H.W. Grattan
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About the publisher


Card courtesy of Mike Simco collection


Henry Washington Grattan, 1872-1949

H.W. Grattan was born in London in 1872 and came to Australia with his parents and siblings in 1877.  He married Mary Ann Nankivell in Melbourne in 1896. In 1903 he was in Launceston, and advertised as a photographer specialising in outdoor photography, with "the largest and best variety of Tasmanian views" on sale, suggesting he had been photographing in the state for some time. In 1903 he had a shop at 40 Brisbane St, Launceston.

In 1905, Grattan supplied 34 images to the large British postcard publisher Valentine and Sons. These are recorded in Valentine's view register with numbers 48656-48689. They were used on Valentines first two series of Tasmanian postcards, which are among the most common of Valentine's postcards seen today.

In 1906 he had a shop at 179 Charles Street, which is shown in a coloured card he published.

By 1907 he had established a larger shop, Grattan’s Arcade, at 125 Brisbane Street. His publicity said his cards included the most beautiful views of the old world as well as views of Tasmania which "are so much appreciated by friends in distant lands". He also sold prints and photographs, and provided a framing service, along with Christmas and New Year cards and postcard albums. His postcard stock was supplemented by silver and art ware - vases, hand bags, ornaments and writing materials. Before Christmas he advertised "the perfect bower of toys and pretty things for the little ones".

However, it appears that he over-extended himself, because in February 1908 there was a "Gigantic Clearance Sale" by order of the Trustees, selling all of his estate of postcard views, stationery, and an immense assortment of fancy goods and framed and unframed pictures. Grattan appears to have then left Tasmania, as in April 1908, his wife was given as the contact for the auction of all her household furniture and effects.

Also in April 1908, a newspaper notice said that Spurling and Son had purchased all the negatives of H.W. Grattan, along with their copyright.

Grattan then moved out of the postcard business, but remained as a picture framer and photographer. Initially, after the disaster in Tasmania, in 1909 he and his wife were listed as restaurant keepers at 252 Russell St, Melbourne. In 1914 he was again a photographer, located in Bendigo. By 1925 he had moved to Queensland and was a picture framer at Kelvin Grove, a suburb of Brisbane. His wife died in 1931, and Grattan was subsequently located in several Brisbane suburbs. He died in 1949, in Brisbane.

Grattan's legacy is of a photographer, retailer and postcard publisher. His postcard output was not large so his postcards are fairly uncommon, but he published some interesting cards including the views of his shops in Launceston.