• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE5994

Barnes, Doris Constance

(1894 – 1994)
  • Born 18 January, 1894, Kent Town South Australia Australia
  • Died 18 November, 1994, Outer Adelaide South Australia Australia
  • Occupation Photographer


Doris Barnes was an award winning amateur photographer who practised photography throughout her life, active from the 1910s to the 1990s. Her photographs were predominantly created in the Pictorialist style. She was a life member of the Adelaide Camera Club, exhibited in Adelaide and interstate, as well as in London. The Art Gallery of South Australia acquired some of her portraits as early as 1940.


Doris Barnes was born on 18 January 1894 at Kent Town, Adelaide, South Australia. Her father was John William Barnes and her mother was Annie Eliza May. Doris had two brothers and seven sisters. In 1897 her parents built a house in St. Peters, where she lived for 63 years. It was in this house that she eventually cared for her elderly mother up until her death.

Barnes came from a creative family, with her brother Gustave Barnes studying art and music in England. Gustave did ‘fine oil paintings, watercolours and etchings’ (Hall 10-11), eventually becoming Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. Another brother, Lawrence Barnes, was also a painter. Her father, John William Barnes had been a designer and ‘modeller in plaster and cement’ (Hall 11). John passed away when Doris was only 13.

Doris Barnes left school at the age of 15 and began working for the Stump and Co. Photographic Studios. She worked as a receptionist for a couple of years, while at the same time picking up photographic skills by observing the photographer and retoucher as they worked. Her brother Gus gave Barnes her first camera in 1910 when she was 16 years old. This was when her lifelong interest in photography began.

She went on to work for the Commonwealth Public Service and remained in this employment until her retirement. However, she was to be a keen amateur photographer throughout her life. Barnes became a life member of the Adelaide Camera Club and took part in many of their exhibitions, winning a bronze medal for her work in 1940, as well as many others over the years, and was mentioned in their catalogues. During the 1920s-1930s she participated in interstate exhibitions and won various medals and certificates. In 1937 she was awarded a bronze plaque for Amateur Photography at The Intercolonial Exhibition of Overseas Photographers, London.

Her photographs captured the romanticism of the Australian bush, the sea, and rural life; her photographs also included some portrait and landscape work.

As early as 1940 the Art Gallery of South Australia had purchased three of her portrait studies for inclusion in their photography collection.

In 1960 Barnes, along with her surviving siblings, offered their house to the Resthaven Home for the Aged, and ended up moving to the ‘Resthaven’ village, situated in outer Adelaide.

Doris Constance Barnes died on the 18 November 1994, aged 100.


Art Gallery of South Australia photographic collection

State Library of South Australia



  • 1915 - 1990
  • 1920 - 1930

    Doris Barnes’ work featured in interstate exhibitions.

  • 1935 - 1935

    Doris Barnes’ work featured in the Adelaide Camera Club exhibition

  • 1937 - 1937

    Doris Barnes’ work featured in the Intercolonial Exhibition of Overseas Photographers

  • 1940 - 1940

    Doris Barnes’ work featured in the Adelaide Camera Club exhibition.

  • 1981 - 1981

    Doris Barnes’ work featured in the Australian Women Photographers 1840-1950exhibition


Published resources