Frederick Martell

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Senior Members of the Ballarat School of Mines Staff. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 112)
Standing L-R:S.B. Vial (Chemistry); W. Doepel (Clerk); Alfred E.C. Kerr (Mechanical Engineering); Arthur Garrard (Battery Manager); Henry Hall (Drawing); W. Kerr Grant (Mathematics); Charles E. Campbell (Photography); John M. Sutherland (Electricity); H.R. Murphy (Assayer); Charles A. Dean (Cyanide Works).
Sitting L-R: Daniel Walker (Chemistry); Thomas S. Hart (Mineralogy & Curator); Fred. J. Martell (Registrar); Alfred Mica Smith, Senior Professor (Chemistry, Metallurgy, etc); J.S. Dawburn (Engineering & Surveying); Dr J.F. Usher (Materia Medica).
Seating (Front) L-R: P.A. Osborne (Assistant Assayer); Godfrey Hart (Museum).
James Oddie and the Shackleton Vapourizer L-R: Messrs B. Deakin, MIEE; Daniel Walker, SMB; Frederick Martell, Director of SMB; Dr Cherry, Director of Department of Agriculture; T.P. Long, President of Benevolent Asylum; Prof. Alfred Mica Smith, SMB; ? ; James Oddie, FRGS, etc, inventor of the Shackleton Polarizer.. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 00208)


Biographical Details

Frederick Juan Cobain Martell was born on 15 September 1853 at Geelong Victoria. He died on 07 February 1938 at Ballarat.

He was Director of the Ballarat School of Mines from 03 April 1895 to 30 June 1912, Registrar of the Ballarat School of Mines from 1895 to 1914, and a Ballarat School of Mines Council member from 1880.[1]

Mr. F.J. Martell who has been Registrar at the School of Mines for many years has decided to resign that position to take up another of greater importance in connection with the School - that of business manager. The change will date from 30th June. Mr Martell has been the chief executive office of the School for so long his new duties represent a phase of work in which he has always taken a special interest.[2]

In 1882 Frederick Martell was Treasurer of the Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club.

F. J. Martell was a council member of the Ballarat School of Mines in 1886.[3]

In 1896 Mr F. J. Martell was unanimously elected to fill the position of Secretary for the Ballarat Photographic Club[4] --PMDonovan 15:56, 21 October 2016 (AEDT)

Martell pioneered successful experiments in Rontgen X ray photography along with Samuel Ernest Figgis, D. M'Dongall, and H. Murphy. He occupied the chair at the annual meeting of the Ballarat Photographic Society on the 1st of Jul 1896 at the School of Mines and was elected committee for the ensuing year along with Messrs Brown, Wooster and Radcliff.[5] Figgis and Martell had charge of the arrangements and the development of the x rays at the exhibition given at the Ballarat School of Mines in July 1896 along with some fine microscopic studios.[6] He gave lectures and presented papers and demonstrations on the Rontgen X rays as the director of the School of Mines at the meetings of the Ballarat Photographic Club, in the course of which he referred to the most recent work of Edison and Tesla and spoke of the great value of radiography to the medical profession, instancing a number of cases recently treated at the School.[7][8]. As director and registrar of the School of Mines, he loaned his collection of X ray radiographs taken at the School of Mines, and an ingenious device named “the praxinoscope,” to the annual exhibition of the Ballarat Amateur Photographic Club at the School of Mines on Wednesday, September 17, 1896. At that exhibition he is recorded to have won the First prize and special prize for Enlargements.—Messrs Martell and Dentry, and second prize for the categories "Portraits not re-touched" and "Artificial Light".[9]

Frederick Martell was on the executive of the Ballarat Progress Association in 1907.

Hubert Murphy's Ballarat School of Mines Certificate of Competency as Assayer, 1897. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 436)

--PMDonovan 16:44, 21 October 2016 (AEDT)


Mr. Frederick J. Martell, of Victoria-avenue, Geelong, died on Monday in his 84th year. Born in Geelong, he became one of Ballarat's best-known pioneer citizens. His most notable work was was establishing, and fostering of the Adam Lindsay Gordon Memorial Cottage at the Ballarat Gardens. Joining the Education department in 1809, he was appointed drawing master in the Ballarat district in n 1875, and a member of the School of Mines council in 1880. He was director and registrar from 1895 until 1914, One of the founders of the Ballarat Art Gallery, he remained a council member until his death.[10]

See also

Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club

Ballarat School of Mines

Adam Lindsay Gordon

H.R.W. Murphy

Ballarat Photographic Club


The rules of the Ballarat Field Club and Science Society were printed in the Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report 1882.

President - James Oddie
Vice-Presidents - William Henry Nicholls, Alfred Mica Smith
Treasurer - Frederick Martell
Secretary - Ferdinand Krause
Assistant Secretary - I.J. Jones
Committee - R. T. Vale, J. Wall, T. Potter, I.J. Jones, R. Lorimer, Dr Whitcombe, Herman Ritz.[11]

Martell won first prize in the competition for the month of November 1897 for the best picture taken on the Prince of Wales' Birthday. His pictures were taken at Woodend. [12] He also read an interesting paper on “ Photo-mechanical processes” to the Ballarat Photographic Club on Wednesday June 1st, 1898. The various processes in ordinary practice were lucidly explained, and a number of examples were shown demonstrating the vast improvements effected in the art in America, Great Britain, and Japan. A number of magnificent specimens of Japanese photography were exhibited, and excited general admiration.[13]

In 1898 he exhibited the most varied and extensive collection of about 70 photographs including X ray and stereoscopic X ray pictures at the annual exhibition of the Ballarat Amateur Photographic Club. He won awards for landscape, whole plate and over, Still life whole plate, Best collection of pictures any size or process and a second place for Best Picture.[14]


  1. The Argus, 8 February 1938.
  2. Ballarat Courier, 18 May 1914.
  3. accessed 15 March 2013.
  8. Wednesday 29th July 1896
  9. BALLARAT AMATEUR PHOTO-GRAPHIC CLUB. (1896, September 18). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), p. 3. Retrieved September 2, 2016, from
  10. The Age, 9 February 1938.
  11. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1882.
  12. The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924) 26 November 1897: 2. Wed. 2 Sep 2016 <>.
  13. The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924) 3 June 1898: 2. Web. 2 Sep 2016 <>.
  14. BALLARAT AMATEUR PHOTO-GRAPHIC CLUB. (1898, February 4). The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), p. 4. Retrieved September 2, 2016, from

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