Australia
Photography

Henry Glenny (1835-1910), businessman, photographer and author often known as 'The Australian Silverpen'.

He was born in Newry, County Down, Ireland into a family of staunch Irish Protestants. After schooling at Newry he worked with his father until permitted to migrate to Australia. At 18 Glenny arrived in Victoria in the Phoenix, eager to try his luck on the Victorian diggings. He had little success and accepted the offer of the Geelong merchants, J. & T. Bray, to manage a general store in a tent at the Gravel Pits. In 1855 he was appointed postmaster and clerk of courts at Beechworth. After a year he resigned and went to Castlemaine to manage a store. He then taught at Blanchard's school for young ladies and gentlemen.
In 1857 Glenny set up a 'Portrait Saloon' in Castlemaine's market square and soon had photographic studios at Ballarat and Kyneton. The chain of studios became the 'Dublin and Melbourne Portrait Rooms of H. Glenny, Artist'. About 1865 he returned to Ballarat where he built a fine house in Victoria Street. He quickly became well known as a successful businessman, investor, speculator, promoter, broker, financier and author. He became travelling agent in Victoria for the National Mutual Life Association of Australasia and for many years sold insurance with enormous success; in the first year alone he wrote nearly a thousand policies.
Although a prolific author and sometime editor of the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Glenny had no special writing ability. Under the pen-names 'The Australian Silverpen', and others he wrote sketches, essays and comment for many newspapers and religious journals. Many of these items were republished as Jottings and Sketches at Home and Abroad; it also included flattering newspaper reports of his own activities.
Glenny was the Ballarat representative of the (Royal) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Prisoners' Aid Society. In 1880 as a justice of the peace he had signed the gaol book to certify that Ned Kelly was hanged by the neck till dead. Admired for his respectability and unblemished character he died in Melbourne.

Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography

Glenny

Pictures: State Library of Victoria, above H2005.34/1355, thumbnail frontpage: H2005.34/1353A