Portrait of Frances (Fanny) Perry

Batchelder and O'Neillc 1863

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery
Canberra, Australia

Frances (Fanny) Perry (1814–1892), welfare worker, came to Victoria when her husband, Charles took up the role of Anglican Bishop of Melbourne. In addition to fulfilling the role of her husband’s personal assistant, which often entailed accompanying him to distant areas of the large diocese, Frances established a profile for herself through welfare work for women and children. She took on responsibilities with institutions including the Melbourne Orphan Asylum and the Carlton Refuge, the latter established in 1854 with a view to the ‘reformation’ of prostitutes and the care of single mothers and their babies. She is perhaps best known, however, for leading the committee that founded the Melbourne Lying In Hospital and Infirmary for Diseases of Women and Children – known today as the Royal Women’s Hospital. Australia’s first public hospital for women, it opened in 1856 to provide effective care for patients otherwise unable to afford medical and nursing treatment. The exodus of men to the goldfields had left many women without a means of support and during its first decade the hospital admitted almost 3000 women and treated many more as outpatients. In the late 1850s, it became the first hospital in Australia to offer nursing training; and in 1865 became the first to teach obstetrics and gynaecology. Frances served as President of the hospital until the Perrys’ departure from Melbourne in April 1874. Frances Perry House opened as a private wing of the Royal Women’s Hospital in 1970 and since 2005 has operated as an independent private hospital.
Batchelder & O’Neill (active 1857–1864) was a partnership between American Daniel O’Neill and compatriot Freeman Batchelder – one of four Boston-born brothers who came to Melbourne in the 1850s. Operating from premises on Collins Street, Batchelder & O’Neill offered ‘Daguerreotype or Glass Pictures in a style surpassed by none in the Colonies’, and later became known for their carte de visite portraits of celebrities such as Gustavus Brooke and George Selth Coppin. Examples of the studio’s photos were included in the 1861 Victorian Exhibition and the London International Exhibition in 1862 and are now represented in collections such as that of the State Library of Victoria.


  • Title: Portrait of Frances (Fanny) Perry
  • Creator: Batchelder and O'Neill
  • Date Created: c 1863
  • Physical Dimensions: support: 10.4 x 6.4 cm, image: 9.0 x 5.8 cm
  • Provenance: Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Purchased 2012
  • Rights: https://www.portrait.gov.au/form-image-request.php
  • External Link: https://www.portrait.gov.au/portraits/2012.26
  • Medium: Carte de visite photograph

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps