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  Daniel Manders Beere, Photographer - Civil Engineer

Daniel Manders Beere was born to Rev. Gerald Butler and Mary Florence Armstrong Beere in County Meath, Ireland on October 1, 1833. The second son in a family of ten children, he received his early education in County Westmeath, before going to Canada to serve an engineering cadetship with his uncle, William Armstrong, a prominent bridge engineer. Also a talented artist, the young civil engineer sketched the railways he worked on at every opportunity.

After a few years of railway surveying throughout Canada and the United States, Mr. Beere formed a partnership in Toronto with his uncle. Specializing in both civil engineering and photography, the firm became known as “Armstrong, Beere, & Hime, Civil Engineers, Draughtsmen & Photographists” with the addition of Humphrey Lloyd Hime. It is unknown how Mr. Beere received his instruction on the wet collodion process that was prevalent at the time, but by 1855, the young man was already applying the technique to his impressive stereo views, a skill he perfected as a member of the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Expedition in 1858. Under Mr. Beere’s direction, the firm’s photographic entries won several awards at the Twelfth Annual Exhibition of the Provincial Agricultural Association, which was held in Brantford, Ontario.

When the partnership was dissolved in 1861, Mr. Beere relocated to New Zealand, where he first served as a surveyor for the Auckland provincial government in the Waikato District. His familiarity with the region lent itself well to the photographic documentation of colonial supply road construction. During this period, Mr. Beere’s camera also recorded the ongoing Maori War, with the local participants agreeing to stage reenactments for him. The resulting prints were then provided to the field militia for study. The road, which stretched from Mercer to Ngaruawahia, was completed in October 1867. From there, Mr. Beere assisted in several North Island railway projects, and also participated in the construction of the Hamilton Rail Bridge (now known as the Claudelands Bridge).

After his appointment as surveyor of the goldfields in the Thames area in 1868, Mr. Beere, assisted by his brother Holroyd, received payment through a percentage of the prospectors’ claims. It is believed he continued photographing landscapes and regional terrain, but now as a purely recreational pursuit. Mr. Beere left New Zealand in 1886, and settled in Melbourne, Australia, where the lifelong bachelor lived until his death on September 26, 1909 at the age of 75. His photographic legacy is commemorated in collections housed at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, in Canada’s Toronto City Archives, and in private albums.

2014 Beere, Daniel Manders (URL:

2019 Beere, Daniel Manders, 1833-1909 :Negatives of New Zealand and Australia (URL:

2017 Dancing with the King: The Rise and Fall of the King Country, 1864–1885 by Michael Belgrave (Auckland, NZ: Auckland University Press), p. 443.

2009 Daniel Manders Beere (URL:

2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), pp. 136-137.

2016 The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000 by Vincent O'Malley (Wellington, NZ: Bridget Williams Books [BWB] Limited eBook), p. 293.

2016 History in Photos: Daniel Manders Beere (URL:

2004 An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi by Claudia Orange (Wellington, NZ: Bridget Williams Books [BWB] Limited eBook), p. 130.

2011 New Zealand Heritage (URL:

1993 New Zealand Photography from the 1840s to the Present by William Main & John B. Turner (Auckland, NZ: PhotoForum, Inc.), p. 10.

2014 Thames Waikato Railway - The First Sod Turned and More by Anne Stewart Ball (URL:

2003 Treasury: The New Zealand Treasury, 1840-2000 by Malcolm McKinnon (Auckland, NZ: Auckland University Press), p. 52.

2019 Who Were the Photographers? (URL:

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