christmas Greetings to “Boys at the Front” [Note 6], and to print photos as post cards for 3 shillings per dozen. He returned to Scottsdale to be married to Katie Leech of Ararat on 12 April 1916.  (It tells of his family connections to Scottsdale that he brought his bride back to Tasmania rather than being married in her home town of Ararat).  He appears in the Ararat section of the Victorian Post Office Directory  for 1912-1917 [Note 7], and then disappears until 1926, when his name reappears in the electoral roll at Ringwood, Victoria as an ironmonger. He then disappears among the Williams of Victoria, only reappearing in 1941 as the Mayor of Ringwood, presiding at the annual meeting of the Baby Health Centre!  He died in Melbourne in 1963.


Williams’ photographic output was probably substantial, but little of it is known, although the Archives Office of Tasmania holds 50 or so photographs.  His postcards are uncommon to rare on the market. His work is recognised by his stamp on the back, T.R.G. Williams, Scottsdale, before 1910 and Ararat after that year.


Two images of T.R.G. Williams are shown below.  These are from the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office.




1. The birth certificate of T.R.G. Williams recorded his full name as Thomas, without any mention of the initials ‘R.G.’. The official records – electoral rolls and death certificate - are in the name of Thomas Williams, that apparently being his official name. However he was apparently known as T.R.G. Williams, as that is the name he used on his photographs, and the name under which he is recognisable in newspapers. I have not been able to find out what the ‘R.G.’ stood for. 

2. Daily Telegraph (Launceston). 11 February 1909 

3. Daily Telegraph (Launceston). 16 February 1909 p.3 

4. The Tasmanian Post Office Directory (Wise’s) for 1905, p. 240 

5. Ararat Chronicle and Willaura and Lake Bolac Districts Recorder. 21 October 1914 

6. Ararat Advertiser, 13 November 1915, p.2 

7. Sands & McDougall Directory of Victoria for years 1912 to 1917.