William Nixon emigrated from Birmingham to South Australia in 1855. A gunsmith by trade, Nixon switched to a career in photography following his experience in the Duryea Brothers' studio for a short period of time. He specialised in mother and child portraits during the nineteenth century.
professional photographer, gunsmith and farmer, was born in Birmingham, England, on 1 August 1814, son of Joseph Nixon and Hannah, née Millington. He came to Victoria in the Havilah in 1855 with his wife Eliza, née Wood, whom he had married in England in 1838, and their numerous children, including Stephen , Samuel and Joseph . Nixon worked in the Duryea Brothers Adelaide studio in 1855-58, then became a partner. Howell’s Adelaide Directory for 1858 referred to him as 'W.M. Nixon (late Duryea Bros) Daguerreotype & Photographic Artist. King William Street’ but advertisements in 1858-60 were always for the firm of Nixon & Duryea. When the partnership was dissolved in 1860, Townsend Duryea retained the King William Street premises and Nixon moved to the Adelaide Arcade.
Cato states that Nixon specialised in 'mother and child’ portraits, solving the problem of long exposure times by taking the baby asleep. In 1868-73 Nixon was working at Lake Pomanda on the Murray River (the place to which Townsend Duryea later retired), and he apparently travelled to other small towns in the district until finally settling on a property over the border in about 1879. He died at Deniliquin, New South Wales, on 7 April 1893. Statton states that he was a gunsmith as well as a photographer and farmer.