professional photographer, was born at Yandilla, Queensland, in 1864, daughter of William Elliott, a station owner, and Ann Jane, née Faulks. In November 1881 at Blackall she married Donald Gray Brims, an engineer from Caithness in Scotland; between 1882 and 1890 she gave birth to five children. In about 1894 the family moved to Ingham, where Donald Brims constructed a homestead with an adjoining sawmill and wharf near the mouth of the Seymour River. Within a few years Harriett Brims had established herself professionally as a photographer.

She is the first listed in Pugh’s Trade Directories as proprietor of the 'Britannia Studios’ at Ingham in 1902. In 1903 she moved her operations to Mareeba, where her husband started a joinery works. At this time two of her sons extended the family’s interests into the building trade, forming the firm of 'Brims Bros’ which built the Queensland National Bank and the Anglican Church at Mareeba. From 1904 to 1905 Harriett Brims also worked as a photographer in Chillagoe, but this seems to have been just a 'visiting’ studio. She ran similar operations at Irvinebank and Watsonville, near Herberton, in 1907.

Her photographs were taken with dry-plate cameras manufactured by her husband, himself an enthusiastic operator. They were made from the local maple-wood he harvested, and fashioned in his workshops. He also made her camera shutters from sheet brass recovered from opium tins discarded by the district’s Chinese workers and cow-hide carrying cases which she used to transport her equipment. Her subjects ranged from the Melanesian labourers who were transported to live and work in the northern canefields to views of the Gairloch and Macknade sugar plantations, the copper smelters of Chillagoe, and landmarks such as Wallaman Falls, near Ingham.

Mrs Brims acted as a photography judge at Mareeba District Agricultural and Industrial Exhibitions, and her view photographs were published in the North Queensland Herald (1907) and the Australasian Photographic Review (1902), the latter describing her as 'the first lady photographer who ever dared, single handed, to face the “stronger sex” in fair and open competition’ (a popular myth applied to women photographers from the 1850s until well into the twentieth century).

In 1914 Harriett Brims followed her family from Mareeba to Milton, Brisbane, where her husband established D.G. Brims & Sons, a successful joinery and (later) plymill works. After this she ceased to practice commercial photography, confining her activities to recording local sights and family and friends. She died in Brisbane on 25 October 1939, aged 75.

Byrne, Dianne
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