Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Frederick Strange (1807–1873)

by Isabella J. Mead

This article was published:

Frederick Strange (1807?-1873), artist, was born at Nottingham, England. By trade he was a portrait painter and house painter. On 22 June 1837 he was tried at the Quarter Sessions, Colchester, Essex, for stealing a watch and sentenced to imprisonment for life. He was transported to Van Diemen's Land in the Neptune and in January 1838 arrived at Hobart Town, where he became a government messenger. In 1841 he obtained a third-class pass and went to Launceston where he painted portraits and gave lessons in drawing but made a miserable living. One of his pupils was Robert Dowling, who became a well-known portrait painter; another was Henry Button, later owner and editor of the Launceston Examiner and mayor of Launceston.

In 1848 he moved to Hobart and for some time worked in a paint shop there. On 4 December 1848 Strange received a conditional pardon. He returned to Launceston and in 1851 exhibited views of the town and surrounding landscape at the Launceston Art Exhibition. He advertised lessons in landscape drawing and offered to make portraits in oils or daguerreotype. A painter by preference, by 1862 he was either unwilling or unable to compete with the cheaper and then more fashionable daguerreotype portraiture and his premises were taken over by a photographer. Strange then took up the trade of grocer in Charles Street, Launceston, where he died on 31 March 1873. He was a Dissenter and unmarried.

His careful attention to topographical and architectural detail provided a valuable record of the early colony. His work was characterized by good drawing and delicate water-colouring. Thirty-five works have been located.

Select Bibliography

  • C. Craig and I. Mead, ‘Frederick Strange—Artist—c.1807-1873’, Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol 97, 1963, pp 49-51.

Citation details

Isabella J. Mead, 'Strange, Frederick (1807–1873)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 14 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (Melbourne University Press), 1967

View the front pages for Volume 2

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England


31 March, 1873 (aged ~ 66)
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Passenger Ship
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: life