professional photographer, was one of the seven children of Charles Percy Pickering . He would have learned photography under Pickering senior at Brickfield Hill and was connected with his father’s Sydney studio under his own name in 1866-71 while visiting country towns from time to time. Through this connection Alfred was subsequently to advertise himself (in country towns after 1873) as 'late photographer to the Government of New South Wales’. For some time he specialised in photographing tombstones. At the time of his first known public appearance, on 9 June 1866, he was carrying out orders for tombstone photographs at Newtown (Camperdown) Cemetery and advising those who wished to have their family tombs recorded to leave orders at (C.P.) Pickering’s Portrait Rooms, Brickfield Hill. This appears to have been most successful, for the following month Alfred ran a general advertisement: 'VIEWS of Tomb Stones taken in any of the Burial Grounds. Please leave your orders at PICKERING’S Portrait Rooms, where specimens may be seen. N.B.—Views of buildings, &c.’

In April 1868 Alfred Pickering was on his way to Windsor and Richmond to execute orders for tombstone photographs there, advertising that during his few days’ stay he would 'be glad to take views of residences or tombs of the families in the neighbourhood’. Orders could be left with Mr Dwyer of George Street, Windsor. After his father’s Sydney studio was sold up in late 1871, Alfred became a full-time travelling photographer in rural New South Wales, exhibiting a collection of his views with the Agricultural Society of NSW in 1873. From 27 February to the end of March 1874 he was taking portraits in a gallery at the rear of Spratt’s saddlery in Crawford Street, Queanbeyan, and he returned for further work in May-June. As well as taking likenesses and offering carte-de-visite portraits at 1s each of Archbishop Vaughan (the recently appointed Roman Catholic coadjutor to Archbishop Polding in Sydney), Pickering was inevitably offering to photograph tombstones in any cemetery within a 10 mile radius of town. Two years later he took the earliest-known extant panorama of Queanbeyan.

The Pickering of McLean & Pickering, a 'Flying Studio’ which travelled around rural New South Wales in the 1880s, must have been Alfred. He also worked in Victoria for a time, a carte-de-visite being noted by Davies and Stanbury from Alfred Pickering & Son’s School of Photography at 263 Camberwell Road, Melbourne. He was taking photographs at Perth and Fremantle (WA) about 1900, perhaps on his way back to England, where he is thought to have spent his last years. His wife, Margaret, died at Blyth, Northumberland in December 1905, but it is not known where or when Alfred Pickering died. Nor is there any record of his tombstone.

Writers:
Staff Writer
Date written:
1992
Last updated:
2011