[Editor: This photo is believed to be of a sailor from an Australian colonial navy (circa 1880s-1890s). The photo is undated.]
Australian colonial sailor
Dimensions (approximate): 106 mm. (width), 164 mm. (height).
The reverse side of the photo is blank.
The full letters on the sailor’s cap cannot be seen; the initial letters are H.M. (possibly H.M.C.), and may be H.M.C.S. (Her Majesty’s Colonial Ship); although, the letters may also be H.M.S. (Her Majesty’s Ship). It is possible that the person photographed served on a HMCS ship, or on a Royal Navy ship, or was someone dressed up as a sailor (e.g. an actor). If this image is, as believed, of a sailor from a HMCS ship, then it is indeed a rare photograph.
Although the photo does not include a date, a rough estimation of its production may be gleaned from the details of the photographer. The photographer was W.S. Read, of Lismore. William Stevenson Read was in the photographic business from at least 1882, and worked in that field for 25 years. He also served as an Alderman for Lismore Council.
See: 1) “Local and general news”, The Northern Star, and Richmond and Tweed Rivers Advocate (Lismore, NSW), 28 January 1882, p. 2 [“Photographic … specimens of the above art, exhibited by Mr. W. S. Read”]
2) “Portraiture! Portraiture!”, The Northern Star, and Richmond and Tweed Rivers Advocate (Lismore, NSW), 14 July 1883, p. 4 [advertisement for W.S. Read]
3) “Late telegrams”, The Northern Star, and Richmond and Tweed Rivers Advocate (Lismore, NSW), 20 July 1901, p. 5 [“Mr. W. S. Read’s studio in Molesworth-street”]
4) “The Photographers!!!”, The Northern Star, and Richmond and Tweed Rivers Advocate (Lismore, NSW), 13 February 1907, p. 3 [advertisement for Read’s Studios, “Read Brothers … having taken over the old-established and well-known Studios which have been carried on by Mr. W. S. Read for the last 25 years”]
5) “Obituary: Mrs. W. S. Read”, The Northern Star, and Richmond and Tweed Rivers Advocate (Lismore, NSW), 10 April 1931, p. 6 [“the late ex-alderman W. S. Read … (who died in Lismore on May 5, 1926)”]
6) “Family history research guide”, NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages [the given names of W. S. Read were confirmed with his record of marriage: Registration Number: 2408/1866; Groom’s Family Name: Read; Groom’s Given Name(s): William Stevenson; Bride’s Family Name(s): Sexton; Bride’s Given Name(s): Alice; District: Maitland]